The Productivity Gap

Is procurement the answer to the productivity gap?

Following a root and branch review of CESW’s activities by the CESW Board, the Thought leadership Forums are to be rationalised and Procurement is to merge with Productivity. This month, Martyn Jones (Chair of Procurement) and Steve Clark (Chair of Productivity) will be bringing together both sets of members to agree the new joint Forum’s vision, mission, objectives and specific projects.

As well as continuing to work to improve the way construction products and services are procured and raising the industry’s productivity the emphasis now will be on exploiting the obvious synergies between procurement and productivity. 

The scale of construction’s productivity gap has been laid bare in a recent research report, The Size of the Prize’ from Mace, which shows that the UK is missing out on more than £100bn of annual economic activity from construction. 

The report compares the performance of construction with the manufacturing sector in the UK.  Manufacturing has seen steady productivity growth over the last twenty years, allowing the sector to deliver more economic growth with the same or a fewer number of workers.  Conversely, the UK construction sector has seen productivity flat line for the past twenty years, limiting growth and denying the UK more than £100bn a year of economic benefit.   
There is little doubt that construction’s procurement practices could be more efficient, less costly to both buyers and sellers, lead to better outcomes and be leaner and more productive. Similarly, more effective procurement can be used to unleash more productivity–focused innovation in construction project teams and supply chains.
In the meantime, for the current members of the Procurement and Productivity Forums it’s business as usual as they continue to work on their projects that were already up and running prior to the Board’s review.

The Productivity Forum is mainly working on drafting a guide aimed at improving pre-construction processes and practices and the Procurement Forum is largely working on the third of its guides to Outcome Led Procurement, this time presenting the Main Contractor’s view.

They are also continuing to design and deliver the Here to Learn workshops on Outcome Led Procurement: Getting the best out of the supply chain, offered in partnership with the CESW Clubs and Hubs. 

If you would like to be involved in shaping the agenda for the new Forum as we seek to inform and transform the interface between construction procurement and productivity in the region then do contact Steve (steve.clark@turntown) or Martyn (

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