The very good news is that these secrets are rooted in common sense. The trick is that they remain disciplined and consistent in applying them. As a result, they achieve more market success and higher margins, which they then reinvest back into their businesses to produce yet more success in the market. The most successful companies:
1. Apply lean production practices. It is no coincidence that leading precast concrete manufacturer, Clark-Pacific, and contractor, Skanska, both apply lean practices and are members of the Lean Construction Institute. In fact, Skanska Building USA was a founding member of this non-profit dedicated to promoting lean construction. Lean practices are rooted in an envrionment dedicated to focusing first and foremost on creating value for the customer. All processes and procedures that do not are eliminated where possible.
2. Stay current. Industry leaders adapt to the times while those that do not fall behind. Building information modeling (BIM) presents a good illustration here. BIM started to flourish when the Internet became ubiquitous in the late 1990s and Autodesk subsquently published its Building Information Modeling white paper in 2002. Even today, there are still companies that resist using it in favor of old-fashioned drawings. But, those who have used it could not fathom going back. It is easy to see now how companies that have embraced BIM are at a substantial market advantage over those that have not. Do not resist change!
The technological leap currently in play is product tracking using bar codes and RFID tracking solutions. It is being led by end-users who are requiring that their vendors include tracking as a productivity solution for asset management. Idencia is working with Union Pacific Railroad, NC DOT and MassDOT toward this end. However, the vendors themselves benefit from reduced costs by using concrete tracking solutions and steel tracking modules for inventory control purposes. Inventory tracking can eliminate hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs while elevating customer satisfaction.
3. Invest. Unfortunately, too many companies believe they cannot afford to reinvest in their businesses out of concern that tight margins preclude the means to improve them. McGraw-Hill reported that a 2012 study by Gartner Research revealed that the construction industry ranked last among 15 industries for investment in information technology. This, notwithstanding that the collaborative nature of the business lends itself to enormous productivity gains from investing in technology!
This is the paradox that industry leaders avoid. They were small once too, but they made the choice to grow by reinvesting profits. Fortunately, investment in new technology is less expensive now than ever before since businesses can subscribe to Software-as-a-Service ("SaaS") solutions and no longer have to purchase entire IT systems. In our recent post, The Instant ROI of Product Tracking, we described how product tracking systems can pay for themselves in just a few months.
We envision a (not very distant) future in which adoption of infrastructure asset tracking solutions by precast concrete manufacturers, steel fabricators and construction contractors will produce a network of traceable components that will become known as lean infrastructure.In the meantime, the companies that take advantage of leadership secrets during this time of great change will emerge as the next industry leaders. If you would like to learn how Idencia can help you add more customer value while reducing costs, please visit our web site or download our Idencia Primer ebook below.