September 1, 2020

Supporting Construction SMEs

Improved efficiencies and productivity are now more critical than ever to the construction sector as the impact of Covid 19 is seen in practices on sites and offices around the country. The common practice among many SMEs is all hands on deck to ensure that the customer’s requirements are met. This works but can get in the way of the company reaching its true potential.

In the initial stages of Covid 19, Skillnet Ireland created a Covid 19 Response Fund. The Construction Professionals Skillnet decided to use this funding to provide some training free to the sector. One of the courses offered was a development programme for SME Owner Managers.

Dave Clarke of Core AC, who participated in the programme, talks about how it has helped them improve how they do business.

“Core AC is 24 years in Ireland and is the main agent for Carrier, Vertiv, Clint and Novair HVAC products nationwide. We sell and commission our own products and maintain these along wiht a wide variety of other air conditioning systems. We currently employ 15 people. I  managed the service and maintenance departments until recently when I was appointed General Manager. I come from a technical background in the industry but wouldn’t have had the background in the breadth and depth of strategy or finance. I decided to do this course to help me better understand these.”

“I got that and much more. Core AC has always been a well run and successful company, everyone did what they needed to do to keep our customers happy and keep the company progressing. What the training has helped me do is to look at defining the roles and systems that we have in place, to review them and to see if they are what we need for us to achieve what we want as a business down the line. It’s a work in progress at the moment. We are taking it slowly.”

“The participants on the course were from technical and construction backgrounds and some of the material was theoretical. However, the structure of the course was such that no one was left unsure of the content or direction. One session focused on what motivates people to do what they do in work and it became clear that it is not always the obvious. During this session the topics of autonomy, mastery and purpose showed that, when people are given the tools, training and backing to do the job, self-direction is better than management. To this end once the process and structures are in place, it leads to a happier, motivated, more efficient and effective staff and company.”

“The course also provided an insight into other small businesses and how different sectors have the same business issues, independent of the sector they are operating in. Even if I had to pay for this training, the cost and effort would be far outweighed by the benefit of learning from the experience of the instructors and other participants.”

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