The impact of the pandemic on businesses has been immense, and no industry vertical remains spared. Construction companies have also borne the brunt of the situation as projects have halted, and labour has migrated to their hometowns. Even as the crisis get into the next stage after the lockdown, things are still far from normal. Although construction sites are now open, the operational restrictions continue to exist due to the social distancing mandates. Moreover, labour shortages and supply chain disruptions are emerging as major barriers.
Business owners need to build resilience so that they can keep going and survive the pandemic even while combating these challenges. If you are in this domain, timely action is the only way to sustain and survive. Right now, you will need to reshape your strategies and operating procedures to make the company and projects pandemic-resistant. A proactive approach and the right set of actions can make all the difference when it comes to building resilience and preparing your business for the next normal. Here are the steps you need to take for effective results.
Accelerate rollout and adoption of digital technologies
Right now, it is time to take agile steps rather than an experiment to find the perfect road map for tech implementation. Organisations must enable powerful remote technologies that will keep you operational even during the crisis. Primarily, the implementation of a project management software solution that empowers remote collaboration is the right thing to do.
It can minimise physical interactions between the team members, no matter how large the teams are. Moreover, they can continue collaborating seamlessly on projects without losing their productivity and performance. Therefore, a feature-rich technology solution is vital to keep your projects on track and your business up and running during the pandemic era. Also, you need to accelerate the process to gain and retain a competitive advantage.
Find opportunities to move work off-site
Remote work has become a norm for almost every industry vertical after the pandemic struck. However, things appear to be a little less feasible for the construction segment on this front. Still, you can try identifying the elements and subsystems which can be fabricated in a controlled environment and then assembled on the site. The concept of modular buildings makes a good idea in this context.
The benefits of this approach extend beyond empowering your business with remote capabilities. Such off-site shifts can enable materials manufacturers to collaborate on fabricating new product features which could enhance the building-site activities to a significant extent. Further, off-site construction drives sustainability by cutting down materials wastage, noise and air dust on the sites.
Invest in skill development and culture revamp
Another step that can help you achieve business resilience in this tough time is by investing in skill development, and culture revamp that will make you capable of operating in the next normal. At this stage, having resources with the right skills and attitude to work remotely can strengthen your organisation. While you must bear this in mind while recruiting new resources, upskilling the existing workforce with training on new tools and technologies and innovative operating procedures is a good idea.
On the culture front, it is vital to balance performance and health because both are equally critical in these turbulent times. Investing in a culture that prioritises employee well-being is the key as it curbs the risks related to remote work while dealing with apprehensions regarding job security and productivity.
Maintain control across the portfolio
When construction prices come under pressure which is most likely to happen ahead, businesses need to leverage their overall portfolio to survive. There are chances that you will face problems with resource allocation in the coming months. To stay resilient, you will need to make trade-offs between assets and projects, which is best done based on accurate progress data across the business portfolio.
It makes sense to have a central monitoring function in place right now so that you can identify and respond to resource-allocation challenges across the portfolio when the situation arises. The best way to do it is by automating the process with a project management platform that offers real-time transparency on factors like material inventory, labour, subcontractors and costs of individual projects and the portfolio as a whole.
Strengthen supply chain resilience
The resilience of construction businesses dramatically depends on the viability of their supply chain right now. Now is the time to review your supply chains for vulnerabilities and look for options for fortification. For example, you can consider building inventory, recruiting direct labour to replace the subcontractors or identifying backup distribution channels to make up for the deficiencies in these areas.
Once again, an agile approach can make all the difference when it comes to fortifying your supply chains. If you can consolidate the value chain at this stage, it will be possible to minimise risks significantly and secure future productivity as well. This single step can go a long way in making your construction business future-ready for the post-pandemic era and ahead.
Redeploy resources and capital
Apart from consolidating your supply chains, this is also the time to consider redeployment of your resources and capital. Sustaining a post-crisis revival is all about strategising the business priorities. Responding to COVID-19 could open up new opportunities to make disruptive moves that you may have been long overdue. Just like it happens with the value chain, there are different choices you can explore when it comes to deploying capital, resources, and capabilities.
You may have to plan the areas where you can deploy them most economically. For example, you may concentrate the resources and capital on specific future high-growth segments or selectively exit certain business areas that don’t have a great potential ahead. Since there is a breadth of options here, it is good to think and plan thoroughly before execution.
Get closer to customers
No matter what industry you operate in, customers are the mainstay of success. Business resilience in the pandemic era is also defined by staying one step ahead of customer expectations. Customer preferences are undergoing a massive change at this stage, with aspects like online retail, remote working, and sustainability emerging as the major trends
Although it is hard to predict what other shifts may emerge on the consumer front, whatever happens, is most likely to stay permanently. Therefore, it becomes essential for construction businesses to stay close to the customers and match their expectations in terms of design, quality and outcomes.
Keeping your construction business healthy and productive through the crisis is vital for making it resilient enough to sustain at present and achieve economic recovery in the future. Now is the right time to prepare for tomorrow, and this can be best done by realigning your mindset and approach and implementing the right technology solutions.
Published by Preeti Mangal