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Posted on October 25th, 2012

What’s the biggest challenge facing business today?

Martin Seabrook from PROjEN, a specialist engineering project management company, based in Preston Brook, Cheshire, argues that it’s not simply the downturn in the world economy and subsequent austerity measures that has made the business marketplace more challenging. Although both have a major impact, Martin also believes that changing corporate attitudes and the lack of investment in relevant training at our schools, colleges and universities have also had a significant effect.

We hear much on the news about the inability to raise funds from the banks but without demeaning the issue, there are equally significant business challenges we all face. For example the general economic uncertainty that surrounds us has a knock-on effect on the ability of businesses to plan. Many organisations are reticent to commit to their Capital Expenditure budgets and we find too much emphasis is on today and not the longer term.
Not all businesses are constrained by survival mode – but many are sitting on cash and unwilling to spend without a much higher than usual level of confidence of being able to meet that investment debt. Consequently the amount of time required for an investment to pay back has much reduced and short term measures are taking precedence – e.g. it costs much less to repair pot holes than resurface the whole road, but they will need doing more often thereby making it costlier in the long-term. However, doing something now rather than wait to do the job right gives a false impression of management activity and action.

Another challenge is the continued lack of good people in the market – especially in the Engineering industry. The average age of an engineer is increasing due to a lack of engineers being trained in our schools and colleges. Although specific skills are highly sought we also find that attitude can be an issue. At the risk of sounding old there is a “something for nothing” malaise which has developed in certain quarters, which doesn’t seem to have abated despite the lack of opportunities in some areas.

To find out more about Martin Seabrook and PROjEN, visit www.projen.co.uk

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