Balfour Beatty research supports need for increased skills and technology

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group chief executive speaks to broadcaster, Penny Smith.

Balfour Beatty has revealed the results of recent research into the views of its UK supply chain partners in the company’s latest paper, Chain Reactions: A View from Balfour Beatty’s Key Suppliers.

Speaking at the company’s first annual supply chain partner event in London to journalist and broadcaster Penny Smith, Balfour Beatty Group chief executive Leo Quinn shared his reaction to the research findings and the importance the company places on its supply chain.

“Our supply chain is much more than a group of individual sub-contractors and suppliers: it is a key part of our business, core to our own performance and reputation as a company,” said Quinn. “We aim to build strong, long-term partnerships with these companies, based on shared values, to help us deliver excellence to our customers. Working in partnership means we can, together, constantly improve quality, efficiency, and safety.”

Balfour Beatty’s latest paper brings together feedback from discussions with its supply chain partners and data and analysis from an online survey of 80 of the companies it works with.

The research, carried out by leading market research company ComRes, revealed the following:

  • 96% of those surveyed agree that further development of technology will improve the productivity of the UK construction industry
  • Those surveyed are most likely to have implemented or are in the processes of implementing an Internet of Things network technology (61%), while 34% have implemented or have plans to implement Big Data and predictive analytics in their business
  • Skills shortages continue to have a significant impact on the financial health of our supply chain partners, only half of those surveyed (51%) agree that there is currently enough being invested in skills across the sector
  • 83% of those surveyed agree that the industry is committed to diversity and inclusion
  • 85% of those surveyed say that their business is up to date with the latest opportunities in the construction pipeline, although many suggest more information is required to allow them to capitalise on these opportunities fully
  • 95% of those surveyed state that the industry is committed to high health and safety standards, while 81% agree that Balfour Beatty is leading on this
  • 86% of those surveyed are aware of what actions they would need to take to address modern slavery in the workplace
  • Record increases in raw materials costs are impacting profitability and the majority (86%) of the companies surveyed are making provisions for Brexit

Responding to these findings and listening to its supply chain partners’ views, Balfour Beatty has:

  • Introduced electronic, or “e-invoicing” for all supply chain partners to streamline the process, ensuring swift payment
  • Called for its supply chain partners to become members of The 5% Club, a UK employer-led initiative focused on creating momentum behind the recruitment of apprentices and graduates into the workforce
  • Set up an “Innovation Gateway” tool that allows suppliers to put forward innovative ideas relating to products, materials and services, with feedback process in place that keeps suppliers informed to encourage, generate and share new ideas

Paul Fleetham, Tarmac managing director contracting, said: “Tarmac has worked with Balfour Beatty for many years and we have been consistently impressed with the collaborative manner in which Balfour Beatty works with all its supply chain partners. The research Balfour Beatty has undertaken into the opinions of its supply chain partners, the subsequent action taken and the opportunity to discuss in an open forum with the leadership team from Balfour Beatty is testament to this.”

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