Think to the future – innovate, digitise and be resilient!

“Never let a good crisis go to waste”

Winston Churchill

Mr Churchill really was onto something with this quote. A crisis, let’s be honest, is not pleasant for many. The last few months have seen heartache for many reasons and the future will no doubt bring bad times to many. The point of the quote though is to try and bring some logical thought into the equation – this can be the turn of the tide needed to prevent more doom and gloom by adapting the current business models of many. 

A business now can look at both the short term and then the long term. 

The key short term measure for many is managing liquidity. Manage the working capital. This needs to however be done in a way that preserves (or utilises) relationships. It would be damaging to fall out with your major supplier by missing a payment date. Remember your suppliers are managing cash flow too. 

Focus should then be on, as Mark Farmer elegantly wrote about in The Farmer Review – October 2016, innovation and automation. Modular particularly has seen the light shone from above over the last few months. A more cost-effective approach for high volume repetitive design and from a health perspective lower risk due to pre-assembly. Digitisation across the supply chain will reduce labour and increase quality, repeatability and productivity – but create new higher skilled roles. Technology has the power to make things easier. We should embrace it to become more productive. 

Housing remains at the forefront. It is great to see larger housebuilders being resilient but can the same be said for the smaller housebuilders. Annual house building is going to reduce. The availability of skills is still an issue and costs are increasing. Investment by the Government in social housing would help support these businesses and also support our smaller house builders – the ones that have the ability to deliver true design into our villages, towns and cities. 

The long term can be more strategic. A complete review of everything that is built is required – is it fit for the future and not just the now. Space of the now will need to be reinvented so there is no point continuing to build the same. An opportunity for our Cities infrastructure to be redesigned to create something for the future. More about pedestrians and cyclists. More investment and design going into public transport – more capacity. The opportunities for the sector will be immense IF you can embrace the future needs. 

So yes tough times are ahead but the sector can adapt and thrive. If you let it.

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