Nobody likes being told they are inefficient. But the crescendo of reports, trade articles and online opinions – prompted by the pandemic and market volatility – all echo the same message: Construction must innovate to become efficient.
Don't get me wrong, I believe the time is ripe for change, but I feel for the leaders and managers of businesses who keep hearing their performance has been subpar compared with other industries. That their productivity is stagnant, with low levels of digitization, and low profitability. How many of these authors have even been on a building site, let alone deliver a project on time?
The directors and managers we speak to know digitization is coming and alternative methodologies are increasing, but often they don't have the autonomy or opportunity in our low margin, hierarchical and siloed industry to consider alternatives. They know there are benefits but how will they affect their career. Is there a budget for R&D in most medium-sized construction and engineering businesses? I don’t think so, unfortunately.
So, at James Gray, we're on a quest to uncover what leaders and managers of businesses think and what they believe are the priorities. So, what tools and support do you need to drive through innovation, and do you believe COVID is the catalyst to break down the walls of inertia? And what would motivate you to drive the change?
Over the next six months, we'll be gathering the views from those across the industry responsible for moving the dial on the usual suspects that hold back our industry below, with a focus on the top six:
Throughout July and August, we'll be conducting surveys, holding round tables and deep-diving into these topics. In addition, we'll be sharing inspirational case studies where innovation helped businesses prosper, reporting on which new skills are in demand and championing the great work managers are doing – and we promise to never make the mistake of comparing construction to the car industry!
I believe the effort is worth it because managers at companies that came out ahead after the financial crisis of 2008 took productivity head-on and rapidly reallocated resources.
If you'd like to share your views, we've prepared a survey that will take three minutes or less to complete with just five questions.