WHAT ARE THE
What are the critical issues facing some of the nation's major in-dustries? TEMPO has asked louche Ross pro-fessionals in each of seven fields to discuss his industry's response to its problems and the prospects of reaching a solution. Their com-mon concerns appear to be inflation, capital shortage, and pro-ductivity.
Industries selected are banking, construc-tion, energy resources, government, health care, retailing, and sav-ings and loan.
by DENNIS BERSCH National Services Director
To a construction man it sometimes seems that even a casual observer could recite a litany of his problems. A weak national economy combined with skyrocketing construction costs has resulted in a lack of work, increased competition, and lower profit margins. New records have been set in the industry for the rate of business failures, defaults on bonded jobs, and chargeoffs by banks on con-struction loans. Outside influences, particularly in the form of environ-mental impact studies, have cur-tailed job progress to an extent never before experienced by the industry.
Delays of course cost money, espe-cially at a time when the price of labor and materials is rising. Shortages have also raised the prices on con-struction materials more rapidly than has inflation.
But some people within the in-dustry are looking beyond these highly visible problems. A number of respected industry spokesmen feel that the one overriding problem of the industry is its failure to unite its members in an effective communi-cations effort.
The industry is fragmented in many ways, not only between general and trade contractors, but also among those within the same metropolitan area. Ironically, the characteristic of contractors that makes the industry one of the last bastions of entre-preneurship is the underlying cause of such fragmentation. This is their unwillingness to give up their sov-ereignty. As a result, contractors as a group do not speak with a voice any-where near as powerful as should be expected from an industry larger than either automobiles or steel.