Skanska, established in 1887, is one of the world’s leading project development and construction groups. The UK operation is one of the country’s top contractors, employing over 5200 people and with revenues well over £1billion annually.
Within its diverse business, Skanska delivers infrastructure services which span civils and public realm, rail, street lighting and highways maintenance. It has a long track record of building, maintaining and operating highways, and today delivers round-the-clock maintenance for roads, tunnels, and bridges, plus a comprehensive range of exterior and street lighting services, to county councils and the Highways Agency, amongst others. Graham Roebuck, chief planner within Skanska’s infrastructure services division in the UK, talks about how he and his team use Asta Powerproject Enterprise.
The business of highways maintenance and street lighting management requires its planners to keep a very tight handle on all the different jobs that may be running simultaneously – but it also involves a high degree of repetitive work. To support this, Graham’s team utilises the multiuser and multi-project functionality of Asta Powerproject Enterprise.
“ At any time we might have anywhere between 80 and 200 individual projects underway, starting and ending at different times. Projects can range from resurfacing a road to replacement of a bridge or major road improvement schemes. We use Asta to manage the whole life-cycle of all these different projects.”
Planning high volume activity
Graham explains: “Highways maintenance involves planning, processing and managing a high volume of work. At any time we might have anywhere between 80 and 200 individual projects underway, starting and ending at different times. Projects can range from resurfacing a road to replacement of a bridge or major road improvement schemes.
We use Asta to manage the whole life-cycle of all these different projects.” Because many of the projects have common elements, Skanska has developed a template approach. “All the jobs have some degree of standardisation so, using Asta Powerproject Enterprise, we have created a series of templates and then adapt them to individual jobs. We needed the Enterprise version because, unlike a typical single project, we may have 200 different critical paths which don’t interact at all, yet we need to monitor and track resources and cash-fl ow within the whole contract.”
He continues: “On each type of job we’ll have an Asta template for work on structures, one for work on resurfacing, and so on, each one preloaded with the typical cost-loaded resources. We can then do things like track our design, estimating and project management resources across schemes, and track each one against its budget. As we move through our various predefi ned gateways (such as design, pricing, governance and mobilisation) we can see how things are changing. We can keep track of an enormous number of tasks overall – if there are 200 jobs underway, each one might have up to 100 separate tasks.”
“We can keep track of an enormous number of tasks overall – if there are 200 jobs underway, each one might have up to 100 separate tasks.”
Maintaining a clear view
When describing how the software supports their ability to communicate and report, Graham explains: “We collect the information from Asta, and then manage it visually in our project management and design meetings. In the project office we often map out the overall programme on the wall, using visual management techniques. When we hold weekly meetings to discuss progress, the attendees know exactly what is going on in their own programme – but only if they’ve taken the responsibility on board, and ensured that they have updated it in the software.”
Bespoke solutions to specific challenges
Asta has created bespoke software to support various street lighting and highways maintenance contracts. “Street lighting presents different challenges. Before instigating Asta Powerproject Enterprise we used many different spreadsheets to juggle all the information we needed. The numbers of tasks involved can be huge, for example, we might have to replace 40,000 street lights on a single project – and each one involves 7 or 8 tasks, so that could be more than 300,000 tasks.”
““We were really happy with the service we got from Asta. They took the time to understand our business and helped us to develop the macros we needed. I can rely
on Asta to make something bespoke and know they won’t ever leave you in the lurch or charge through the nose for bug-fixing.”
Graham explains how Asta Powerproject is used to better manage resourcing and reporting: “We use the software to manage our design and project management resources. Most schemes within a highway maintenance contract needs design. Asta Business Intelligence has helped us see the peaks and troughs of design needs, and know where we can redeploy resources across the contracts. Business Intelligence also generates two other key reports; one, a traffic-light report so that we can see our key gateways status; and the other one a report to track expenditure.”
Is Asta Powerproject something that Graham values? His answer is unequivocal: “Asta is my preference for project and programme management. I have been using it for over 15 years, and I fi nd it easier to use than alternatives. Also, if I want to cascade a bit of software down to site managers I will always recommend Asta, because the learning
From modest beginnings in a small fishing village in southern Sweden more than 125 years ago, Skanska is now one of the world’s leading project development and construction companies, employing about 57,000 employees.
Skanska employs more than 5,000 people in the UK and is one of the country’s leading contractors, with expertise in design, construction, operations and maintenance.