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‘Normal’ design is usually a linear process, with bespoke supply chains engaged at a late stage. However, as large serial clients adopt more standardised designs to improve efficiency on construction projects, the benefit of getting closer to supply chain partners is becoming clear.
Collecting even simple information about lead times, inventory, and production status helps to identify potential supply problems and enables owners to make more informed decisions. Using a system that connects this data into the construction process explodes the possibilities for transforming efficiency.
KatalystDI’s system gathers construction data from deep in the supply chain, analyses it, and builds it into a new collaborative way of working.
We know construction costs have spiralled and variable costs have made the industry think too short-term. This creates ripples in the supply chain and a focus on immediate, urgent problems.
We need to implement more long-term planning to prevent common issues happening repeatedly. This will be challenging, but as time goes on and datasets improve, reactivity will get quicker, and the process will stabilise as construction supply chain information becomes more freely available.
At the moment, suppliers and contractors fix certain problems and course-correct without ever needing to be transparent.
We need a platform that integrates different data sets from different suppliers so we can see and trend what’s going on within the supply chain and create more formal accountability on information being reported.
Bringing data into one place and organising it around packages will give owners a single pane of glass through which to visualise what’s going on between the planning side and the production side of the supply chain.
A deeper understanding of the supply chain enables everyone to see patterns in the availability of products, to ask the right questions, and to plan better.
The perfect future is a ‘data clearing house’ where minor design modifications to better align with supply chain data can transform productivity.
The key to achieving this is better communication between owners and suppliers, where the supply chain can offer equivalent alternatives and remove some ‘bespokeness’ from the process.
If we issue the same design intent multiple times but continue to detail it in slightly different ways, the result is lots of slightly different projects, all with different supply chains. Instead, we could save on project costs and schedules if everyone optimised around the same thing, started defining the information behind standardisation and supply chains, and began thinking of projects more like products.
The construction industry needs to shift its thinking towards recognising similarity and repeatability by using repeatable components to create unique systems.
Construction companies are already operating at 100% capacity or more. Businesses aren’t competing for work, they’re trying to figure out ways to deliver all the work they already have, and how to deliver it with existing supply chain capacity and widespread skills shortage.
This reality creates an openness to new approaches and will force change, but we need interoperability of data, collaboration, and repeatability to make it happen.
Our need to build will only increase as the global population continues to grow, and the amount of energy and technology infrastructure required expands as we head into the future. The best incentive for industry-level change will come from owners, who are starting to understand the enormous financial costs of delays and disrupted schedules more than ever before. And when owners make certain decisions, the supply chain will follow.
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