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Targets will never be hit if nobody shares

In an ever-evolving industry with so many unpredictable factors, firms must control what they can.

From bolstering the bottom line by maximising efficiency, to fostering innovative solutions to stay ahead of the game, collaboration is crucial.

“Higher rates of innovation translate to revenue growth”

Companies such as Eurovia, Galliford Try, Kier, Skanska and Vinci are unequivocal in their desire to collaborate across the industry and beyond because they recognise the scope for learning from the experiences of other businesses, projects and initiatives.

The lines between construction, infrastructure, energy, utilities, property, natural resources and manufacturing are increasingly blurred, reflecting increased synergies between sectors.

Time and again, collaborative approaches have delivered a sea change across the sector, whether in the pursuit of innovation, improving efficiencies, monitoring suppliers or adapting to and standardising health and safety requirements.

The results have been seismic: reduced costs, faster delivery and higher quality. All of this enhances results for clients, reinforces the safety of our people and boosts shareholder value, at a time when economic conditions remain unsupportive.

Case for broader collaboration

In Construction 2025, three of the four sector weaknesses listed were driven by a lack of collaboration. Though progress has been made, work remains to be done.

The British Quality Foundation’s experiences, as well as numerous studies, highlight the extent to which higher rates of innovation translate to revenue growth.

This is particularly true for firms with restrictive return on capital investment models, for whom innovation through R&D and intangible assets can be stifled because of limited appetite for risk.

But perceptions of such high risks in adopting new processes are misplaced.

“Better channels of communication across the supply chain can help to preserve best practice”

Instead of watching a competitor lead the way and then taking on a new process later on, potentially losing a competitive advantage, firms should instead share information on the technology across their sector and across other overlapping industries.

This would mitigate their risk and all would benefit.

Limited sector integration and knowledge-sharing were two more threats highlighted in the report.

Better channels of communication across the supply chain can help to preserve best practice and learnings when projects complete and teams disperse.

All parts of a team – and perhaps even the industry at large – could then benefit, giving UK construction a competitive edge on the international stage.

As BuildingConfidence chairman Dale Turner, also director of procurement and supply chain at Skanska, said last year: “The construction industry is highly competitive and often there is a reluctance to collaborate and share information…. If we really are going to meet the Construction 2025 strategy targets, this needs to change.”

Russell Longmuir is CEO and director-general of BQF

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