Image: Dreamstime / Nils Ackermann
Vinci Construction UK and Skanska have teamed up with BRE, nPlan and Assentian to develop a new digital planning and supply chain management toolbox that they claim can deliver 25% cost and time savings.
The two-year project funded by UK Research and Innovation started in March 2018 and seeks to produce a proof of concept version of a toolkit, called PLASMA, that will improve efficiency in the construction process for planning and supply chain management. Built on a blockchain platform, it aims improve construction productivity via better project planning, improved supply chain collaboration, and analysis of supply chain and IoT (internet of things) data.
The tool enables planners to create and quantitatively rehearse project delivery scenarios such as sequences, critical path and logistics. This reduces risk by taking account of context-specific restrictions and supply chain ‘pinch-points’, for example where increased capacity or automation could improve overall productivity.
PLASMA also enables supply chain businesses to collect, share and store ‘tamper-resistant’ data without the need for central control and management. The tool will allow tracking of elements such as task completion via existing IoT-based data capabilities and enables change management and incremental payments to be made via smart contracts.
Meanwhile, the tool will also enable the development of quantified KPIs that are specific to construction supply chains, identifying best practice and the range of performance across the sector. KPIs can be linked to and benchmark a range of established performance improvement approaches, as well as innovations such as robotics and automation.
A spokesman for Vinci said: “It is complex stuff and the objective is to establish ‘proof of concept’ and then move towards developing a tool that delivers the 25% savings at the end of it. Key to all of this is Innovation and the whole project is a confirmation of Vinci’s desire to improve construction processes and its ambition to drive the industry forward.”
Sam Stacey, director of the Transforming Construction Challenge UKRI, said: “Projects such as PLASMA are funded by the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund and play a key role in advancing the transformation across the sector. It will help the construction industry work directly with talented innovators to explore new ways of working in construction that will speed up assembly, save money, and improve the quality of building projects.”