The Construction of Time: Quick Service is Key in the Property Market
The need to hire is often driven by an urgent business need and in this situation, time is always crucial. The Amazon model has ‘set the bar’ high in terms of customer service, providing a fast click through ordering system, and effective delivery.
Providers operating in the construction marketplace must be able to deliver this level of service to stay ahead of the pack, approximate and late delivery times are no longer an option, causing businesses costly headaches.
Here, Russell Down, Chief Executive at Speedy Hire Plc, explores the importance of reactivity in the construction market, exploring how unexpected problems need fast answers while explaining the benefits of this approach.
Time and the Rental Economy
The popularity of renting is increasingly evident in every area of our society, from booking a holiday through companies such as Air BNB, to leasing a car or even moving everyday networking and storage into the cloud, a rented server space. The move from up-front capital expenditure to ongoing, operating expenditure for products, equipment and services, is commonplace.
In addition to cost, one of the main benefits of renting, referred to as hire in the construction industry, is of course, speed. This is especially important in the construction industry as project managers and construction companies constantly come under pressure to complete projects in shorter timescales to optimise profit margins. Hiring reduces extensive wait times for the preparation and delivery of large machinery and equipment. It also reduces the risk of having significant levels of capital tied up in equipment which may not always be fully utilised by the contractor. As a result, hired equipment must be reliable, fully operational, well maintained and, as the top priority, safe.
Time is especially crucial within the construction industry, with every project working to a deadline that critically depends on both companies and suppliers within the ecosystem, as well as the environment and weather. The smallest delays can increase costs exponentially. It comes as no surprise that on a busy project site, everything needs to run like clockwork. Machines that arrive early threaten to displace the current operations and quite often there is no room for the equipment. If placed in a public area, they can heighten already tight project costs with the added risk of fines from the local authority. Conversely, if machinery arrives late, or damaged, professional, skilled but wasted labour remains onsite and unable to work, pushing back project timescales and further impacting project costs.
With such a critical importance placed on timescales, it is surprising that delays within construction projects are still an expected inevitability today. A recent poll by Cornerstone Projects evidences this, with 85% of companies stating that they have experienced delays on recent projects and these delays have increased costs by up to 20%. The reason for delay is usually regarded as nothing more than an excuse, fading into irrelevance quickly, but damages construction companies’ reputations. When is enough, enough?
With the rise of the real-time era, we, as consumers, have grown used to being able to choose exactly when our items are delivered. The Amazon Prime model, which has been available for well over two years, offers customers same day delivery which has become the norm. It has consequently set the bar high for delivery across all aspects of our personal and business lives. With the introduction of new technologies and methodologies such as BIM (Business Information
Modelling: the generation and management of digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of places to improve the design phase of building projects) and off-site construction, the construction industry is stepping closer to this real-time reality. However, there is a significant range of other factors on any project that threaten to cause delays and undo this progress.
Now more than ever, the availability of equipment, coupled with the speed of delivery and collection are critical capabilities that the construction industry needs within its supply chain. Suppliers need to meet this demand and operate a reliable, end-to-end service, and in partnership with construction companies, drive the momentum for an industry moving closer to real-time delivery.