Industry Information

How to move from one-off wins to sustained efficiency gains

July 20, 2023

Successful innovations are always to be celebrated. Anything that allows rail infrastructure schemes to be completed faster and cheaper without compromising quality has to be welcomed.

But while there are notable success stories they’ve tended to be one-off wins, where an individual project team has excelled and innovated to produce a better solution. Maybe they’re notable because they’re exceptions.

So the question is how does building better, quicker and cheaper become the norm? One route is through greater standardisation of designs and methods. Within Octavius we see increased digitisation as one of the chief enablers of this. It’s simpler to pick standardised elements and apply them to a new situation when you work in a digital environment.

Another enabler is the growing use of MMC. With traditional methods, standardisation might simplify the design process, but production was still largely a one-off. Standardised elements fabricated offsite bring a real opportunity for efficiencies and economies of scale, particularly with structuresstations, and track infrastructure.

The structure of innovation

But there’s another even more critical factor. Sustained improvement comes from building the right operational structures. The quest for efficiency then becomes integral to the way you work. This is where Octavius is getting to as an organisation.

What’s made the difference? To a large extent it’s adopting Lean principles across our business, including Lean governance, as part of our “Exceptional Value” key pillar.

The Project Management Institute defines Lean governance as: ‘the leadership, organisational structures and streamlined processes to enable everyone to work together effectively in sustaining and extending the organisation’s ability to produce meaningful value for its customers.’

Our experience is that embedding Lean at every level is the critical factor in transforming performance in a sustainable way. It provides the structure and supports the ethos of innovation and continuous improvement so that they become the norm on every project.

And the results show in our performance. We are consistently completing schemes ahead of schedule, reducing possession times and saving our customers money.

For more information contact Mike Todd ( or take a look at our resource centre.

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