In this industry, factors threatening to impact or delay a project come hard and fast, and from all angles.
How to improve supplier relations and avoid unnecessary project delays
Right from the start of any project, potential delays can occur from architect side, client side, main contractor or sub-contractor; there could be delays caused by design or approval, from lack of suitable materials, weather, natural disasters, site conditions…the list goes on and we are used to managing them all.
As if the above (not exhaustive!) list of possible strain on project timelines wasn’t enough, we are now all dealing with the wider general disruption caused by Brexit, Covid-19 and changes to regulation as a result of Grenfell.
Although at Eden Facades we are fortunate enough to have been largely unaffected by material shortages brought on by the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns, it has caused us to reflect on the ways project scheduling can be impacted by the supply chain, and how these conditions might be mitigated.
As a sub-contractor, the relationships we have with our suppliers are absolutely critical to ensuring our processes remain streamlined, and that key dates are not missed. Over the years, we’ve honed our approach to ensuring important supplier relations are maintained.
Communication is king
We set clear expectations with our suppliers early on, detailing the data and information we need, our processes and organising any paperwork.
One of our key suppliers for aluminium copings and sills, Trueline, told us about the importance of clarity right from the outset when being briefed on requirements. Paul Parkinson, Site Surveyor at Trueline says,“We always work with clients to get a thorough, detailed understanding of their requirements early on. If we’ve worked with the client before, they usually know exactly what they need to tell us, but if it’s a new client we need to try and get as much detail as possible from them.
“If new enquiries come through via the website, we’ll always call the client for more detail and a better understanding of their needs. After the initial conversation, we’ll arrange a site visit – ideally, we’ll attend together – after which we might do some sketches or some CAD work to send back until the client is happy, we might also send a sample at this stage.
“We work with Paul (Michaelson) and the team at Eden Facades a lot – they’re good, they know what they want and send us proper, scaled drawings. Customers like them make it so much easier for us to get it right, quickly.”
Be quick, but don’t hurry
Clarity over project requirements comes from suppliers like Trueline taking the time to work with us to ensure they have a full understanding of our projects’ needs. We always talk about the importance of good planning early on in a project, as getting the detail right at this stage saves a lot of problems later down the line. Rushing a job could result in incorrect information being recorded, and one wrong measurement or overlooked dimension could add considerable time and cost to put right.
As well-established suppliers within the industry, Trueline ensure that any last-minute additional alterations are included within their drawings so that their clients can visualise the changes.
The importance of getting this right is understood by all parties involved, nevertheless, as Paul says, ”There’s always pressure on timings and clients understandably always want the work done as quickly as possible!”
Treat others how you want to be treated
Clarity, collaboration and staying on track with schedule dates and timelines, gives confidence – for our clients, but also when we are the client. Providing our suppliers with the correct detail and requirements early on, and being consistent and knowledgeable when discussing orders reduces the risk of any delays caused by miscommunication.
Being good to work with makes our clients’ and our suppliers’ lives easier. Tony Hill, Managing Director at Eden Facades comments, “We work as hard on strengthening relations with good, reliable suppliers as we do on building relationships with our clients. Being loyal to good suppliers has been essential for the health of our business and has supported our growth.
“The benefits of having stable supplier relations are felt all the way up the supply chain, allowing us to provide an efficient and streamlined process for our clients which we know they appreciate.” Tony concludes.
If you’d like to know more about how we work with suppliers, or would like to discuss an upcoming project with us, contact us on 01268 744199 or email email@example.com