BAM, Ballast Nedam and Heijmans “Groundbreaking success with collective automation”

The first collective automation application is here! Three months ago, BAM, Ballast Nedam and Heijmans have joined forces to target digitisation, which paid off!
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The developers created an application which results in a shorter lead time, easy and quick adjustments to the design, and optimisation of the design. The probability of human errors, and thus failure costs, is also reduced. With the VIKTOR platform, all the developers can customise the tool to their own preference and needs.

 

This step in collective automation shows that together it is possible to achieve groundbreaking development speed and learn from each other, while maintaining a manageable process.

Jos van Rijen, Manager Design Operations at BAM

Smarter and faster together

In everyday life the level of digitisation is indispensable. The use of Spotify, Google, Tesla makes life comfortable, provides accessibility to extreme productivity with results that match the needs one can no longer oversee. This is similar to the manufacturing industry. A client requests the optimal solution as fast as possible, while the supplier wants to deliver with the lowest risk and with a healthy margin. In order to benefit from the advantages of digitisation as BV Nederland, collaboration is a necessity. This shared interest has brought BAM, Ballast Nedam and Heijmans together to enhance the developments towards digitsation.

In order to achieve this, the collective has determined shared similarities between the companies and made a selection of what basic knowledge can be automated. In the weeks thereafter, the engineers successfully developed an initial application as example for more collective applications. During the presentation of this application to a large group of engineers, BAM, Ballast Nedam and Heijmans provided the message: “let’s target digitisation together. Casting aside competition, it will become better, faster and cheaper. This will put you in a better position to allows you to focus on your expertise.”

Leon Tiggelman, former Lead Design Digitisation at Heijmans, now Manager Parametric Design at Dura Vermeer:

“Beyond expectations, the application was developed in a very short amount of time. With a new team, with limited programming experience, the application was developed on schedule. Therefore development processes have turned out to be manageable.”

The platform and first application

VIKTOR is a platform which offers the capability to develop custom applications in Python. The Engineers of the collective have, together with programmers at VIKTOR, created their custom online tool for earth bodies or embankments. This application can be used separately by the companies, each in their own environment.

Because the platform integrates different data sources and software programmes, together with automation of powerful algorithms, much more design iterations can be performed. Centralisation of these designs and analyses enables everybody to use the correct most up-to-date information at the same time. Designers, geotchnicians, planners and project managers can therefore continue working without having to wait for one another. The designs are instantly accessible and design choices can directly be made, resulting in better designs in less time. Moreover, the geotechnical advisor has to spend less time on the repetitive tasks and can focus on the more complex tasks.

We perform a lot of repetitive tasks and often overestimate how far we are ahead of the competitor. So why not focus on collective developments that do not directly result in a competitive advantage? Many hands make light work!

Bas Vos, Deputy Manager at Boskalis

Knowledge as an asset

Thanks to the automation of the design process and centralising the correct information, knowledge becomes an asset for the organisation. This knowledge can be expanded by implementing more functionalities in the VIKTOR application, like integrating performances data or financial models. Since the knowledge is digital and online, it can also be shared with customers, subcontractors or other organisations. Everybody is using the same up-to-date information.

The progress and ease of digitisation can also be achieved in the construction industry by collaboration. Possibilities are endless. The company gains much more potential from engineering by spending less time on simple repetitive tasks. Furthermore, the workflow becomes quicker and more advanced by sharing knowledge. Together we can excel and offer the best solution to our clients.

This initiative may serve as an example to the current market. Within lots of organisations the wheel is reinvented. This has to change, by reinventing it together and interchanging experiences and results.

Leo van der Geest, Manager Programming Digital Development at Dura Vermeer

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