Innovation

J Browne is constantly looking for ways to improve the way we deliver our services. Our business is focussed on customer service, and ensuring that we are delivering for our clients means that we must ensure that we understand how technology and innovation might improve our performance.

The UK construction industry needs to improve output and productivity, with various studies including a Government task force suggesting that improvements of between 20% and 50% in efficiency are possible. This improvement will require closer more collaborative working relationships between the supply chain and clients, new innovative ways of working including BIM, better use of pre fabrication and better planning. We look where possible to ‘shift left’ in the project lifecycle, and become involved with our clients as soon as possible to develop the best solutions and assess project viability.

 

Strategy

As a medium sized company, we do not have a large research and development department in house. This will generally mean that we will not be the ‘first mover’ but rather move to quickly introduce new technology and innovation once it has been tested.

We rely on searching out better ways through an extensive network of clients, industry bodies, suppliers and partners.

We currently work for the Affinity Water, Southern Water, South East Water, Thames Water, and Thames Tideway Tunnel, and can transfer knowledge of techniques and ways of working between these organisations.

 


Examples of this happening include the transfer of BIM and 3D modelling for ground investigation work in Thames Tideway Tunnel across our business which has led to less excavation and better customer outcomes on a number of our contracts.

We regularly run supplier days with our clients where our supply chain and others have the opportunity of presenting new ideas and products to our clients.

We are members of the Pipeline Industry Guild, Civil Engineering Contractors Association and sit on a number of client groups including SHEQ forums for Thames Water, Affinity Water South East Water and Southern Water.


‘Left field’ – ideas from the workforce

We look to make innovation work in a number of ways with adoption of new technologies, learning from other sectors being the most obvious routes to making significant improvements. Sometimes, however, small steps rather than large step changes are most realistic and aggregating a number of incremental and seemingly minor improvements can make a real difference in improving how we do things.

Many of these good ideas come from our employees who have fantastic experience and knowledge. We realise that the people who can help us improve by these fine margins are often our own employees who are carrying out the works on the ground and have an excellent understanding of how either a process, technology or equipment change will help improve efficiency, health and safety, environmental impact or the general quality of a job. We encourage our staff to come up with a better ways of working through our ‘Left field’ campaign which asks for better ways whether big or small of improving the way we work. This may be as minor as suggesting a slightly different type of PPE through to fundamental CAPEX investments, and changes to our work methodology. All ideas are appreciated and valued with full feedback given to the recipients. Awards for the best ideas are celebrated at an annual award ceremony.