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Producers and contractors are now facing choices that they have been working hard to avoid. I have spoken to hundreds of managers over the last few years, who led their companies through the last economic downturn. By many measures, such as the number of cubic yards of concrete sold or pallets of CMUs shipped, our industry has really never recovered.
As our industry’s market improved over the last decade, I observed one new trend. Managers were increasingly willing to invest in technology that maximized fleet and workforce efficiency. Many industry observers touted innovation adoption as a delayed response of an archaic industry just catching up to modern production processes. They may be right, but I think there is something more fundamental.
Concrete and masonry construction is very people-focused. For many organizations, the drastic labor reductions that occurred during the last downturn, cut into long-term employee and family relationships. These separations were not only heart-breaking but also resulted in loss of company history.
To prevent these losses, managers expressed one new operational fundamental – never expand so fast or broadly as to risk the loss of key employees during the next downturn. In other words, contractors know that companies built on trust are often more successful than those that follow company policy manuals. This strikes true given current conditions. Fortunately, there is some research on this topic.
I had the opportunity to hear an overview of how trust effects construction at ConExpo two weeks ago. Autodesk and FMI have joined in an important industry study they have labeled “Trust Matters: The High Cost of Low Trust.” The report was a global review of practices and results from contractors involved in commercial construction. They attempted to quantify the benefits of building strong teams with effective lines of communications.
The results were eye-opening. Regardless of a contractor’s main business, size, and location, improving trust brings economic and productivity benefits that can significantly increase profitability
I encourage you to learn of the results by attending their webinar, “What Companies Can Do to Increase Trust in Their Organization” that will be presented on Wednesday, March 25, 11am PT /2pm ET. Report authors, Christine Acker from Autodesk and Jay Bowman from FMI, will discuss their research findings and how companies can increase trust. If you can’t make the live presentation, the webinar will be archived for later reviewing. Click here to register for the webinar.
Rick Yelton is the editor at large for World of Concrete. He can be reached at [email protected].