It is good to see that Willmott Dixon has increased its pre-tax profit to more than £10m (13 May, page 22). You quote Rick Willmott saying this 2.5% margin is “as good as you’ll get in construction”. But why is this the case?
I have just returned from a year’s sabbatical and have not been surprised to see that many of the efficiencies suggested by Sir John Egan in his two reports have still not been realised. True supply chain integration can realise at least a 10% saving in cost but the industry largely fails to even see the opportunity.
I have come to realise that construction professionals cannot see beyond their project-by-project culture, while our manufacturers do not properly understand the issues that that culture raises. To paraphrase a well-known quotation: we are two halves of the same industry separated by a common language.
If we could overcome this, Rick Willmott should be able to double or treble his forecast margins and charge his customers less.
Ron Edmondson, Ightham, Kent