Industry supply chain needs to get smarter
How most Australian business sectors transact throughout their supply chains (from manufacturer to installer/end customer) is rapidly changing, however the building and construction sector remains rooted in the past.
Added to this process inefficiency is the impact that non-compliant product is having across all markets.
Under pressure from industry, successive Federal Government’s have been looking for solutions to the non-compliant product issue by way of the Building Ministers’ Forum (formed under COAG) but this bureaucratic process has failed to find a substantive way forward over the past 3-years.
Connection Magazines and some like minded individuals have invested a lot of time and effort over the past two years in looking at ways to streamline the industry and come up with a sensible solution that delivers a ‘line of sight’ along the supply chain. This would confirm the authenticity/appropriateness of products being purchased and make all transaction product information transparent for all specification, installation and facility management needs.
A simple starting point for that would be to have the whole industry adopt universal bar-coding and the GS1 information-sharing Standards that other industries like grocery and pharmaceutical mandate throughout their supply chains.
Across the building, construction and services sectors, an enormous amount of time and effort is being wasted by various government departments and industry organisations looking to establish stand alone databases for references such as compliance marks, certifications, registries and future BIM libraries.
There is no commercial advantage with any of these individual voluntary initiatives – just more and more cost to the suppliers who, in the main, want to do the right thing.
Our broad view is that disparate parties need to be brought together, informed and motivated, so that a sensible business solution can be found.
In February, Connection Magazines co-hosted a bar code/database presentation to the Building Products Innovation Council (BPIC), a group of twelve key supply associations (brick, timber, concrete, steel, windows etc…). That presentation was held at the GS1 headquarters in Melbourne, GS1 is the global organisation that manages the bar-code initiatives for all industry sectors.
By adopting the GS1 Standards and leveraging off this organisation’s existing database structure, the construction industry can save years and millions of dollars in establishing an industry-owned, independently-run and managed universal database.
There will still be considerable cost to consult nationally with industry, in order to design an appropriate outcome; just how the industry would fund that is an interesting challenge.
As the Victorian Government has shown an appetite to promote the use of digital technologies across the construction space, coupled with the fact that GS1 is headquartered in Melbourne, it’s logical that the natural home for the project should be in Victoria.
But let’s not be led too early by logic.
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