Tank farms, gas drilling rigs, side beam shackles and gusseted joints do not much sound like the stuff of small business, but in point of fact there is little in the world of industry to which SMEs do not contribute in some form or another. This is because even the biggest and most complex operations depend upon components which arrive from myriad sources and come together into a sophisticated whole.
Take machinery that is used in large-scale construction. Big mechanical diggers, hydraulic equipment, heavy mining tools to name just a few. In fact all of them depend upon smaller articles and items which come together to watch the more impressive whole function.
Construction as a Proportion of US GDP
The numbers portal Statista tells us that last year construction counted for over $1,231 billion of inward investment into the US economy, that is an overall 4.3% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Deloitte is even more hopeful for the future of the business in the US.
What is often forgotten is that all of this still depends heavily upon the supply by small business of vital parts and accessories. Whether it is foundations for excavations in Canada or rig mats for sale in Alberta, that small but vital contributory factor is very frequently overlooked. Any success boasted by the economy is down in no small part to the contribution and hard work of the small private sector. It is that symbiotic relationship between what are essentially two entirely different and only superficially related segments of the economy that makes the United States so special.
SMEs and Health & Safety Provision
Another role for the small but essential players of the light business sector is in the provision of specialist services. Quite often this may involve work in the area of employee training. Of all the industries construction is very much the one which faces the biggest health and safety issues and unless it has the human resources to commit the manpower required for this purpose the logic of the situation is to call in a smaller provider whose specialty it is to take care of the larger company’s legal and best practice needs. The SME becomes a contractor and operates under the direction and discipline of the client.
There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to this arrangement on the part of the contractor. On the plus side it can provide the small business with a whole lot of security. One massive, dependable client who has the firepower to single-handedly keep your business afloat for the duration of the contract is a big saving grace to a company which has to seek out its own business opportunities. On the other side of the coin it is this dependability which can be so dispiriting for the small provider, who finds himself or herself squeezed, providing services at below the market rate for an ever more demanding client. Think dairy farmers and their relations with the unsympathetic big supermarkets as a clue to where this can take you.