Building a Brighter Future

Since the Covid-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdown, the construction and engineering sectors have faced significant challenges. However, with lockdown easing and construction sites reopening, things are starting to get back to ‘normal’. It is apparent however that business as usual is not going to happen overnight. March 2020 figures showed the highest monthly drop in construction of buildings (-11.8%) and civil engineering (-13.7%) ever recorded in Europe. The road ahead is likely to be long and hard.

When talking to our clients and wider network in the sector, there are some common themes and key questions being asked. These include:

  • Our projects are still being cancelled or delayed.
  • Our supply chain is looking unreliable.
  • Do we have the right team in place to maximise the opportunity the ‘new norm’ will bring?
  • Our financial reserves are being stretched to the limit.

Considering this, I would like to share some examples of how we are helping our clients find solutions to these challenges, and answers to these questions.

Delays in project completions

With some surveys showing that construction sites have seen productivity drop by c.35%. This has resulted in a significant number of delays, in some instances of up to 8 months. Considering this, we are helping clients engage with highly experienced Interim Major Project Directors, Project Directors, and Construction Directors on a 6-18-month basis to help reduce these delays and get projects back on track.

Unreliable supply chains

With Covid-19 exposing the vulnerability of global supply chains, we have been helping clients strengthen their supply chain by using interim managers and independent consultants. Our experienced Interim Executives and Independent Consultant are helping clients assess risks to construction projects and their wider business. As not all suppliers will survive Covid-19 or be able to fulfil their commitments, our Interims can help clients build robust de-risked strategies providing continuity of supply moving forward. If asked, they can also help implement the strategy too.

Leadership and Workforce Challenges

This is one of the most talked about subjects. Most clients are looking to (or have already started to) assess the capability of their current leadership teams and their direct reports to ensure they have the best people in place to meet the challenges of the ‘new norm’. By deploying our in-house Leadership Consulting team, we can help clients better understand ‘what good looks like’, build a fuller understanding of current leadership capabilities against the current and future context thus identifying skills gaps, and implement processes/solutions to deliver effective Executive Team performance in the future. This approach includes the use of Leadership Assessment, the creation and delivery of both individual and team Development Plans and, where required, External Benchmarking.

Financial Stress

With a significant number of businesses in the sector suffering, and UK construction output expected to fall at best by 25% this year, the impact on cash flow and increased costs incurred due to project delays will create significant challenges. Against this backdrop, many of our clients are utilising experienced Interim Managers/Executives to undertake change and transformation projects. These have included projects focussing on reviewing back-office finance operations, automating processes through technology, and bolstering bench strength across areas such as business partnering and data analytics. Were this not enough, with the Brexit deadline looming, we are also seeing an increase in demand for Interim Managers in areas such as corporate tax and treasury …

If you would like to confidentially discuss how Norman Broadbent Group could help you overcome your business or people challenges, please contact Nick Behan on +44 (0) 0207 484 0106 or via nick.behan@normanbroadbent.com