Authors: Rohana Mahbub
The use of innovative technologies has a direct impact on employers, workers and their organizations, especially in terms of contributing to the more efficient use of capital and resources which can ultimately increase quality and productivity. There are numerous types of innovative technologies that can be adopted to improve the process methods and approach in organizations, but on construction sites, the technologies that may be adopted are usually machinery that has the potential to improve on-site processes, such as machinery for earthworks or lifting/assembly of construction components. This research aims to establish and explain the adoption of mechanization and automation technologies for SME contractors in Malaysia, by exploring and determining the awareness factors, the barriers to adoption and the level of usage of these technologies among SME contractors in order to establish the key constructs that contribute towards the enhancement for the adoption of these technologies. The focus of the research is on SME contractors as the larger construction firms are already significantly using innovative technologies as they have the financial and management ability to do so due to their bigger operating expenditure and financial flexibility; and it is within these smaller organizations that greater improvements can be made. As most SME contractors using these technologies are usually specialist sub-contractors, the scope of the sample respondents are SME contractors involved in subcontracting works. A questionnaire survey was carried out encompassing SME contractors in Klang Valley, and detailed quantitative data analysis was performed including descriptive statistics involving arranging, summarizing and presenting a set of data using graphical or tabular techniques and numerical descriptive statistics to yield useful information about the data. Findings indicate that the majority of SME contractors are aware of the technologies and machinery that they can adopt to improve their work processes but most do not take on the technologies due to the cost factors i.e. the cost of acquiring the plant or machinery is sometimes beyond their financial means. The government, through the Construction Industry Development Board, Malaysia can play a role in enhancing the use of these technologies by developing a scheme or a system where affordable rental of the common machinery can be made possible through a comprehensive on-line database.
Keywords: mechanization and automation technologies; small medium enterprise; contractors, construction industry; Malaysia