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research and strategy

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culture change through 50:50 Vision 

RhysJones has the knowledge, experience and independence to help clients understand their markets more thoroughly. We construct surveys that generate a high response rate and relevant answers and out independence allows insights often obscured from our clients. We carry out research into who makes purchasing decisions among your customers, what criteria they use, what they think of your competition and where you can make improvements, develop new products and services.

We can also carry out internal research to gauge staff attitudes and opinions, audit communications systems and evaluate the effectiveness of marketing tools. We deliver findings and conclusions to our clients with actionable points backed up by comprehensive data analysis.

Some examples are given below


culture change through 50:50 Vision



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engineering firm 

Paul Hodgkinson, Chairman and Chief Executive of the Simons Group, has set a goal of increasing the representation of women in the organisation from 10 per cent to 50 per cent. RhysJones has been retained to help deliver this programme, known as 50:50 Vision, looking at work/life balance issues, training, development, communications and customer focus.

The work has so far included delivering workshops, seminars and other activities for women and men in the organisation. Three employee-teams were formed to look at the different issues of career development, customer focus and work/life balance. The teams conducted research, produced case studies for best practice and particpated in internal and external events. A year into the project and the proportion of new employees has risen from 24 to 46 per cent women.

Sandi Rhys Jones and Ian Shaw, Personnel Manager at Simons, presented a paper together at the emap conference on recuitment and retention in construction in March 2003. Click here for a full report.

Simons is a privately owned construction, property development and consultancy group with an annual turnover in excess of 250m. It is based in Lincoln, and has offices throughout the East Midlands, South East, North East and North West England.

The company has three principal areas of business, construction, property and consultancy services, including design/architecture, environmental, mechanical & electrical design and project management/cost consultancy.



corporate identity for engineering firm

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public procurement 

RhysJones consultants was asked by an internationally rennowned engineering plc to refine and develop its corporate identity.

RhysJones worked closely with our associate graphic designers, Tatham Pearce, to produce literature, guidelines and a corporate identity management system that safeguard the prestigious brand.



market research for public procurement website

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National Association of Lift Makers 

RhysJones consultants is conducting a study for a US web-based market information company to assess the UK market. Work has included:

  • examining the availability of information in the public tendering sector
  • obtaining research from clients of public authorities who provide information
  • assessing competitive systems in the UK and the level of interest amongst potential users of the system.

the National Association of Lift Makers

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reaching out to students 

Following adverse publicity in the trade and technical press, the National Association of Lift Makers appointed RhysJones to prepare a strategic response. 

The consultants carried out detailed market research which involved two comprehensive surveys, one with the NALM membership, the other with a selection of customers to the lift industry. The consultants set out to gauge the attitudes of members towards the association and its activities. The survey of customers identified perceived shortcomings of the lift industry. 

The results of the research were used to develop a marketing and communications strategy which included restructuring the association, establishing working parties with client groups, running training seminars and creating practice guide lines for the industry. RhysJones has been assisting in the implementation of the plan for a number of years. 


reaching out to students

Research and Strategy 
marketing audit for CIRIA 

The boom in housebuilding is turning the construction skills shortage into a crisis. The industry needs 73,000 new entrants annually, but the number of students taking up relevant university courses is falling year on year.

In an effort to redress this balance, RhysJones Consultants devised and managed a University Roadshow pilot project in October 2001 under the banner of its Change the face of construction project. Run in partnership with The Housing Forum and the House Builders Federation (HBF), the roadshows set out to encourage graduates from all disciplines to consider careers in the house building sector.

The roadshows took place at six universities based in and around London, at Reading, Westminster, South Bank, Greenwich and Kingston. The events attracted a total of 160 students, a considerably higher response than some individual housebuilders had experienced. The overwhelming majority said that they found the events useful and that as a result, they would consider a career in housebuilding.

The format was based on a panel of young role models from various disciplines and areas of the housing industry, introduced by a keynote speaker who had reached an authoritative position in the sector.

A discussion session enabled students to ask questions and information from the panellists and other industry representatives at the event. In addition to providing roal models, house builders also participated with display stands and documentation. Following the presentations, refreshments were provided.

The role models and speakers taking part also enjoyed the events and wish to repeat the exercise. There has already been interest to continue this project in 2002 and possibly to expand it to other regions of the UK.

In addition to developing the structure, RhysJones provided strategic planning and organisational support service and Sandi Rhys Jones chaired the events at each of the venues. This project was funded under the Construction Industry Training Board's Special Measures fund with contribution from the House Builders Federation.


marketing audit for CIRIA

Research and Strategy 
industry funded research group 

RhysJones Consultants has recently finished a marketing audit for construction industry research body CIRIA - the Construction Industry Research and Information Association. The marketing audit, carried out over eight months consisted of two parts, an internal review of systems, strategy and skills and an external audit of customer opinion and satisfaction.

The internal audit included a review of all marketing procedures, interviews with a representative sample of all staff - technical as well as marketing - and a review of marketing strategy.

The second part of the survey included a postal questionnaire and followed by telephone interviews with a selection of key individuals from across the organisations' wide customer base. Working closely with CIRIA, RhysJones has helped develop a prioritised action plan to maximise the marketing effort and supplement the organisation's existing marketing plan.

For any information on our research skills and experience please contact Sandi Rhys Jones.


industry funded research group

Research and Strategy 
public procurement information services 

Study for an industry-funded research group. Members jointly fund research into various aspects of technology. The research group was concerned to know how well its services were regarded, how much value was put upon them, how responsive the group was to changes in research requirements and other issues. The study was carried out by telephone interview and was part of major strategic study carried out by RhysJones into the effectiveness of the research group.


public procurement information services

Research and Strategy 
women and men in construction 

The public procurement market in Europe is estimated to be ECU 500 billion - some 15 per cent of GDP. In order to make this market work more efficiently and to encourage trade between one member state and another the European Commission is funding a number of pilot projects to lay the foundations of an electronic public procurement network. The network is designed to make the process not only more efficient, but also more reliable, less time consuming and ultimately more cost effective both for procurers and suppliers. 

