Customer profile: Based in Whitburn, Scotland, Ground Developments Ltd. (GDL) works on ground engineering projects across the UK. Ground engineering is a set of techniques to improve the soil under construction projects (residential or civil) through soil modification and stabilization, deep soil mixing or through the use of vibro stone columns. GDL is regularly approached by contractors and designers to review and propose complete geotechnical engineering solutions for difficult development sites.
Business challenge: Constantly improve planning of resources and business efficiency based on real-time productivity data.
- Trimble WorksOS Software
- Trimble Earthworks Grade Control Platform
- Trimble GCS900 Grade Control System
- Trimble WorksManager Software
- Trimble Business Center
- Trimble Siteworks Positioning System
- Improved efficiency
- Seamless business planning
- Sustainability gains
The ability to manage data is becoming the prerequisite for success in construction. UK ground improvement contractor GDL has become extraordinarily apt at acquiring and combining data from multiple sources to use as a basis for business decisions. As one of the early users of WorksOS job site monitoring software, GDL had already made strong progress in putting data at the center of project planning. With the WorksOS Activity workflow, they can now fine tune their entire business operation on the basis of combined data from multiple job sites for highly effective business planning.
Internalizing the learnings from all the various projects is one of the key objectives behind the use of WorksOS. Armed with detailed insights, the commercial team of GDL meets every twentieth day of each month to do progress evaluations against the plans that were drawn up for the previous month. “More importantly, the software helps us define our strategy for the days ahead,” says Wayne Barr, Projects Director for GDL. “The Activity functionality combines the data from our operations, like average volumes of dirt we planned to move, the volumes we did move on the project and which machinery we assigned to which jobs and more general info such as dates and the exact location of the job site, because that also impacts the performance. And we include the long-term weather forecast, because as an example: projects in the west of Scotland on average have more downtime due to heavier rainfall than in the east, and production rates in winter are lower than in summer due to the days being shorter. All such information is taken into consideration and allows us to accurately predict when resources will be finished on a certain project. Before having all this data we had to make an educated guess based on past experience.”
Through the use of the WorksOS Activity workflow, GDL has an on-the-fly overview of the work that still needs to be done and where teams are behind or ahead of schedule on projects. By combining project data such as projected finish days, GDL can allocate resources much more accurately and can ‘stitch’ projects together. Machinery that is deployed on project A can be moved to project B without it having to make a trip back to the GDL yard. In certain cases the commercial team of GDL can then work with the next customer well in advance on bringing their project forward. Or alternatively, they could decide to slow a project down that is ahead of planning, by moving one of two squads to another project. One squad can then finish the job just in time for it to be able to move directly on to their next project.
On a project level, site managers use WorksOS to monitor their own sites, based on live up-to-date information from teams and machines. This translates into a more detailed planning and work schedule and leads to improved efficiency. “The level of detailed insights we have of the job at hand, helps us make much better thought-through decisions in terms of assigning machinery and planning cut-and-fill. At first sight, a job site can actually look less organized, but the movements on site are actually much better orchestrated. There is a much more natural flow of operations,” says Wayne Barr.
“Over summer, WorksOS has helped us boost productivity across the board by five percent,” Barr continues. “We were able to get our biggest numbers done without adding extra resources. The system lets us make better-informed decisions on where to move materials and where to cut and fill exactly. The result: zero surprises and almost zero waste. In a time of rising prices of fuels and materials, this has become an extra important advantage.”
Thanks to haul loads getting planned better, GDL has seen improvements in fuel efficiency as machine operators are better tasked and machines are kept busy with less idling time. “For site managers, the WorksOS dashboard has become the most accessed platform,” Barr comments. “The tools really empower the teams; they work in a more organized manner, keeping track of their performance. As a whole, everyone from management to site management and operators, feels much more part of the process due to the visual aspect of the WorksOS solution. And if we all can make even the most marginal gains on our projects thanks to WorksOS, this adds up to a massive competitive advantage.”