Jas Saraw is vice president, Canada for Procore Technologies, the world’s most widely used construction management platform. Passionate about innovation and the construction industry, he has over 18 years of technology leadership experience specializing in SaaS, ERP, CRM, financial, e-commerce and content solutions. Working with his team and through his interactions with construction companies across Canada he brings a unique understanding and viewpoint of construction technology as it applies and is being applied practically coast to coast. Jas currently leads the Procore Canadian business unit comprising over 35 employees in 2 Canadian offices.
What is your key advice to small business owners during these challenging times? And what steps should they take to keep their small business afloat during the current crisis?
What I’ve heard from specialty contractors and general contractors is that this time has been a sometimes disorienting mix of “business as usual” and rapid change to basic processes. There are lessons on both sides of that.
Construction activity has largely continued across Canada, after an initial slowdown, which has been a salve for both large and small business owners in the industry. But I would provide a word of caution, and I know many of our partners feel the same way, that even when the day feels normal, it isn’t. Our normal has changed, and it’s perhaps clearer what that looks like in construction than in other industries: physical distancing on job sites, staggered shifts, handwashing stations and the like are probably here to stay in some form. I’ve heard many times that once a change is implemented, it just clicks – “Why weren’t we doing this before?”
The pandemic has also prompted companies to more fully adopt or embrace cloud technology. This was already underway. Most workers who were able to work remotely have done so, and field workers are sharing information through the cloud-based tools much more often. There is a spectrum here from companies who had already gone digital, to those who were more traditional. The big lesson is that we should be talking to each other constantly about how to adapt, because any challenge faced by one company will have been addressed by another.
The sharing of knowledge, best practices, and pitfalls helps the whole construction community. In a competitive industry, it’s been heartening to be part of these conversations and see everyone come together.