The HVAC+R industry in South Africa is changing. New players are entering the market and existing companies are looking at expanding into international territories. Despite a fledgling economy, these are exciting times for the HVAC+R industry!
South African HVAC+R companies are practising a term we seldom read about in our local news, good workmanship. The term workmanship is steeped in history. It is a term used to describe the degree of skill in which a product is made, or a job is done. South African HVAC+R companies, within a global perspective, offer relatively good workmanship. Adopting processes, rules and regulations from Europe, England and USA, HVAC+R associations like the South African Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors’ Association (SARACCA) hold members to a high degree of standards.
So, how can HVAC+R sub-contractors take their companies from good to great? HVAC+R sub-contractors are required to produce the best workmanship possible, not only to build long-term relationships with clients but to ensure the safe use and handling of HVAC+R equipment. This could equate to surgeons consistently striving to ensure that the highest quality and standard are met during surgeries.
This is where it all begins. Sub-contractors need to understand and be clear on the term "ethical tendering". The lines of ethics tend to blur when companies remain pressured to perform and show a profit. For HVAC+R sub-contractors, it should go beyond revenue. Sub-contractors need to ensure that once a tender is submitted it becomes part of the company’s history. If the tender is awarded to that company, the company would need to execute the tender with relative ease and precision, always striving for the best workmanship possible.
Unlike companies that produce consumables, HVAC+R hardware is here to stay. These structures created and installed by HVAC+R companies are built to last. Past projects become the reputational evidence of your workmanship.
“Completing a job with poor workmanship may win you an instant payment but will cost you a long-term debt.”
The main question you need to ask yourself when submitting a tender is, can my company execute the work required, within the space of time allocated? To answer this, tender briefings must be clear, stipulating full requirements, and time constraints.
Your ability as an HVAC+R sub-contractor to produce great workmanship will give you a great competitive edge. Being selective over which tenders to apply for, is not seen as gluttony of work, but rather an opportunity to only apply for projects you feel comfortable in working on.
You don’t need to win them all to make a profit.
This is by no means an easy feat. Pricing tenders correctly is an art. What needs to remain clear here is that underquoting on tenders, to ensure being awarded the job can cause irreparable damage to your company’s reputation and of course cash flow.
Always ensure that you are aware of all costs involved, and plan for the unplanned. HVAC+R sub-contractors need to understand, that, unlike surgeons, each job is operated under different circumstances.
Transparency is the name of the game! Practitioners need to ensure that the adjudication process is executed correctly and by law. The quoted price of each tender submitted needs to be disclosed. This must be done at the submission site, after the closing time of the tender.
The HVAC+R sub-contractors spend millions annually on tendering processes within their organisations, and there must be a value generated by these costs. Ethical tendering is a cornerstone of every HVAC+R Company.