If COVID-19 disrupted your work, prepping for next year can help recoup lost time and revenue. Here are four steps that construction businesses can take today to be stronger and more resilient in the future.
Become More Digital
Ecommerce, on-site vending, usage data from vended items… there are a lot of ways the industry is changing, and during a pandemic, you should expect to see – and use – more of these digital solutions. In some cases, you don’t even have to go into a store anymore to get the items you need.
Our industry has been gravitating towards digital and Ecommerce solutions over the past few years in general. With what we’ve been through since spring of 2020, the shift to digital has just been sped up. It’s natural to figure out how to reduce touches, consolidate and place orders, and facilitate transactions digitally so that we can remove some physical interactions.
These digital trends are the future. Smart businesses will quickly adapt to this “new normal” and then reap the benefits long term.
Create A Plan
One of the few things we can always count on is that another new normal is coming. It’s just the speed of those future changes that varies. Sometimes there’s a catalyst like COVID-19, and sometimes it’s just the natural progression of the industry.
So, to operate in whatever the next normal happens to be, you need to build an adaptable plan based on a couple of questions.
- Are you paying attention to the opportunities within my supply chain?
- Are you maximizing the transactions in the supply chain?
These are the questions we have to ask ourselves. Once you have a plan and a direction to take your business in, from there it’s all about execution. At the end of the day, we have to really just build a good plan with some trustworthy measurables that we can hold ourselves accountable to, and then we can take action.
Each business has areas that, when measured, show the health of the organization. If you don’t know how to find the items that need to be measured in your business, look for a partner and build a strategic relationship with them. Companies that offer supply chain solutions know the ins and outs of finding key performance indicators and will help you define your measurables and then get the most out of each transaction in the supply chain.
Know Why Visibility Matters
Transparency of resources across multiple jobsites is important, but for many companies, keeping track of who has what at each jobsite is a challenge. Why does that level of visibility matter? Because as you build your plan, inventory availability – or having the knowledge of where supplies are on a jobsite or in a fab shop – will be foundational to your future success.
Knowing what to expect is the path to cost savings, productivity improvements, and taking back your time. Planning for that inevitable inventory consumption – whether it’s at the point of use or via a tool crib – means you’re able to see trends in inventory usage. With that information, you can forecast for future work.
An example would be if you have to ramp up man-hours on a jobsite, you need to be able to see what supplies are already out there followed by knowing what to add on. This lets you notify all of the different inputs of the supply chain, whether that be a supplier, the people working on the jobsite, or even a third party.
In the end, visibility over jobsite inventory is so key because it affects everything else in your business.
Build Supply Chain Resilience
Where your supplies come from is one of the most important parts of your business. One of the biggest lessons of the pandemic has to be that without a steady flow of materials, it’s hard to stick to timelines.
And that’s just one reason to find ways to make your supply chain more resilient. Then, when tough situations pop up, your business can adapt because you planned ahead and created a supply chain that can roll with the punches.
An easy way to build resilience into your supply chain is to, again, look for a strategic partner. Quite frankly, you know your business better than any supplier will, but they can innovate, try new things, and have the distribution network needed to keep your supplies coming.
Any partner that you pick needs to be flexible and transparent. You’ll need to work with them to set goals that tie back to your main plan. Are you trying to reduce emergency orders? Make that a goal. Your partner needs to have an appetite to battle some of the challenges and ultimately solve the problems that are going to come up.
If you only take one thing away from all of this, it should be: You need a plan. Having a plan in place to take care of things for next year means you’ll be ready when whatever that next new normal comes along.
But if you want to dive deeper, consider these steps.
- Find ways to become more digital. From ordering online to Locker Pickups, be sure you can always get exactly what you need.
- Invest in your business. Find a supplier who will be your partner. This will help you roll with the punches in the future.
- Understand what visibility can do for you. You want to know what’s going on within your supply chain wherever you can.
- Build supply chain resilience. Suppliers matter. If you need help building and sticking to a plan, they can help.
Regardless of the industry, COVID has actually presented a unique opportunity to put a strategy in place and build off those four steps so that your business is prepared for changes as they happen. Ultimately, you should build a plan that you want to accomplish.
Once there’s a plan and once there’s a good partner who has lots of different options, that’s when you’re going to see some of those gains in resiliency.
Ready to Partner?
If you’re looking for a partner in construction, please reach out to us to see how we can help.