Digitalization helps ensuring quality and customer focus during strong growth
Growing is one thing. Ensuring that it doesn’t compromise quality and customer focus required new construction process management and digitalization at Danish contractor CJ A/S.
“Today we can follow all our projects from offer to delivery – all processes, activities and documents have been standardized so that all employees work in a standard way. “Hans Jørgen Ebbesen, Managing Director, CJ A/S
CJ has done what many contractors dream of: Achieving success in difficult times.
Focus on the critical tasks in each project
Planning, coordination and understanding a customer’s needs is essential to avoid that the many interactions between the different roles involved in a construction project lead to costly errors. Any budget overruns usually fall back on construction companies – or they lead to costly and time-consuming arbitration.
All of these problems were already present at CJ. Then growth presented a new type of challenge: New employees introduced their own ways of working based on their previous experiences.
The result was a dilution of the ‘CJ way of working’, which had created the initial success.
CJ’s wanted a solution that could cover the entire business and ensure that everyone worked in accordance with best practice in all functons.
Processes include everyone’s experiences
Since the starting point for CJ has been the desire to optimize the end-to-end processes with the customer in focus, the digitalization process started with top management.
The ambition has been to map and digitalize all core processes: Offer, Design, Planning and Execution.
The bar was therefore set high when Refine Consulting took on the challenge.
The first step
With their deep industry experience, Refine Consulting held a number of workshops at CJ. The aim was to identify the critical processes and shine a light on any shortcomings of the existing ways of working.
With support from top management, the employees themselves have realized the goal. The result is simpler and standardized day-to-day operations.
All processes, work instructions and documentation have been reviewed and validated by selected employees. Continuous improvement events have subsequently given everyone involved the opportunity to bring their experience to the table.
Based on this basic process mapping and development, CJ started the pilot project in Gluu. This is the tool that bring the construction management process into to the real world. Gluu enabled the team to get started quickly and learn from experience through trial and error, as it does not require IT development.
“ The improvement ideas that constantly flow from our employees are all reported digitally, picked up by process owners, and some incorporated into our management system. “Hans Jørgen Ebbesen, Managing Director, CJ A/S
Based on this agile approach, they have been refined to the level that is used in production today.
CJ now has full control over all construction management processes. The company is also able to continuously optimize their processes through employee feedback.
Proper case management ensures that all employees are aware of where in the construction management process they are and what is expected by the customer.
“In Gluu, we can – throughout the process – see whether activities have been done and where we work is not moving. We can also see who is responsible for specific activities. This way we can help each other to get things done in the right order and in a timely manner.”Hans Jørgen Ebbesen
With digital workflows in Gluu, new employee’s experiences can be embedded into existing processes, ensuring that CJ always has the industry best practice.
Together with Refine Consulting and Gluu, CJ has ensured that growth continues
Based on a common starting point in standard processes, CJ can now grow bigger and more profitable without losing the portfolio overview – or the customers. Effective construction process management ensures that focus is on the customer’s needs and that budget overruns are prevented.
The experience from its construction sites means that CJ will eventually include sales work, health and safety, equipment management and other areas in Gluu.
The goal for 2020 is to get Gluu into all corners of CJ’s production.
CJ has only been able to apply the new production management process to new projects, since existing projects already subject to existing contract and management.
So far, the bidding process has undergone more improvement cycles than the execution process has. Thus, the full picture of the improvements in production will only be clear at a later stage.
The value has been highest in large projects where tasks change hands several times. This is where they used to see most errors and delays.
The benefits for the large projects are clear in more areas:
- From a customer perspective, CJ can now guide the customer into a collaborative project mindset from day one. One reason is that the customer’s activities – and expectations – become very clear. All customer touchpoints are clear. CJ can say exactly what is going to happen and what actions, as well as tools, that will support the daily work between them and the customers.
- There is an optimization potential just in getting an overview of the process. The overview helps to avoid unnecessary shifts between employees internally, which must at the same time be able to replace each other on projects when circumstances require it.
- Construction process management and execution of tasks via Gluu provide another optimization potential: no one loses track, and all relevant and critical documentation follows the whole process. Anyone can, in the course of the project, tell the customer exactly what the status is and what is going to happen going forward.
In the smaller projects, it has primarily been a better overview and more efficient construction management, simpler IT and easier documentation that has provided value to projects. Finally, in close interaction with Refine Consulting, a basic improvement culture is developed. Here, all the company’s employees contribute to improvement proposals directly in Gluu, which will help improve the company’s processes going forward.