“We are right in the middle of a major project, let’s get to that once this project is finished” – everyone in the industry knows this feeling. For leadership teams, when it comes to working on the business versus working in the business, too often the short-term crisis has to take priority over the longer term goals.
To add to the frustration of leadership teams, the firefighting approach that they get sucked into could be alleviated through improved organisational capabilities – the type of initiatives that always get pushed out! From its long experience of working with the construction industry Enterprise Ireland understands this issue well.
Over the past 12 months Enterprise Ireland has spoken to dozens of companies in the residential construction supply chain. In all of these conversations, we discuss the pain points of the business and seek to identify mechanisms to incentivise and support solutions that bring better outcomes on future projects. Our support for this sector came under a new mandate that was given to Enterprise Ireland under the Housing For All plan. As a result, we are now offering digital, lean and innovation supports to the domestic residential sector with the aim of improving performance. These supports can help leadership teams by bringing in subject matter experts to help with both knowledge and to provide bandwidth.
Implementing something like a digital strategy, for example, may seem like a large project but we have designed our support to break it down into incremental steps. Starting from small, easy to apply for grants such as a Digital Discovery Grant or a Lean Start the size and complexity of the supports grow with the company’s ambition and sophistication.
Typically we find that once companies take that first step and see the returns they are then more willing to buy into larger initiatives. Clancy Construction are a good example of a company that has been running initiatives around lean, digital and offsite systems for some time and have seen the benefits. Ultimately these benefits are that projects are more predictable, on programme and profitable.
While it is really exciting to talk about digital twins and artificial intelligence most of the Homebuilders and General Contractors we are dealing with want easy systems to implement that give them the ability to plan better and have greater visibility on project progress. Many recent conversations involve the implementation of BIM, project management software or systems that help manage the procurement process. These are all projects that we can incentivise and support.
Similarly, while ‘implementing lean’ sounds very formal, at its core is an analysis of processes. Over the past 12 months we have seen a surge of interest in the Last Planner System. This approach to project planning places a heavy emphasis on collaboration and communication between sub contractors to ensure that problems are identified and resolved early.
To have a discussion about how these supports could apply to your business get in touch with the Enterprise Ireland Built To Innovate team firstname.lastname@example.org and www.enterprise-ireland.com/builttoinnovate