Opinion
Small-sized contractors can emulate ROKO
Publish Date: Jul 31, 2014
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By Simon Mone

Any small-sized company that aspires to become a model in construction needs to patiently take the small steps required to attain its objectives.

Some construction contractors in Uganda today, such as ROKO have a proud reputation that has been built for 45 years.

This has had positive contribution to meeting the country’s socio-economic and development objectives. It has enabled improvements in construction industry performance, efficiency and competitiveness.

There has also been value for money in those projects. Being the model contractors, they are able to hire new employees and train them to become skilful technicians and craftsmen, competent to be deployed on technical jobs.

This usually attracts commensurate remuneration able to keep workers for the foreseeable future. It is, therefore, fair to say that new employees who join as trainees, undergo on-the-job training and rise through the ranks to become top managers and go on to serve for 36 years is a demonstration of the ability of such a company to become a model employer. Workers become loyal to their employer and are more likely to pay the employer’s faith in them by serving diligently.

These good practices do not only promote employees’ skills levels, they also create confidence in clients. Whereas up-coming contractors often recruit workers on short term basis to serve only when contracts are available, model contractors offer their workers long term prospects.

This ensures that workers dedicate their service to their employers. Long term employment provides sustainable livelihoods to employees, and uplifts their living standards. Many small-sized contractors initially struggle to attract, train and retain workers. During periods when they don’t have contracts, smaller companies lay-off workers.

Established ones on the other hand keep them. This World of competition also motivates temporary workers to move. Artisans always move from one company to another to search of better employment terms. In most cases, model contractors keep their staff and stay well ahead of competition.

In the area of continuous process improvement, upon successful completion of projects, small-sized contractors remain content with their achievement whereas model companies allow for review of completed processes with the aim of discussing lessons learnt to enable them execute future projects better.

This gives potential clients assurances of reliable quality. Model contractors provide mentorship services to stakeholders such as sub-contractors. Mentoring ensures that stakeholders maintain acceptable professional standards which clients can also trust.

Sub contractors’ work is measured against desired quality performance and delivery against time. Strict measures and penalties are imposed, if non-conformances are noticed.

So to become model contractor, small-sized contractors should develop gradually while providing quality output to attain good financial standing. They should take the little steps required to facilitate their growth into what would be recognised as model construction companies.

The writer is a civil engineer

 

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