Blog: Value SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Efficiencies through innovation & continuous improvement

17 June 2020

sponsored by Artelia Group

Value SECBE Awards 2020 finalist - Efficiencies through innovation & continuous improvement (submitted by Kier Highways)

From the outset, the M23 J8-10 Smart Motorway Programme (SMP) has endeavoured to identify opportunities to continuously improve and deliver value for the client. Working collaboratively, Kier and designers Jacobs Atkins JV lead their client's Efficiency process with over £46m of verified efficiencies accepted on their Highways England Efficiency Register. This is the highest claimed efficiency value of all the SMP schemes, and their team is progressing a further £10.1m of innovations and improvements.

The continuous improvement activities that delivered this significant efficiency value are wide and varied. Key construction activities, planning of the works, design and buildability reviews, and collaborations with supply chain partners including Extrudakerb and Marshalls CPM have achieved significant benefits.

Lean improvement and Collaborative Planning

Collaborative Planning & Production Control efforts, where discussions and commitments have saved days and weeks of programme time delivering tangible benefits, have received recognition from the client, with impressive scores in their Collaborative Planning Assessment. Stephen Williams, Highways England SMP Lean Lead said, ‘I would love to pack your Collaborative Planning system into a suitcase and take it to any new schemes starting up’. During scheme audits, independent Highways England auditors identified Lean improvement and Collaborative Planning as Best Practice that they would want to see delivered to the same standard on other Highways England schemes. Lean Visual Management has also been used effectively by functional teams to manage their team workload, setting targets and monitoring performance against Stakeholder Value driven KPIs, with regular meetings around their visual boards that encourage collaboration, transparency and problem-solving.

BIM Station

Kier’s approach to ensuring BIM delivers real benefits and is used every day by those actually constructing the works, including their supply chain, is another initiative that has driven value for the scheme and their customers. Leading a Lean initiative to address blockers to daily BIM use, and the development of the Kier ‘BIM station’ has provided the team with a resource that fosters team collaboration, assisted problem-solving, and delivered significant programme savings through addressing potential issues in the virtual world before they became problems in the real world. The most positive aspect of this innovation is how it has been welcomed by the whole team. A supply chain foreman said, “it is great that this resource is shared across all suppliers on the scheme. Every day I see people round it, sorting out issues before they become problems.'

As well as leading their drive for efficiencies, the M23 J8-10 SMP has been at the centre of the Highways England Efficiency community, hosting efficiency events where sharing of best practice and successful efficiencies with other Highways England supply chain partners has led to significant re-use of accepted ideas by other schemes.

All of this work on efficiencies and delivering value has been completed without any compromise on safety and the scheme currently has an AFR of zero whilst having worked over 1.5million hours without a lost-time Incident.


  • The M23 J8-10 SMP is the leading scheme in Highways England SMP Efficiency drive, with a verified value of £46.1m
  • Kier has delivered benefits from innovations and improvements including, safety, environmental, quality, programme and logistics, as well as significant commercial value
  • Lean Continuous Improvement training has enabled the team to really understand customer and stakeholder value

About the Value Award: 

Judges are looking for an initiative, project or series of projects that has focused on the value of facilities in use and the outcomes for owners and users. Good facilities add value by enabling owners and/or users to live or work better in them.

> Find out more about the other finalists here

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