Rapid prototyping with Newton Europe

Newton Europe is a consultancy of over 200 scientists and engineers that specialises in delivering measurable, sustainable, operational and financial improvements to organisations from various sectors.

"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 at Newton Europe

Challenge: An arduous paper-based scheduling system

Newton approached Ghyston at a time when one of Newton’s 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 therefore 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.

Approach: A dynamic prototype of the digital application

Newton commissioned Ghyston 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.

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: A functional product that delivered value from day one

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.

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"The team at Ghyston were fantastic. Their knowledge and attention to detail are a big part of the reason we were able to sell a wider project to our client. Finally, the quality of their work was outstanding." Justin Geldof, Head of Digital Solutions at Newton Europe