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By Catriona Lingwood, Chief Executive of Constructing Excellence in the North East

A recent Constructing Excellence survey, Unlocking Productivity, confirms that a majority of people in the construction industry believe productivity to be only 60 per cent of what it should be. A couple of weeks ago I talked about UK productivity in this column and how, although we’re still struggling with it, there is plenty being done to improve it. I know that we are capable of much more, however, culture and behaviours often interfere.
The majority of those who responded to the survey said they wanted more work collaborations with a need to develop culture and behaviour. Based on results from another industry project, a radical approach has now been proposed to do just that.

Teams from across the supply chain discussed improvement concepts, and although they didn’t come up with a ‘big idea’, they suggested a number of micro-ideas something I believe could actually work.

Over 200 organisations, from small to large, took part in workshops part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The workshops were to increase knowledge of industry opportunities such as; bid preparation, BIM implementation and better safety and health – all areas I think we should all be clued up in.
Micro-ideas only became apparent as the programme progressed, but they’ve always been there, what’s different this time is finding them in depth and recognising their accumulated value.

Collaborative working helps you build and benefit from partnerships by sharing resources, as well as improving opportunities.
By collaborating in teams, organisations in the supply chain significantly help one another, for example, sharing information in a different sequence can be very beneficial.

Collaborative working aims to reduce barriers between those in the construction or project team, improves communications, reduces conflict and as a result improves outcomes – which is what we all want!

Micro-ideas tend to come from brief discussions between organisations about what they do, which leads to another organisation suggesting different, more efficient, methods, technology or equipment.

For most people, once explained, micro-ideas are no-brainers really. Management comments commonly include “why has that not already been done?” Which is why it’s a good idea to have your say and speak out- you never know, one of your ideas may improve the speed, cost or outcome of a project.

Micro-ideas are low risk; improvements are small, and therefore quickly implemented, and they can easily be reversed if problems occur – they provide the best of both worlds in my opinion. The effort is minimal, maybe a conversation here or there, but there is potential for maximum output in terms of improving productivity and changing culture and behaviour, it all looks very encouraging to me.

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