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My colleague, Aasawari Kakade, and I attended the ENR FutureTech West conference in San Francisco last week.  It was a great opportunity to hear from industry experts and thought leaders, and network with the record-setting 320 attendees from North America and beyond.

One of the most interesting sessions for me was the half-day workshop on High-Performance Construction, led by Steve Jones of ENR.  The presenters spoke about the lack of industry wide standard metrics to measure the health of a construction company, which have become commonplace to other industries like manufacturing.  This has been apparent to us here at SAP,  where customer value is at the heart of everything we do.  It can be difficult to project or prove value when you don't have a good way to measure and track your company's performance compared to previous years and in relation to your peers!  Fortunately, ENR and the Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE) at Stanford, along with some leading companies in the construction industry, are focused on this topic with the goal of creating awareness and raising the bar for everyone in the industry.

One method this group is using to achieve High-Performance Construction is to study similar transformations that have occurred in other industries.  For example, “The Toyota Way” was mentioned numerous times as a reference for best practices originally designed for manufacturing which can be applied to the construction industry.  They become even more relevant as offsite fabrication and modular construction become a commonplace.

As I've said before on this blog, one of the most fascinating things about working for SAP with an industry focus is the ability for our clients to access a peer group and knowledge base from other industries.  For example, to learn more about complex offsite fabrication and modular building we can look to Aerospace & Defense, or if a construction company wants to buy materials in bulk, warehouse them, and distribute to their jobsites they could apply solutions and tap into a knowledge base that are developed with some of the top-performing wholesale distribution firms in the world.

To wrap up the 2-day ENR event, SAP hosted a networking dinner which was attended by an eclectic group of people from superintendents to Virtual Design & Construction leads to C-suite executives.  It made for great conversation about experience on major construction projects, how to best drive adoption of new technologies in the enterprise, and a variety of other topics.  We're looking forward to seeing everyone again soon at the next event:  ENR Award of Excellence!