To succeed and thrive, SMEs require support from larger, more established construction companies.

The construction industry benefits from a stronger small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) presence, as these businesses play a crucial role in creating job opportunities for unskilled and lower-skilled workers, stimulating economic development and growth.

Roelof van den Berg, chief executive officer of Gap Infrastructure Corporation, notes three key areas of attention to help grow SMEs in South Africa’s construction sector:

  1. Technology

SMEs need to include technology in their day-to-day operations. “Something as simple as a free cloud-based scheduling programme, or budgeting and accounting software, can vastly improve an SME’s productivity, lower time losses and material wastage, and improve profitability in the long run,” explains Van den Berg.

  1. Financial management

Stringent accounting is essential to keep track of material costs, inventory levels, debt obligations, taxes, and how much the business can afford to reinvest and where. By leveraging the benefits of good bookkeeping practices, SMEs can become more competitive and financially stable.

  1. Partnerships

Larger corporations can stimulate the growth of SMEs by purchasing material from smaller local suppliers, outsourcing time-intensive tasks to subcontractors and opting to use small subcontractors on site. As many SMEs are still learning the ways of the trade, it is mutually beneficial to provide training and give business advice throughout the project.

When working with SMEs, don’t defer payments. Small businesses often don’t have the reserves to wait for payments to go through.

Through industrywide cooperation and increased efforts from SMEs to improve their internal operations, the construction industry will gain valuable new participants, construction projects will see better results, and employment rates and income levels will see improvement.

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to https://www.gic.co.za/ for the information in this editorial.

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