FMI Center for Strategic Leadership managing director Ron Magnus and senior executive Rusty Sherwood were the speakers at the "Macro trends, Canadian construction and implications to business leaders when shift happens" session at the 8th International Open Shop Conference in Maui, Hawaii on Feb. 13.
FMI Center for Strategic Leadership managing director Ron Magnus and senior executive Rusty Sherwood were the speakers at the "Macro trends, Canadian construction and implications to business leaders when shift happens" session at the Eighth International Open Shop Conference in Maui, Hawaii on Feb. 13.
Ron Magnus started by discussing the top five macro trends in the industry, as determined by those attending the session.
The participants sited youth engagement, energy development, labour shortages and demographics, foreign investment in Canada, infrastructure opportunities and project delivery methods.
Technology such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) and other innovations was also raised, as was the diversification of contractors into new markets.
Magnus said that in his dealings across the world, he’s noticed a shift in approach on a global level in response to these trends.
Crashes, such as changes in commodity prices, can be a threat, though a delegate from Nova Scotia said that the labour demands of western Canada are such that a crash would actually be of benefit to Atlantic markets, as they would stop losing their workers.
Magnus said while doomsday scenarios can be predicted, it’s more important to spot the trends that can lead to these scenarios.
He added that relative to the rest of the world, the risk of operating in Canada, particularly in the oil and gas sector, is negligible.
Magnus cited a shift in growth drivers, population changes and the properties of various provinces as macro-trends.
Alberta, Saskatchewan and B.C. all have resources, and Ontario has a strong manufacturing base for consumer goods.
Government investment in infrastructure is at its highest level ever, Magnus said, which is another macro trend.
Major trends from the last five years include succession planning, the rise of oil and gas, global players entering the Canadian market, the infrastructure deficit and the need for increased efficiencies.
Changing demographics and a younger workforce is another trend cited as having developed over the past five years.
Magnus asked the session what trends could have been spotted 10 years ago that would now benefit them.
Skills development was the dominant trend everyone wished they could have predicted, as was mobility in going to “where the work is,” political planning, and the act of actually thinking about macro-trends.
Sherwood said there will likely be an acceleration of “better, faster, cheaper,” and that value proposition means either finding new emerging niches, or do things more productively and efficiently.
Because of advances in BIM, prefabrication and modularity is spreading across many different sectors.
This is speeding up the construction process and services for the industry itself.
Disruptive technologies are happening, such advanced materials, cloud technology, mobile internet, renewable energy, 3D printing, energy storage and even advanced genomics.
But industry, Sherwood said, is also now operating in VUCA environment, which stands for volatility, uncertainty and ambiguity.
Sherwood asked, how do owners and leaders prepare for these increasing levels of uncertainty?
One of the solutions cited was diversity in order to cover both experience and technological prowess, an emphasis on training, and a focus on both hard and soft skills.
Sherwood added that there’s a fear that once trained, younger workers will leave, but he said that asks the question “why are they leaving in the first place?”
The Journal of Commerce is at the 8th International Open Shop Conference and BizCon 2014, which are being held jointly in Hawaii. Keep reading the Journal of Commerce for more stories and live blogs from the event.
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