This electronic information and trading network is called SIMAP - Système d’Informations pour les Marchés Publics. To test the feasibility of SIMAP the European Commission commissioned the Greek systems consultancy Intrasoft to develop the communications and computing infrastructure. RhysJones was commissioned to carry out a feasibility study into setting up a database of associated market information to assist suppliers developing public procurement business in member states. Associated information includes procurement legislation, standards, qualifications, competitiveness, partners and translation services. 

We found that many firms, especially SMEs, are reluctant to sell to the public sector because many see it as a difficult market. Abroad they face additional difficulties of cultural differences, language, and qualification. Particularly in a time of high unemployment they also face a tendency for authorities to award contracts to domestic firms. Market forces on their own seem unable to overcome the prejudices and the real problems. Our recommendation is for the EC, or another body accountable to the EC, to be responsible for initiating a plan to improve the quality and provision of associated information. 

The preferred strategy is for the EC to be responsible for the control, regulation and quality of the information service. But it should largely be left to contracting authorities, state and local governments, database hosts and other information providers to provide the information. 

Summary of the report on Associated information in the EU public procurement market


women and men in construction

 
Research and Strategy 
developing the local economy 

The complexity of the construction process means that when things go wrong there is plenty of scope when it comes to apportioning blame. The industry is infamous for its aggressive style of doing business and the consequences cost the country dear. A government sponsored review of the industry in Britain, published in July 1994 by Sir Michael Latham, calls for more trust, less fighting and a 30 per cent reduction in costs by the year 2000. 

Running through Sir Michael’s review, Constructing the team, is the theme of changing attitudes. Legislation and financial incentives will not in themselves encourage people to change the old macho and aggressive ways found in many companies and embrace the concepts of teamwork, co-operation and partnership. 

In highlighting the need to build a workforce of skilled and appropriately trained people, Sir Michael pointed out that the construction industry is currently ignoring 50 per cent of the population - women. As a consequence, one of the eleven Working Groups set up to implement the recommendations of the Latham Review focused on promoting "equal opportunities within the industry and to widen the recruitment base... ". 

Fewer women work in construction than any other industry except coal mining. Less than 10 per cent of the workforce is female, despite the fact that women account for 52 per cent of the population and that the number of working women continues to rise. By the year 2006, it is forecast that 75 per cent of women will be working and therefore making significant contributions to the economy. 

The key element in the Working Group’s examination is the investigation and preparation of a sound business case for encouraging more women into the industry. Chaired by Sandi Rhys Jones, founding partner of RhysJones, the Working Group published its report Tomorrow’s Team: men and women in construction* in September 1996. 

Sandi Rhys Jones believes that the benefits of improved career opportunities and working conditions are not limited simply to women, but will help the industry as a whole to enhance its image and improve performance. Demonstrating the competitive advantage of satisfying customer needs and the aspirations of the work force will demonstrate the value of culture change and create an industry to attract the best people to assure its role as the major player in Britain’s industry. Otherwise the growing competition from overseas will offer alternatives that are both cheaper and more acceptable. 

Research carried by RhysJones in 1992 demonstrated that entrenched attitudes, poor management and over dependence on the comfort blanket of contractual verbosity were major factors in the development of conflict in the industry. Some of the findings anticipated elements of Constructing the Team - for example, the early popularity of the New Engineering Contract and the British Property Federation System (which RhysJones worked on several years before). There was also considerable evidence to suggest that good communications both in style and content were crucial to the success of projects. 

RhysJones is offering a programme to help companies improve the way in which they interact during the contracts with others. It focuses on two interlinked areas: 

  • an independent project-by-project review and feedback system which aims to improve quality and efficiency of service whilst at the same time building long term relationships between contractors, their clients and others parties including construction professionals and sub-contractors on the one hand and improves client relationships on the other 
  • encouraging behavioural change by team building, improving understanding of moral and social issues, the management of conflict using mediation techniques, the creation of optimism, and the introduction of measurement and reward systems. 

* Tomorrow’s Team: men and women in construction. Available from Thomas Telford price 10. 


developing the local economy

Research and Strategy 
representative organisations’ strategy for Europe 

RhysJones worked with South London Training and Enterprise Council (SOLOTEC) to improve perceptions of manufacturing industry and help manufacturing in the region to become more competitive.

RhysJones devised a logo for the initiative, known as the South London Manufacturing Challenge, which brings together elements representing modern manufacturing, partnership and the geographic positioning of the initiative. The logo has been successfully applied to stationery, brochures and leaflets, stickers and t-shirts for local school children.

Regular newsletters and case studies keep the local manufacturing community informed of subsidised training and advice available, and also feedback from companies who have benefited from training packages provided by the Manufacturing Challenge.

As well as offering training and advice, seminars and other networking opportunities have been developed including a recent seminar on the single currency, held at Charlton Athletic’s newly refurbished conference centre.

One of the main objectives of the initiative is to encourage more young people from South London to consider Manufacturing as a viable career option. RhysJones has worked with local education provider Greenwich University to promote a Children’s University attended by over 500 local school children. The week-long programme gave children and their teachers, hands on experience of manufacturing, including making a buggy, a kite and furniture and also learning about printing and newspaper production.


representative organisations’ strategy for Europe

Research and Strategy 
Guidelines 

Organisation of a major seminar, ‘Increasing your influence in Europe’, attended by 270 representatives of trade and industry associations and chambers of commerce at the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, London. Contributed paper and prepared report.

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