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    « May 2008 | Main | July 2008 »

    June 18, 2008

    What is Our Moat?

    Based on my previous post some in the reprographics industry have asked "what do you see as our moat?"  The industry is changing.  Reprographers are adopting technology to improve their efficiency and value proposition to their customers.  I don't believe the "moat" has much to do with which technology products a company chooses (although that is an important decision).  The long term or "enduring moat" is the skills, expertise and systems that are developed in the process of implementing and delivering technology in construction workflows.  I've heard recently of companies implementing a new plan room and said it was pretty easy because we have developed processes and our people have been trained on other plan rooms.

    There are companies that can easily deliver technology solutions in an ASP model over the Web (i.e. Google, Yahoo, or even Autodesk).  These companies could deliver solutions more easily than a reprographer at a lower cost.  Where I see the "enduring moat" for reprographers is the infrastructure.  At the end of the day the construction industry is a local business.  Reprographers have a local presence, sales people, customer service representatives, service technicians and vehicles.  Most importantly reprographers have a relationship that allows them to interact face to face with construction stakeholders on frequent basis.  Technology solutions that require this "moat" are where reprographers will see enduring success.

    June 02, 2008

    New Construction Contract Documents

    At the AIA conference this year a new set of contract documents was presented that promoted "fully integrated project delivery".  The documents bring the architect, owner and construction manager together into a project team.  The goal is to move all construction projects to a design-build model.  One of the most controversial components of the contract documents is the parties waive the right to make claims against others.

    To give you an idea of how well this was received at the end of the presentation of the documents by an AIA committee member he asked if there were any questions.  The result was laughter.  Not the response he was expecting.  It will be really difficult to get this implemented, but this is definitely a trend to watch.  Many construction projects in Europe are done this way and for the most part it has been successful.