Construction productivity boost delivering wins for Scottish Water

Scottish Water’s successful approach to construction productivity and efficiency was recognised this week when the team won the Supply Chain Excellence category in the 2019 Utility Week Awards.

Construction productivity boost delivering wins for Scottish Water

The publicly-owned water and waste water organisation oversees more than 200 sites in a month across the country, working closely with alliance and delivery partners as well as its wider supply chain, to deliver its capital investment and network maintenance programmes.

Productivity has been transformed to deliver projects quicker and more cost-effectively following the introduction of a performance approach which has seen productivity levels hit 60% in the past three years – with ambitions to reach an industry-leading 70% by March 2021.

A team of specialist performance coaches worked with the supply chain and partners to see where improvements could be made.

The team carried out more than 350 site studies, and launched a mobile app, to understand issues which could prevent work taking place in the most effective way.

Working in collaboration with their supply chain partners, they were then able to implement the necessary changes to how work was planned, sequenced and delivered to avoid issues and productivity increased.

As well as identifying issues, the studies allowed the team to identify best practice and this was shared across all delivery partners to encourage more consistent performance. This focuses on helping suppliers and partners plan, organise and build with productivity in mind as well as introducing innovations designed to deliver continuous improvement in construction.

Mandy Mair, Scottish Water’s performance team leader, said: “We want our construction sites to consistently display industry-leading levels of productivity by March 2021.

“To achieve that ambition Scottish Water must inspire change throughout its vast supply chain, working across various organisations with their own culture, approach and personalities to hook and influence some 4,500 employees.

“The task is made more difficult considering Scottish Water serves around five million customers and has 200 live construction sites per month, spread over a challenging geography to deliver £600m-£700m of capital investment annually.”

She added: “We are delighted that, over the three years of our initiative so far, there has been clear evidence of significant benefits to the business. Construction sites are undertaking an extra five hours of fully productive work per week for no extra effort or cost and projects are being delivered more quickly, minimising disruption to customers.

“As a result of the improvements we’ve made, Scottish Water can now deliver an eight-week construction project in seven weeks as well as there being clear financial efficiencies in this approach.”

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