DGCOS Chief Executive, Faisal Hussain, has recently observed how poor planning can cost installers both time and money. Here he discusses how making just a few changes would help installers add to their bottom line.
So much money is lost to the construction industry each year through avoidable error that there is an organisation dedicated to researching and eliminating it. The Get It Right Initiative (GIRI), comprising experts from across the construction industry, estimates that avoidable error could be costing as much as 21% of the value of the UK’s construction work, or about £21 billion per year. That’s an astounding figure – and let’s not forget that we’re talking about avoidable error here*.
This came to mind recently in my own dealings with suppliers who have been working on some renovations at my house. Three times in a single day one contractor needed to leave site and go back to his unit to bring more kit back that he’d not brought with him when he’d arrived. That’s a cost right there, and it made me think that this could be happening in the fenestration sector too. If so, our installers are simply not adding to their bottom line like they should, and profits are being squeezed as a result. Where’s the sense in that?
Proper preparation prevents poor performance
The GIRI has identified various ways in which errors creep into the supply of product and service, which can easily be applied to our own industry. Firstly: planning. Taking time to plan a job in advance costs nothing but saves both time and money. It could really be as simple as making sure all the right tools are on-site; that the team knows where they are going and at what time; that the delivery of the service has tied in with the delivery of the product. It’s a simple thing but approaching each job with the right forward planning and being organised makes for a more efficient installation.
Another time waster that I’ve been on the receiving end of recently is that of estimating the time needed for a job. In this instance a job that should have been completed within a single day ended up taking two, meaning the supplier had to send his crew back to site for an extra day – which means an extra day’s payment for them out of a fixed-cost job. The customer doesn’t pay for this – and why should they? – the supplier does. Realistic planning about how long a job will take automatically drives down avoidable error.
Communication between suppliers and buyers
This leads me on to communication. Communication along the entire supply chain is vital. If an installer is expecting a delivery of a certain product on a certain date from his fabricator, he needs to know that this is going to happen. If it doesn’t, the whole delivery chain is affected, the job is postponed and potentially a day’s work is pushed back. That’s another cost. Improving channels of communication helps manage expectations and means the installer can deliver on time to the end user. A happy customer is more likely to result in word of mouth recommendations and repeat business, and we all know it’s cheaper to retain a customer than it is to sign a new one up.
Get the specification right
GIRI recommends that one way of eliminating error is to ensure communication of the job specification and product design from the beginning. The old adage ‘measure twice, cut once’ applies here, particularly for bespoke installations or more complicated builds like conservatories. Design changes, lack of communication between client and design team, inadequate supervision – all are cited by GIRI as some of the reasons that jobs fail, take more time and require comebacks. All stakeholders throughout the supply chain have a responsibility to their own profit margins, yet time and again we see mistakes happen that could be avoided.
At DGCOS, we provide invaluable support from setting up an effective and efficient operation, through to sales and marketing support which takes an installer to the point of being able to deliver quality, efficient service to the homeowner. The cost of not working efficiently, of not paying attention to issues like training, communication, planning and being organised, is huge. DGCOS is here to guide and support, and if we can help installers reduce or eliminate avoidable error, the industry will be a better place, and we will all, literally, be better off for it.