Building Innovation Through Collaborative Processes
Pomerleau is investing heavily in training and in their leadership team so that the people, not just the technology, are the true transformation agents.
Mediaplanet: What are the trends shaping the construction industry right now?
Ian Kirouac: On one hand we are experiencing a strong economy, with interest rates still low and lots of investment from the public and private sector. On the other hand, urban centres are becoming denser, the cost of land and materials are rising, and we are entering a critical period where labor shortage is an issue. All those trends mean more pressure on construction. We must build better, faster, greener, smarter, and cheaper. Technology is necessary, but digitization is, above all, an incredible opportunity to align the interests of the various stakeholders in the construction industry.
What does the industry need to do to address some of these factors?
Simply put – embrace an ecosystem mindset. Align your interests as a builder with those of your stakeholders and engaging in collaborative, risk-sharing, outcome-based contracting models. The supply chain needs to be redesigned, and in some cases de-centralized. Suppliers need to become partners if they are not already.
"Those who win will need to be entrepreneurs, be socially and environmentally responsible, not just build things, but communities, communication skills will be key."
It might appear simple: treat your suppliers like partners, federate your ecosystem early on – but it’s not. We’re quite invested on that front at Pomerleau, we conducted a full audit of how time was being spent on our job sites. Out of this exercise was born a 3-year plan – Foundation for Operational Effectiveness (FOX). Our transformation program includes everything from how we use Building Information Management (BIM) to prefabrication, robotics, and 3D printing to name a few. With this program, we seek the recipe for agility, how to generate ideas, and technologies, and implement them as soon as possible.
Human skills, ability to collaborate, connect in a meaningful way with others, operate in cross-functional settings and complex environments will be a differentiator. Those who win will need to be entrepreneurs, be socially and environmentally responsible, not just build things, but communities, communication skills will be key.