South East conference masterclass: Developing a commercial approach
This was a jam-packed session where David Montagu from L&Q, Sharron Webster from Trowers and Hamlins and Matt Vosper, Secure Parking and Storage covered a range of diverse models which could be applied to develop a commercial approach.
Sharon kicked off the session talking about how others are using different models to deliver commercial savings. She used examples from Orbit Group, who have a 'service matters' consultancy to deliver “profit for a purpose” back into their organisation. They achieve this by selling specialist advice on services such as audit, lean and procurement.
She then spoke about Fortis Group who have setup a cost sharing group with Rooftop and have seen their business grow between £15-£18 million in 18 months. She also shared case studies about Bernicia and Derwent Living, who have made significant savings via corporate acquisition.
Matt offered a specific example of how income can be maximised by rethinking the way in which garages are used. Using examples from Paradigm, A2Dominion and Alliance Homes he identified ways in which garages can be used as complete storage units or setup as commercial spaces for small business.
Finally David concluded by talking about the commercial approach taken at L&Q. David spoke about the way in which L&Q had modelled for risk and how they had always ensured that they only borrowed what was required in order to fund their development programme. He spoke about the skills required in order to deliver a commercial approach and how L&Q often used pilots to test new ideas which allowed them to remain agile.
The housing sector will be required to become increasingly commercial. In order to achieve effective commerciality innovative approaches, relevant skills, managing risks and retaining agility will be vital.