The Farmer Review – Modernise or Die – is a call for everyone in the construction industry to collaborate and innovate
Like every forward-thinking organisation in the construction industry, Payapps.com welcomes the findings of the Farmer Review – Modernise or Die. The remit of the review – to examine the UK’s construction labour model, focusing on housebuilding – belies the breadth of its recommendations. And its stark message, that we cannot go on as we are, must resonate with every industry stakeholder, from enterprise director to self-employed subcontractor.
Towards an innovative construction industry
We have a Government freshly committed to ‘industrial strategy’, as the report points out, and this is the starting point for a strident optimism that shines through the home truths that Farmer delivers. After all, we are in the midst of a digital revolution that is showing no signs of slowing down. The “stars are aligning”, as Farmer declares, and digitisation is opening up opportunities to offset the challenges of a labour-intensive industry beset with skills shortages. Farmer describes today’s fast-paced technological innovations as “the greatest single opportunity to improve productivity and offset workforce shrinkage”.
Here at Payapps.com, we’re proud to be part of an industry that is embracing IT innovations in a wide spread of areas, from design and information management to procurement and payment processes. Successful construction businesses rely on strong project management processes, and the emergence of web-based collaboration systems to manage projects can only be a good thing. The role that these technologies are playing in transforming the way construction businesses work – not just internally but throughout the supply chain – is all too easy to overlook.
Overcoming the obstacles to collaboration and change
As against that, though, is an industry wedded to an “adversarial margin protection and expansion tactics”. Let’s face it, competition isn’t going away anytime soon. And it does make collaboration difficult, as Farmer argues, limiting widespread adoption of BIM and other productivity-boosting technologies. Looking at broad trends in technology adoption, the danger is of a divisive sector in which early adopters leave the ‘late majority’ or ‘laggards’ standing. Farmer’s vision, by contrast, is an inclusive one.
And in fragmented supply chains teeming with subcontractors, collaboration can be a challenge. The 2015 Homebuilding Supply Chain Research Report indicated that housebuilders typically subcontract 90-100% of construction work to their supply chain. So it’s in everyone’s interest to improve collaborative processes and working relationships between project owners and subcontractors. If it’s true that ‘we really can’t go on as we are’ then we must all play our part in modernising our industry, and that includes technology providers like Payapps.com.
The role of technology in modernising construction
The missing link between the innovation that Farmer calls for and the collaboration that’s sorely needed, is well-designed platforms and tools that will drive engagement and meet genuine needs. Our modern, online collaboration platform, has made enormous strides in solving a problem that sucks the life force out of valued staff-members and subcontractors, month in month out.
That problem is the monthly application for payment process, a messy and manual process that generates inaccuracies, inefficiencies and disputes.
Our platform works by allowing both contractors and subcontractors to collaborate on a neutral platform that is simple to use, eliminating the need for those time-consuming spreadsheet reconciliations, email trails and heated phone calls. The Payapps.com solution brings all parties together on a single collaborative platform, which acts as a central communication mechanism for the contractor to value the work and then approve the subcontractor applications quickly and accurately.
If we’re serious about innovation, then we all need to do our bit. With innovations from BIM and back-office solutions to more collaborative ways of working, we’re giving ourselves every chance to modernise.