Replacing an arduous paper-based scheduling system for Newton Europe

Using rapid prototyping our bespoke management planning tool was able to replace a paper-based scheduling system on a live project.

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Understanding the challenge

Newton approached us at a time when one of their clients, a leading UK defence company, was carrying out a major maritime construction project. The project was one of the largest engineering ventures ever undertaken in the UK, and so there were opportunities to reduce the risk of overspending and overrunning. Newton was tasked with improving how the work was being planned, managed and executed.

The defence company were using a paper-based process to monitor build progress and days could pass before issues were discussed or solutions were found. As a result, Newton was looking for an application to be created that held all data centrally, to then enable progress to be tracked more visibly.

A highlight of this project for me was a meeting early on in which a feature was requested and I was able to prototype and demo it there and then. The reaction from the clients was fantastic, compared to their existing systems that level of responsiveness was unheard of

David Giles, Technical Lead

Developing the software solutions

We worked with Newton to create a planning product that allowed the workforce to manage delivery of the plan on the vessel, leading to quicker, better decision making across the dockyard.

During the initial specification process, we realised that there was uncertainty around the finer requirement details so we decided to use a process called rapid prototyping, whereby a scale model of a final product is created quickly and iteratively. This would then allow the application’s end-users to provide feedback frequently throughout the development process.

Releasing the product

Our use of rapid prototyping had several benefits: the defence company saw value in the project very early in the process as its employees had access to the product from the first iteration, and so recognised its benefit to the build process. Using such a collaborative development method enabled end-users to provide feedback at numerous stages, and requests for additional functionalities were welcomed and fed into the various iterations of the product.

Finally, individuals across other departments in the business quickly recognised the product’s importance, and so then sought to understand more about how it could benefit their area of the business.

Outcome

The outcome of the project was an application that permits work to be completed on time and to budget. The product enables the status of tasks to be updated daily, which can now be done online and in real time.

It has successfully streamlined the tracking of progress, prioritising the most critical issues, and will ultimately help to ensure the ship is delivered to plan. It is currently in the process of being piloted, and has been used widely by the business from white-collar individuals to delivery leads.

Ghyston’s use of rapid prototyping gave us a working version of the software that delivered value from day one

Justin Geldof, Head of Digital Solutions, Newton Europe

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