VolkerFitzpatrick improves productivity and adds value by planning programmes with Powerproject
The UK-based engineering and construction company is a long-term Powerproject customer. VolkerFitzpatrick’s planning team finds Powerproject significantly easier to operate than other planning and project management software, centralising data for complex building and civil engineering programmes.
Key advantages to using Powerproject:
- Greater operational efficiency across the company
- Stronger communication between internal teams and external subcontractors
- Engineers can be trained to use the software in half a day; a process that took 6-8 weeks with previous solutions
- Automatic BI reporting saves planners one admin day per month
- Clients are confident that VolkerFitzpatrick can deliver results – even on complex projects
Driving project excellence across multiple industries
Part of VolkerWessels UK, VolkerFitzpatrick delivers engineering and construction projects across a diverse range of industries including air travel, education, energy and rail infrastructure.
For over a decade, VolkerFitzpatrick has been driving success using Powerproject by Elecosoft. Its use of Powerproject has grown from useful operational software to an essential programme planning, execution, resourcing and analysis solution.
Technical detail, accessibly delivered
VolkerFitzpatrick initially invested in Powerproject to improve project communications, centralising previously dispersed data to support consistent planning and execution.
The company needed project management software that would enable its team of 25 planners to map programmes in granular detail, but which was also accessible to non-technical staff and could be shared with external agents.
“Powerproject is very intuitive,” explains Mark Williamson, Head of Planning (Infrastructure) at VolkerFitzpatrick. “It has a lot of depth, but you don’t need to be technical to use it.” Mark Williamson, Head of Planning (Infrastructure), VolkerFitzpatrick
The company has three divisions – Infrastructure, Civils and Building – with 850 employees plus additional subcontractors. All VolkerFitzpatrick’s Building programmes are run through Powerproject, along with any Infrastructure programme with a free choice of project management software.
Even within relationships where clients dictate a different solution, VolkerFitzpatrick’s planning team uses Powerproject for short-term programmes, as they find it engages site teams quickly and easily.
Engineers can learn Powerproject in just half a day
One reason Powerproject effectively engages project stakeholders is the software’s intuitive setup. For example, VolkerFitzpatrick’s planning team can code activities in minutes. They then use this coding to extract and share relevant information with engineers and subcontractors, ensuring everyone follows the same programme.
At the same time, the full scope of work can be shared with planners, project managers and clients.
“Powerproject gives us a bird’s eye view for clients, a detailed view for planners and focused information for subcontractors. Everyone involved can see the information they need without us having to walk them through the entire plan.”
Mark estimates that it takes just half a day to train project teams to use Powerproject to a sufficient standard, which means engineers and subcontractors can be up and running on the software very quickly. This is much quicker and less demanding than the previous solution, which took 6-8 weeks of half-day training sessions to get newcomers up to full speed.
“Even with complex jobs, engineers have used Powerproject successfully after half a day’s training. So we can get people up and running with the software very quickly.”
In fact, Mark says he can ‘see a weight lifted from people’s shoulders’ when they discover they can learn to use Powerproject in a matter of hours – and that it will deliver all the information they need.
BIM and BI software extract greater value
VolkerFitzpatrick has expanded its use of Powerproject over time to drive further value from its investment. In 2020, the company deployed Powerproject BIM to enhance its digital offering to clients.
“Powerproject BIM is a very practical tool that expands our communication abilities and gives clients confidence in what we’re trying to achieve.”
BIM software brings project timelines and information flows to life for everyone involved in VolkerFitzpatrick’s most complex projects. It also enables project managers to isolate complicated or atypical processes that require further planning.
VolkerFitzpatrick has also introduced Powerproject Vision to give senior management a real-time view of live projects.
Up-to-date analytics and reporting had previously been a challenge for the company, as it was using excel spreadsheets to provide feedback to senior management. As a result, key personnel like Mark could spend up to one day per month cutting and pasting information from multiple sources and creating a consistent format.
Powerproject Vision centralises VolkerFitzpatrick’s live project data and lets planners consolidate the latest information into easily digestible business intelligence (BI) reports in a couple of clicks.
Mark still spends around one day per month on reporting, but now he uses this time more valuably. For example, he monitors completion date movements to challenge timelines or seek an extension. By keeping a close eye on contractual elements, his site teams can focus on the work in front of them.
“Instead of spending one day a month copying and pasting information to an excel sheet, I spent that time interrogating programmes and solving problems.”
Using Powerproject to drive strategic planning
With strong analytical foundations in place, VolkerFitzpatrick’s next major objective is to use Powerproject Vision to understand resourcing holistically across the group. Currently, sites work independently to resolve their resourcing issues, so there isn’t a comprehensive understanding of which subcontractors are used, how often and on which jobs.
The company may also use material tracking capabilities to support clients developing sustainable construction programmes. For example, Powerproject can collect and utilise data such as how many projects are using recycled aggregate of GPS-integrated concrete.
“Whenever we have the ability to choose the project management software, we choose Powerproject.”
With clear plans for progression, VolkerFitzpatrick is firmly embedding its future in Powerproject. As Mark concludes, “there are plenty of options out there. But whenever we have the ability to choose project management software, we choose Powerproject.”
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