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Doing More with Less

Doing More With Less

Cars are a microcosm of human technology. We pour millions of dollars and hours into extracting more and more from arguably the same stuff: gas and metal. And efficiency isn’t just gas mileage, either. Take the Ford Mustang, for instance. The new V8 model puts out 435 horsepower with nearly the same size engine as a 90s model…which boasted a mere 236 ponies.

The fundamentals of the engine haven’t changed: gas, metal, air. What has changed is how those materials are used. The construction industry follows the same paradigm, in that ultimately we build things. But the journey there? The road can be bumpy, include detours and (at times) be long and winding.

Efficiency is more important now than ever. You have to do more with less.

The Situation

In our 2016 CURT Owner Trends study, we focused on this problem. Owners are feeling the post-recession labor squeeze, with 67% of our respondents calling themselves understaffed.

This labor shortage comes with increasing pressures. 61% of respondents said they are forced to deliver projects both faster and cheaper than before. Engineering and construction departments are collaborating and innovating more to “make up the gap”; however, cultural and structural differences can be difficult to bridge.

Yet despite this balancing act, companies are thriving. How?

The Remedy

One theme shone through from the result of the study and our research: agility.

Strategic thinking about capital construction programs must involve creating long-term approaches for managing the rapid pace of change we are seeing in industry. This strategy has to include measures for efficiency, process improvement and innovation, three of the biggest factors in organizational agility.

The biggest obstacle to this? Resistance to change. Companies – specifically their people – become entrenched in their existing practices and processes. Many of our respondents begin the lengthy change process at the bottom: empowering their employees. Employee empowerment is a fundamental concept of lean production, started by Toyota.

They say Toyotas run forever, and there are definitely Mustangs kicking just as long. To stay on top of their games Ford and Toyota have made great strides in organizational agility and continue to work on strategies to maintain and grow their market position, efficiency and profitability. Couldn’t you learn from them?

For an in-depth analysis of our data and more ideas to improve your company’s agility, check out the full study HERE.

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