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Coronavirus Business Impact on Construction Industries

It goes without saying that the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world’s economy. One of the hardest hit industries, both globally and locally, has been the construction industry in South Africa. “Lockdown was completely necessary to adequately prepare our health system and ultimately save human lives. However, recovering from the shutdown of the industry for almost 60 days will not be a quick fix. It will require a long-term strategy based on a post-COVID mindset” says Marcus Wilkinson, CEO for Concord Cranes.

How does the coronavirus impact construction companies?

Within the construction space, it’s been obvious that the pandemic has seriously affected many business, large and small. The construction industry challenges being faced right now include

  • The cost of doing business has exponentially gone up. Add this to the exchange rate weakening and you have an industry that’s running costs have increased substantially; companies and the end user should expect a rate increase across the sector.
  • It will be more difficult to borrow against assets.
  • Along with the weakened exchange rate and access to capital, there may be a sharp retraction in expansionary and maintenance CAPEX. If one is brave enough to procure there will be a strong focus on used machinery.

Current State of The Construction Industry in South Africa

How has Concord Cranes been affected directly?

As a supplier to many industries, including construction, Concord Cranes had no choice but to take the very unexpected crisis and run with it. Wilkinson likens the situation to a plane that’s been grounded. “Our plane is normally airborne consistently. COVID-19 forced us to ground the plane. We’ve chosen to use this time to strip the plane down and rebuild it more efficiently. The plane is now on the runway ready to take off and when it does, it will be a more innovative and efficient machine” he says.

Being built on a strong sense of family values and dynamic teamwork, the difficult pandemic has forced the entire company to rely on each other and its values. “We’ve seen team members looking out for other team members and have also heard of individuals helping within their communities too” adds Wilkinson.

Tips for surviving the coronavirus impact on construction industries

Having taken the time to reflect inwards as to what was working and what wasn’t, the Concord Cranes team has put together a few tips for surviving in a post-COVID construction industry during the recession.

Tip #1 – Be Innovative

Create a new business model that will improve your client’s experience in this new world we find ourselves in. Don’t expect that the status quo from before will still be valid now.

Tip #2 – Find New Solutions

At Concord we are working on new solutions that will break all customer experience expectations. Be a company that comes out of lockdown with new ideas and new offerings.

Tip #3 – Act Fast

Quick innovators will win in the new economy and faster movers will outshine bigger ones.

Tip #4 – Be a Strong Corporate Citizen

As we go through the proposed lockdown levels and more and more businesses begin to reopen, companies should be mindful of the financial situation that everyone is in. Strive towards building stronger relationships with clients and suppliers alike

As of the 1st of June, level 3 will be introduced which will allow for all construction companies to begin operating. No doubt, existing projects will start up again as quickly as possible and new projects may even begin. “We are in this for the long haul with the coronavirus and should expect some problems in the construction industry in South Africa still to come, but if we remain innovative, flexible and positive, the industry as a whole can survive it” adds Wilkinson.

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