utilities & services
Deregulation and the new regulatory environment have created issues that require greater market knowledge and understanding in utility companies.
Understanding how the construction industry works
We were asked by BT to write a comprehensive guide to the construction industry for its staff. The need for market knowledge and the complexities of the construction supply chain have led several service companies to approach us for guidance. Any company that wants to effectively supply to the construction industry must first understand its structure and the relationships across the supply chain. Also, these are changing with a trend towards early supplier involvement and partnering. Many of the utilities have recruited sales and marketing people from outside the construction industry, and they need a guide.
The guide was designed to describe the role of every member of the construction supply chain in simple language. We researched who were the top ten players in each area and the most useful web sites. We also wrote a short chapter on each of the big issues in the industry, so that the team could see how their services could relate to them. It was then published as a pocket guide. We have subsequently updated it and added new material to keep it current.
Evaluating the revenue streams from new technology
Leading Edge is well placed to provide just the insight that utility suppliers need to reach the construction market. A household name telecommunications business wanted to identify the key drivers and barriers for cabling infrastructure work. They needed to know the scale of opportunity, including the amount of active equipment included in the cabling contracts.
They asked Leading Edge to identify the routes that are used for letting voice and data infrastructure work, particularly in IT intensive projects. This allowed us to size the market for this service and the level of opportunity within it. We also provided further information on areas of low IT-intensive projects for Business Information Systems. The research showed how the decision-makers and the equipment specification point varied, and gave a comprehensive picture of this market opportunity.
Predicting demand to manage assets better
OFWATs Asset Management Programme 3 put a greater emphasis on water companies to plan their infrastructure investment better. This means getting the balance between renewal work and providing new infrastructure to supply new buildings is important.
We were asked by one of the largest water companies to help address the needs of top management, right down to individual operational zone managers. By analysing planning application data, we were able to give operational managers an estimate of likely demand trends over the next two years. This would help them plan work ahead, by giving middle and top management an overview of the demands for each individual area, as well as for the whole region. They were particularly keen to pinpoint very large or tall projects. Then they could drill down into their system to see if the current infrastructure can cope, or if replacement was required.
Privatisation forces organisations to become marketing oriented
Where organisations face privatisation, or are de-integrated, we can assist them understand their markets better. For example, a former civil engineering design group of British Rail was about to be privatised. It faced changing contact-points in the new client body, Railtrack, and competition from other regional groups.
Leading Edge was asked to provide a series of seminars to introduce a marketing culture into the organisation. They then asked us to prepare a marketing strategy to secure its workload for the next three years. This included a plan, with defined marketing objectives and actions, with the responsibilities assigned to the relevant directors. This set out the shape of the organisation, individual responsibilities for business development and the marketing support needed. This unit is now a successful division of a major firm of consulting engineers.
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