Wednesday, 19 April 2017

To the Polls - or is that to the Poles !

Will a stronger government give us a stronger Brexit ?

The unexpected announcement by Theresa May to call for a general election on 8th June has been welcomed in most quarters. The City particularly reflected a resounding 'hoorah' as the pound's value strengthened in response to the news.

It does add yet another level of uncertainty to the future of Britain as we will effectively be without a government for a month or so as Brexit deals teeter on the brink.

But it suggests a stronger base from which to negotiate after 8th June, given a stronger, commercially astute management board at the helm.

Mr Corbyn has welcomed the news, although like the ugly ducking in the river he'll be paddling like mad below the surface. Sir Vince has rules out any prospect of a Lib / Lab pact.

Nicola Sturgeon has thrown her bagpipes out of the pram saying 'but I wanted an election first - it's so unfair' (seemingly). And Mrs May has stopped any idea of a televised beauty pageant - so we could be dealing with facts not fiction for a change.

Ian Barber - director of communications at the Advertising Association said: "Our big message to government is that our sector is a case study in what our country needs post-Brexit".

His point - as is ours (Daniel Staines), is that core industry sectors (like ours) need the government focused on some tricky negotiations based around access to talent. "It's in no one's interest to come up with an immigration policy that undermines a global success story."

They criticise the U-Turn that led to the Prime Minister's announcement of the snap election. No such criticism here - it's simply tactical skill in a strategy of strength. You can't negotiate if you can't govern; and you can't govern without a majority.

Theresa May is facing MPs as we close this piece. They should vote in support of the election and at 16 points ahead in the polls, it points to a positive majority for the Tories.

Just thinking aloud - Daniel Staines.

We add value to every project we have been,
are, and will be equally proud to support.

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Innovate, Create, Automate - Daniel Staines.

There's been a great deal in the news of late, relating to automation and the advances of AI in current and future technical development. Just this morning, reports from the O2 Arena covered the public testing of a driverless shuttle bus.

Oxbotica, which developed the technology behind the shuttle, said 5,000 members of the public had applied to take part.

"Very few people have experienced an autonomous vehicle, so this is about letting people see one in person," chief executive Graeme Smith told the BBC.

There were big enough fears when they removed the conductor from the bus - and now they propose to get rid of the driver too - has the world gone mad!

That said, automation has a valuable place in the corporate infrastructure, as JMS continue to demonstrate.

The key to JMS high standards is 'quality'. Quality people, working as quality teams, delivering quality service through qualified skills.

But - and in his own words - Daniel Staines is confounded by one fundamental problem: " ... the lack of suitable staff." He continues "Since the recession of 2008, it has been noted that a 20% year-on-year reduction in technical staff coming to the industry and there is no indication of this changing course."

Daniel describes this as  "the first of two asteroids hurtling towards planet JMS".

He goes on to say: "The second chunk of rock heading our way (and everybody else’s too) is the next recession. If we go for a soft Brexit (i.e. productive negotiations), then this will arrive in 2020 – if we go for a hard Brexit (i.e. the UK takes an arrogant stance) then we will start to see Bank Interest rates drifting up in the 3rd Quarter of this year as the Government must address its Balance of Payments with short term lending."

Is this pessimism or realism. 

In fact, you could take it a stage further. One of the many unknowns about post Brexit Britain is how the movement of qualified labour will be affected. If we can't grow our own chartered and civil engineers, will we be able to import them or have we got to return to the educational drawing board.

Skill goes further than credentials. Skill is about innovation and creativity. The innovation to be different, inventive, to approach projects with originality that stands you apart from the competition. Creativity is the ability to then deliver that innovation. Identifying problems, creating solutions and delivering cost-effective benefits for client and company alike.

 The tools are here to support individual and team innovation, whichever office is managing the project and wherever the site may be. JMS' secure cloud technology gives team access to sophisticated structural and civil design as well as project management technologies: 

Masterseries - structural design software, analysis, 3D modelling, drafting for steel, concrete, composite, timber, connections, masonry, pile caps & retaining walls.

Revit - allowing users to design a building and structure and its components in 3D, annotate the model with 2D drafting elements, and access building information from the building model's database.

Scia structural design software, analysis, 3D modelling, drafting for steel, concrete, composite, timber, connections, masonry, pile caps & retaining walls.

Autodesk - Autodesk's architecture, engineering, and construction solutions include AutoCAD design and documentation software.

XP Solutions MicroDrainage - the leading drainage design software for stormwater and foulwater drainage systems.

Wrike - an online project management software that gives you full visibility and control over your tasks.  

10,000 Feet supporting resource management by creating an interactive schedule with a dynamic timeline that visualises the work plan for your entire organisation
Is this automation - nearly but not quite.

It can only be as good as it's operator. The levels of innovation supported by this cloud of powerful resource can't make its user innovative, it only supports innovation that's already there. The creative scope is exponential, but again the engineer needs to be a creative thinker in the first place.

Daniel Staines again: "Although we will now be taking a pro-active approach to sourcing staff, we must accept that this is going to be an uphill struggle and that any new staff will be a bonus – not a given.  It is therefore essential that we ‘sweat’ what we have - we must innovate, create and in particular, we have to automate".

We need to nurture our colleagues and further nurture budding future engineers in schools, colleges and through professional organisations such as IStructE and ICE to build a future for our industry and a commanding position for JMS within it.

We add value to every project we have been,
are, and will be equally proud to support.