Business need

Ringway Island Roads Limited approached Penmark to undertake a full analysis of their forward planning and programming operation with the aim of utilising LEAN methodology to identify key factors affecting timeliness, cost and quality of operational delivery, removal of waste and increasing value-add activity. Specific focus was required on the Core-Sampling operation, with the aim to improve efficiency and remove bottlenecks of the process. In addition Penmark were requested to create and embed a robust tracking regime of the end to end carriageway surfacing operations, providing real real-time visibility of progress and trending data, to instigate root cause analysis and problem solving through improved communication flow across the surfacing operation.


Penmark’s approach

The LEAN improvement method utilised was PDCA, with various LEAN tools and techniques used to analyse and challenge the current state.

All end-to-end service delivery processes from planning through to sign off were analysed and data, including lead times, planning capability and outputs were collected from the current state process to produce an overall process map as well as to identify the various facets and stages of stakeholder ownership through the whole supply chain. At this stage a mini project team was established.

A stakeholder map was created to identify the different stakeholders involved at each stage of the surfacing operation. These were sorted into a RACI matrix to establish what activities, decision making authorities and level of communication should be required.

A Kaizen event was undertaken, in which the current processes were mapped and challenged, with value and non-value adding activities identified, with opportunities for all identified wastes and specifically process bottle necks collated. Examples of this included application of SMED principles across the extensive paperwork requirements, such as preparation of coring packs collated by teams prior to attending the job site.

The planning team undertook a LEAN Intervention event, to contextualise the approach to improvement adopted, with specific focus on workflow and the elimination of waste therein.

In parallel to the planning and programming element of the review, a value stream map was compiled. This allowed greater focus on the various interfaces and interdependencies throughout the supply chain. Through a Pareto (80:20) analysis of the wastes identified, an area for focus was identified as the time taken for the test information collected to pass through laboratory analysis and generate the required treatment.

LEAN tools such as 5 whys and Ishikawa (Fishbone) Analysis were utilised to identify key challenges. The theory of constraint was employed to identify and challenge bottle necks and critical dependencies within the process. Relevant stakeholders in attendance at this meeting, in line with the RACI matrix were empowered to take ownership of decisions.

Historical and Real-time data was compiled in order to produce a dashboard, of which was analysed by the team, with iterative enhancements based on feedback from challenge sessions. For the first time, this captured the holistic status of all works at each stage through the programme for review.

Opportunities implemented

The current state as mapped when initially creating the holistic tracker tool identified a deficit of 68 MLs compared to the programme. Of these 68, 32 (47%) were logged as stuck in the laboratory for testing, 23 (24%) were bottlenecked at walk talking build stage and the remaining 13 (19%) had not been programmed at all. Specifically to the coring operation, output was an average of 22 coring tests per week. The value stream map identified the cycle time of the process from coring through to lab test taking 45 days.

Through analysis of the route mapping of the coring team, a lot of transportation waste was identified by inefficient planning of coring locations. It was not uncommon to programme coring samples on separate sides of the island, rather than programming them in close geographical proximity. By mapping more efficient routes, there was an opportunity to reduce the observed average radius between job sites of 25 miles down to 10 miles (60% reduction) with associated fuel savings approximated at £125 per month. This more efficient time planning has also been reinvested to increase output from 22 to 36 samples (64% increase) per week. This exercise also offset a previously discussed option to bring in additional subcontractor support, which would have increased costs by 25%.

A bottleneck identified within the process was the laboratory testing of core samples. The time required for a sample to be collected, analysed and results provided by the laboratory was 28 days of the total 45 (62%). This was broken down as 7 days to collect the sample and 21 days to process and return a result.

By doubling the frequency of the collections in addition to identifying and reinstating the contractual SLA of 10 days for the laboratory to process samples, a future state of 13.5 days was identified and implemented. This demonstrated a 48% reduction of processing time through the laboratory (32% of total process). This was benchmarked against another supplier who would have charged an additional £48830 over the remainder of the programme to attain this same SLA, an option considered prior to this Lean review.

To consolidate these improvements, the tracker tool was created, utilising visual management concepts. A traffic light system in addition to time-bound decision gateways were embedded into the tracker tool as a driver to assist with timely decision making. A bi-weekly operations meeting was also established. This was to both review the current state of the operation in addition to stimulating communication across the supply chain.


The outcome

Key highlights of the operational improvements measured by Penmark were:

– Backlog of 68 MLs were cleared in addition to progressing 184MLs ahead of original programme in just eleven weeks.

– 50% reduction in processing time through the laboratory has now been embedded, with SLA’s now formally re-established with the supply chain partner.

– £125 per calendar month saved by implementing route mapping for coring sample programming

– Collaborative communication between all stakeholders has increased dramatically

– Draft job packs are now consistently issued to the surfacing delivery team 90 days ahead of planned start date

– Tracker has now been embedded which provides real time updates to all stakeholders identified within the Stakeholder map and RACI matrix, ensuring more efficient flow of communication.

– Reporting suite, as an output from the tracker has now been agreed and established, allowing consistent and targeted updates alongside trending analysis to facilitate FMEA, problem solving and PDCA analysis and informed decision making.

Client Testimonials

Don’t take our word for it – here’s what our clients say:

Luke Harris

Principal Materials Engineer – Jean Lefebvre (UK) Limited (Sub-Contractor)

“Before Penmark introduced measures to track delivery of Walk Talk Build’s and the tri-party agreed surfacing treatments, prioritisation of sites appeared somewhat ad-hoc. The processes implemented by Penmark have enabled the team to focus their attention on schemes based on chronology of delivery according to programme of works.”

Denise Scott

Programming Manager, Ringway Island Roads Limited.

“Since the introduction of Penmark’s business improvement plan, I have noticed positive developments on a weekly basis, with clear direction given to all team members and a clear message as to what was the required outcome is. Communication has vastly improved and issues are discussed more openly, which in turn allows them to be dealt with more effectively.

Creating the carriageway resurfacing programme has been simpler and we have submitted a programme for March, April, May and June 2017, which although not completely robust, is by far the most accurate programme that we have submitted to date.”