Bringing together all the resources to build great homes for customers isn’t easy.

What’s more, the value of developers can break down quickly when the group strategy trumps culture.

Winning real estate is built on a passion for collaboration with customers and a will to win. Collaboration has become integral for developers in creating service-market fit with customers as well as gaining an awareness of trends that could disrupt their business.

To successfully deliver for customers, you need to be able to communicate a customer’s value demands across the entire development value chain and then collaborate with suppliers to find solutions. Collaboration is crucial in the supply chain with the need to do more with less as well as a demand for information sharing and problem solving across teams. Collaboration starts with your team’s culture, and rethinking your culture is the competitive advantage and path to success.

A culture of distrust has tended to influence the property industry value chain in Australia, yet developers rely heavily on a range of supplier contracts that expect trust and collaboration in order to achieve real results. Developers are becoming increasingly aware that there is a need for cultural change in teams to drive long-term sales leadership and brand value.

Within the value chain, construction represents an integral supplier with around 338,225 entities alone in Australia in June 2014. Construction suppliers rely heavily on strong communications to ensure quality projects are delivered and customer expectations are realised. Workers regularly show a desire for more face-to-face time where they can discuss any problems, which is too often not taken into consideration on site.

A Case Study: Grocon, DuPont & Apps Electrics

Building from its values of safety, sustainability, community and innovation, developer Grocon saw a need to develop its safety culture which could enhance overall business performance. With DuPont, Grocon assessed its safety standards to formulate a new model. Over a three-year culture program with DuPont, Grocon employees were trained on critical areas in safety management and interpersonal skills to support the culture transformation and the release of a new safety management approach. A series of leadership training with Grocon managers helped to drive a new culture and support an ongoing commitment to coaching workers on world-class safety management standards.

Grocon saw an opportunity to encourage and educate subcontractors on site with the safety training and coaching. Contractor Apps Electrics was also committed to sustainability and reliability as an organisation and saw the value in collaborating with Grocon on the DuPont safety management training. Through the training, contractors from Apps Electrics realised a stronger culture fit with Grocon, which helped in driving greater supplier collaboration on safety procedures.

Through their transformation program, Grocon realised its safety collaboration culture across its diverse teams and suppliers, with enhanced communications, problem solving and performance alignment. Due to its culture initiative, Grocon was named the 2011 OHS Management System of the Year by WorkSafe Victoria.

This case provides an excellent insight into the potential for a collaboration culture throughout the property industry. It is ultimately up to you what level of collaboration with suppliers, in areas such as safety or innovation, is appropriate for your company. Removing the silos in planning and operations can deliver immense potential through supply-chain collaboration.

“The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing,” said John Russell, former president of Harley-Davidson.

Truly, the opportunity for driving a culture around problem solving for customers is limitless.