It’s time the Construction and Transport and Logistics industries embraced new ways of working
Mark Farmer certainly doesn’t pull any punches in his recent report commissioned by the Government into the poor performance of the UK construction industry.
“Modernise or die” is his mantra and there’s no room for compromise. Farmer’s recommendations of financial penalties in the form of additional taxes on firms that don’t modernise, is both radical and controversial in an industry steeped in traditional ways of working.
I would strongly suggest that his arguments apply as much to the transport and logistics sector as to the construction industry.
Falling on deaf ears
I must declare my hand here. I’ve been saying for quite some time about how conferencing and collaboration technology can improve the efficiency and productivity of any business. But I do feel a lot of what I’m saying falls on deaf ears.
“We’ve always done things this way” is no longer a valid position to take with such a rapid decline as the industry is ravaged by poor productivity and low margins.
Information cascading, training, document sharing, operational issues, project management, team briefings can all be done instantly irrespective of where people are located.
Simple features such as “Presence” - the ability to see at a glance whether someone is online and available, and Instant messaging (IM) – for quick and easy, real-time exchange of text messages (often with the ability to attach files and pictures too) will rapidly improve the speed of communication.
In other words, these technologies give you control and are a good place to start the technology journey.
Other sectors are years ahead
Having worked across several sectors, I can certainly vouch anecdotally for Mr Farmer’s position. Other service sectors are years ahead of both construction and transport and logistics when it comes to embracing new ways of working and using technology to connect, communicate and collaborate with stakeholders, customers and suppliers.
Conferencing and collaboration services are easy to deploy
These technologies, such as WebEx, are easy to deploy, often require no infrastructure changes and can be rolled out and used by your people in days. We train all users to get up to speed and our experience is that once trained, they don’t look back and enjoy increased motivation as well as productivity.
Attracting the right people
New technology attracts a new, younger more passionate workforce and also improves the image of an industry that desperately needs a face lift.
It needn’t be hard to create a cultural change
Mr Farmer quite rightly wants to create a cultural change and is taking a carrot and stick to do so – some would say more stick than carrot as he drags this industry kicking and screaming into the modern world. (yes, I know I’ve used two metaphors in a row!)
It needn’t be that hard. I’d be happy to show you what I mean.
MeetingZone works closely with organisations in the construction and transport and logistics industries to provide workplace collaboration and communications services that help companies improve the way they work. Samantha Bellinger is our Construction and T&L sector specialist.