Home Features Editor’s comment – September 2013: Relationships need planning

So tell me, are you any good at planning? How well does the industry plan jobs and what should it be doing to get better at it?

When we got a group of sector leaders together we put them on the spot and what came out of it
was relationships and trust are the key to improving performance.

So what’s new? Nothing really but it’s just that we’ve been talking about creating a better environment in this industry for decades and the industry has still not learnt. The industry culture remains locked in an adversarial position and shifts in power take place only when the economic cycle contracts or expands. Generations ago the architect led the industry whereas today it’s generally builders acting as main contractors.

However few main contractors employ doers. As the construction economy starts to pick up will there be a shift in influence to the people who actually deliver a service and take a risk? Unlikely if main contractors organise themselves more efficiently as they take steps to control the construction process in a less adversarial way (though a big culture change required for this to happen).

There’s some anecdotal evidence that main contractors are taking on trade subcontractor roles. Looking ahead this seems sensible if they are to avoid supply chain weaknesses when resources
become scarce again but would require an acquisition of new skills.

What we do know is that better relationships lead to greater profitability for everyone, so moving to improving performance seems more likely to come from the existing supply chain. Until we trust all of those we work with it won’t change.

Yes, there are pockets of achievement and success but let’s face it, you’re not going to be consulted on pre-planning, and to have your say you’ll need to engage with customers and suppliers better than your competitors.

This industry sector claims it’s badly treated but start to take a closer look in the mirror. Relationships work up, down and across the supply chain. We have to find a better way to engage with everyone: clients, main contractors, other trades and of course the guys on the tools. Now this is where better planning might make a difference.

Adrian JG Marsh
Editor Specfinish

@adrianjgmarsh

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