Collaboration. Quality. Growth; Secrets to a successful Supply Chain

Driving collaboration, improving quality and stimulating growth in North West construction, the NWCH Supply Chain Special Interest Group (SIG) led a Trade Workshop at Haydock Racecourse on 19th June. The focus of this well-attended SIG event was to reinvigorate a collaborative relationship across stakeholders in NWCH projects, by sharing issues/lessons learned, and working together to develop appropriate solutions.

The event opened with the astonishing statistic stating that the cost of error in the construction industry as a whole is an estimated 21% of its turnover! To combat this, the event promoted lively, open discussion and knowledge sharing between all 18 NWCH contractors, and their key manufacturing and installation suppliers.

Presentations from industry specialists

Following introductions from the SIG chairs Dave Pennock (Willmott Dixon), and deputy chair, Neil Conlon (Conlon Construction), NWCH Board member, John Finlay reiterated the importance of collaborative procurement between stakeholders at all levels, including contractors, suppliers, consultants, customers and NWCH itself.

Key roofing and curtain walling/windows suppliers such as IKO, Bauder, Kawneer and Technal presented on their experiences of waste and error in 5 common areas, and shared best practice guidance on generic products. One key example was from IKO, who had completed a roof installation on a project to a high quality, but due to poor on-site coordination, two weeks later, an M&E contractor had damaged the roof membrane in installing their system. Resulting in IKO needing to return to remedy the issue, this was an excellent case study showing the importance of completing works not only right first time, but in a truly collaborative manner.

Discussing industry-wide improvements to cut down waste/errors

The presentations served as a catalyst for honest round-table discussion between delegates, focusing on how we can improve the Design, Product and Workmanship of our projects. Topics covered included:

  • Capitalising on the expertise and knowledge of trade suppliers at the earliest possible stage
  • Designing out waste and inefficiency in pre-construction
  • Empowering suppliers to share and incorporate lessons learned from previous contracts
  • Coordinating more effectively the works between multiple trades on site
  • Helping customers to effectively maintain their product through better future-proofing initiatives

In addition, the National Federation of Roof Contractors (NFRC) delivered a presentation on RoofCERT, an accreditation program funded by CITB, whose aim is to upskill the roofing workforce. This accreditation will be up and running by January 2019, with a target of 5000 people completing the qualification within the next 4 years.

Taking appropriate action as one united framework

The only way to make these proposed changes work is through a huge collaborative effort from everyone involved in the NWCH framework. When participants shared their learning and experiences across the room, it was clear that many of the same themes were common amongst all groups. To achieve this clear need for change, the NWCH Supply Chain SIG will develop a positive action plan, and support NWCH contractors and suppliers to implement these on construction projects across the region.

To share this culture of continuous improvement even further across the industry, future SIG Trade Workshops will be extended to design teams and customers. This is the start of something vital for construction in the North West – collaboratively, we will drive improvements in quality and reduce wastage. Watch this space!

John Finlay, Procurement Manager – Capital at Manchester City Council and NWCH Board member said: “A really positive, collaborative event!

The parties present at the workshop displayed the evidence of NWCH’s mission to work collaboratively This included Clients, main contractor partners and key supply chain sub-contractors ( flat roofing, and curtain walling )

The mood, tone, and engagement of presentations and subsequent open discussions, evidenced that all of those parties were actually engaging positively with the purpose of everyone doing ‘their bit’ going forward to minimise negatives and maximise positives. If we are not together to identify issues, we can’t produce an action plan (next stage!) to improve matters. We have done the first bit well, roll on the next stage.”



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