Creating value in the construction industry

Theodore Levitt’s observation that people do not buy a drill bit, they buy a hole was one of the starting points for the Jobs to be Done (JTBD) theory, so it is no surprise that some companies in the industry inherently understand the basic tenants of the concept.

jtbd
Explanation of Levitt and JTBD method from Re-Wired group

The industry does suffer still from a reputation as a commodity market due to the tight budget constraints that are place on projects.  But while the market is high in terms of the functional aspects of the jobs that need to be done, that is not to say that there is not an emotional side as well.

They may be different emotions from the instant gratification of an exorbitantly expensive coffee but the reassurance of knowing an item will be delivered on a set date is often more important than a small difference in performance between two competing products.

A lot is made on projects being different – different contractual agreements, working practices, client requirements etc. but often the underlying job to be done remains the same.  Different aspects may be prioritised – MacDonalds may want to minimise the time before a restaurant is open because a building site brings them no return while other speculative builders may be far more concerned with cost as they have cash constraints almost from the start.

Communication is one area that companies can improve to support their brand – most focus on company type which can sit awkwardly with the project-based nature of the industry.  The Job to be Done framework can be used to highlight where the value is – in the US a wheel manufacturer had segmented its market into commercial, industrial and infrastructure when in fact the job to be done was the same.  This meant they were spending valuable resources in creating different messages for segments that did not exist.

Gripple also understood that the job done by a sheep farmer in Wales – connecting two wires – was the same job that needed to be solved in the construction industry. The company has a 10 strong innovation team and a focus on the customer.

The job to be done is always liable to change – often this is because a better way is found, skills gaps and regulation also have a part to pay in the industry but Gripple have shown that if you do understand the underlying job you can create a global brand and avoid the commodity market.

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