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The benefits of direct in-house labour capabilities

26th July

The year 1966 may be best known to football fans as the year that England won the World Cup, but the win wasn’t without its challenges. With the score level at 2-2 at the 90th minute of the final match, the nation watched with bated breath as the country’s World Cup dreams looked set to shatter. If it wasn’t for the team’s determination and skill during those eight minutes of extra time, a piece of English sporting history may have never existed.

Here, Neil Lockett, engineering solutions site operations director at Boulting Ltd, explains why sourcing direct in-house labour capabilities provides the foundations for project success.

If a company commissions an engineering project and requires outsourced labour, it is faced with two choices: to source a workforce consisting of multiple providers from several different companies or to opt for a single supplier. Selecting a team that is able to provide a wealth of in-house capabilities has many advantages, and being able to supply a full suite of skills and expertise can help drive a business to the forefront of the selection process.

Finding an all-rounder

Businesses who are looking to deliver projects such as large-scale electrical refurbishments, mechanical upgrades or construction projects generally look to outside their organisations to undertake the works.

Enlisting the expertise of an outsourced project team can help bring specialist knowledge and capabilities that the company commissioning the project may be unable to carry out alone. This can include designers, instrument technicians, software engineers and construction support.

However, while outsourcing labour is an essential for most businesses, turning to multiple providers to help fulfil the required tasks can be difficult to manage. If, for example, the project involves technical designers, an additional set of people to develop and integrate software and an entirely different engineering and maintenance team, spreading this work across a number of providers may impact the consistency and productivity of the project.

Instead, it is better to source a single provider that can offer this suite of skills to provide a complete solution.

A team effort

Opting for a project team with full in-house capabilities gets the job done quicker and more efficiently. As the team is already well-practiced in working together, it will have established strong relationships across its divisions that can allow it to hit the ground running much faster than if several groups were to be collaborating for the first time.

This also streamlines the management process. By working with one project team, the client only has to communicate with a single project manager, rather than several managers across numerous companies. With one person who is dedicated to delivering results, response times are faster and any alternations from the client can be handled efficiently.

Greater flexibility

An effective workforce needs to be flexible too. A project may be commissioned anywhere in the world, at the drop of a hat. With the potential for far-flung locations and short notice periods, the team needs to be able to assemble quickly and with effective communication methods. If teams from several providers are working on the project, this may not happen as rapidly.

Briefing a number of teams from several companies can be time-consuming, and there is a greater risk that information may be interpreted differently or miscommunicated. This could reduce consistency and the end result may not meet the client’s expectations.

It is also less likely that these individual teams will be available at the same time. If the project was managed by a company with all of the required capabilities under one roof, it would be much easier to orchestrate schedules and assemble the workforce when time frames are tight.

Delivering success

It is widely considered that Millennials and Generation Z employees expect their employers to actively invest in their skills development. As a lack of suitable training is estimated to cause two thirds of UK employees to change jobs, ensuring employees are equipped for success is fundamental for both staff retention and project delivery.

When building a team with full in-house capabilities, a company needs to make sure it sources the right talent. This may come from apprenticeships, developing the existing workforce with adult traineeships and enhancing the skills of more experienced workers with structured learning and development programs.

For a well-rounded workforce, training needs to cover all bases. This can vary from role to role, but should include a blend of formal education, technical training, mandatory health and safety exercises as well as a focus on leadership and management skills. It is beneficial to implement a structured learning and development program that encompasses both on and off the job learning so that the company can provide a full suite of capabilities from staff who are experts in their individual fields.

At Boulting, we diversify who and where we recruit from, including becoming a Tier 2 sponsor company. This has helped us to tackle the risk of any skills gaps, and make sure that our diverse team is well-rounded and capable of supplying total project delivery. From electrical and mechanical design, to health and safety, planning and quality control, experts spanning across Boulting’s divisions are able to collaborate and provide a complete solution.

When searching for a project team, it is important to select a provider that is capable of delivering a complete set of skills and expertise. From design all the way to quality assessment, choosing a company that can provide total in-house labour capabilities helps in sure the consistency, quality and reliability of project delivery. Just like England’s World Cup winning squad, a project team must be able to see the task through to the very end. After all, this mix of sheer skill and determination turned out to be a winning combination.


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