Digital platform provider MiProject Solutions believes it has the key to the pressing data challenge facing the UK construction industry. Time and again, reporting mechanisms are shown to be a significant contributing factor to the success of contractors – from identifying risks, to being appointed to frameworks and demonstrating clear KPI performance. MiProject Solutions has created savings for major contractor Willmott Dixon of more than £1.1m per year and shares how this has been achieved while making data a key part of its digital transformation
In the words of David Mosey, author of Constructing the Gold Standard, contractors must share information that they would usually “keep to themselves” in order to create meaningful change in the sector. Combined with recommendations from the Construction Playbook, the industry needs to see an urgent cultural shift to embrace transparent data capture, digital transformation, and greater collaboration between delivery partners.
MiProject Solutions has adapted its suite of digital platforms to meet the evolving requirements of a wide range of major contractors and framework providers. However, its MiPerformance product has stood the test of time for Willmott Dixon, which was its first partnership seven years ago. The flexibility of its approach is paramount to its success.
Martin Ward, director of digital solutions at MiProject Solutions, said: “There is a real impatience brewing among contractors and framework providers regarding inadequate data, and requirements to not only promise but to provide evidence of strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials, robust health and safety practices and strong corporate governance.
“There is no sign of this slowing down, and our data-hungry industry will only continue to multiply to meet the UK’s sustainability targets.
“Digital transformation is required to turn a new leaf in the sector, which has long held a reputation for being notoriously slow to digitally innovate. We see our job as streamlining data processes to make them as pain-free and efficient as possible, to allow contractors to do what they do best. Our solutions navigate KPIs to revolutionise the way we see data in the sector.”
Willmott Dixon’s initial investment in the MiPerformance platform followed its appointment to a SCAPE framework, as it identified the need to accurately calculate local spend and social value. Ahead of the curve for its time, this triggered several other contractors on the framework to see its benefits, choosing to adopt the platform too.
SCAPE was then able to view transparent data and KPI performance across its delivery partners in one window and assess progress across a breadth of projects – something they had not seen before.
Scott Corey, strategic accounts and services director at Willmott Dixon, said: “When done well, data input, analysis and forecasting can deliver hugely positive outcomes. It can spot time and cost efficiencies in advance, as well as strengthen processes and policies to benefit a wide range of stakeholders.
“On the other side of the coin, poor data processes can place extreme pressures on staff, pose security risks and create backlogs that are detrimental to contract performance and business improvement.
“Efficient digital data processes are an absolute necessity for a modern contractor. In our case, MiPerformance has cut time spent on admin by 50 per cent, as it calculates social value in real time and streamlines manual processes.
“The platform also reduces the opportunity for human error by generating alarms and alerts to help gear us towards our deadlines, and even suggests improvement actions.”
Willmott Dixon praised the benefits of good digital data management and its wide-ranging effects – slashing time spent on preparing bids or award submissions, demonstrating value to potential clients and supporting eligibility for accreditations.
Scott said: “We need the digital assistance of this platform to identify risks, keep teams on track and accountable, and encourage constructive conversations at all levels. This is what drives performance and allows us to reach internal and external KPIs at Willmott Dixon.
“We can’t afford to bypass the digital tools at our disposal – it is an essential step in the industry’s journey to meet the high bar set for us by governing bodies.
“I understand that many contractors might be initially reticent to share data with their partners, either out of fear of exposing vulnerabilities or ‘giving too much away’. However, what I have found is that the tool brings a greater sense of collaboration as we work together to reach shared goals.
“The system is embedded into our culture, with all new employees inducted straight onto it. We are now seeing the system track more than 20 data collection points per project across all our sites and operations.”
Willmott Dixon is also using the platform to track its internal KPIs. It has been configured to pull a wide range of data from several of its key internal information systems, including the customer relationship management (CRM), CSCS system and other MiProject Solutions’ products to serve as the central hub of all knowledge.
Framework providers are increasingly aware that a unified approach to digital data processing creates greater transparency and certainty of delivery, helping to build trust and cultivate strong working relationships. In Willmott Dixon’s case, data is not a taboo subject, and a transparent approach to data processing is a strong force for change.
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