Customer Experience Exchange

Sharing best practice and much more...part two


At the first Customer Experience Exchange held in September, five diverse customers shared their experience of using Triaster to support their core business processes and drive business process improvement throughout their organisations.

In the second part of our write up of the event, Skanska UK's and Openfield's presentations are summarised below.

If you missed part one (Interserve, 3663, Spirax Sarco) this can be found in the November/December Connector which can be downloaded from

All presenters' supporting PowerPoints and links can be viewed at

Skanska - Utilising process libraries to create consistent business processes working with multiple operating units

Steve Arkell, Business Process Quality Engineer, talked through how Skanska have developed a process library architecture to support each of their individual operating units while working as One Skanska UK.

Skanska is one of the world's leading construction groups with expertise in construction, development of commercial and residential projects and public-private partnerships.They employ approximately 4,200 staff in the UK and undertake around £1.2 billion worth of work each year.

Steve explained Skanska's five zeros vision:

  • Zero loss making projects
  • Zero environmental incidents
  • Zero accidents
  • Zero ethical breaches
  • Zero defects

All driven by their management system.

In 2010 the challenge was that the nine operating units making up Skanska UK were all completely independent and each had their own unique management systems. Each system had its own platform (Word, Visio, Triaster) and six of them were independently audited by the LRQA for individual ISO certifications.

This meant multiple audits each year, often performed by the same auditors, looking at similar content, presented differently within differing management systems. It also meant a lot of inconsistency in the ways things were done by each operating unit.

Experiences shared can prevent the same problems occurring.
Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions

In May 2010 Skanska UK agreed to move to:

  • One management system containing policies, processes, procedures common to all operating units
  • A single accreditation (LRQA)
  • A common IT platform (Triaster)

As a starting point, they listed all the areas of the Skanska UK business and in doing so realised that all their processes fall into one of the following:

  • Functional Area - supporting processes, health and safety, procurement
  • Project Control - everyday project management processes
  • Sector - processes to meet specific requirements e.g. gas, highways etc.

They started with the Functional and Project Control processes which are common to all the operating units. The best person in the business to represent each area was identified and they, together with a team of process owners, process mapped and work shopped their processes to agree the best practice process. Not only did this enable them to identify the 'best of the best' core processes, but it also enabled buy-in from each operational unit to the One Skanska project.

Having gone live with the core processes in their Library in early 2012, they next focused on the Sectors - the operating unit specific processes. These are published to specific Operating Unit Libraries, which appear seamlessly within the Library.

Steve demonstrated the One Skanska Library, 'Our Way of Working'. The homepage contains menu options for each operating unit. Once the user has clicked into the relevant Operating Unit Library, they are given Functional Area and Project Control menu options. The end user is therefore only able to access the processes applicable to that operating unit, be they core processes or operating unit specific.

There are also links to other useful resources such as the IMS manual, on-line tutorials and policy statements.

Steve said that in the mapping of the processes and the promoting of the 'Our Way of Working' Library, the cultural change for Skanska has been focusing 'on the why'. Much effort has gone into explaining why something is done, in terms of the impact on the customer.

They have also been encouraging Library users to click on the feedback button found on all process maps and e-mail the responsible person. The feedback is discussed by the Process Owner group who, if they agree any change, will implement this, update and re-publish the process map(s).

Skanska's central communications team have developed posters, e-mails etc to promote 'Our Way of Working', however in retrospect Steve feels the Steering Group should have improved the engagement and involvement of the project sponsors at the start, something they have now done.

Steve said that in mid-September 2012 LRQA had completed the stage one assessment for One Skanska certification. This marks quite a milestone, with one management system (Our Way of Working) developed on one platform (Triaster) getting Skanska well on the way to one accreditation. And it also saved £40K in audit fees!

Openfield - Using our process library as a key tool in delivering change throughout Openfield

Jim Hotchin, Operations Director, was very eloquent on how Openfield have used the Triaster Solution to drive change throughout their organisation.

Firstly Jim introduced us to the combinable crop industry, explaining that the UK crop size is about 20 million tonnes. This is produced by about 10,000 farmers whose ages, attitudes, approaches and skills cover a huge range.

The crop industry is driven by the world market. This year's yield is probably the worst in 20 years, both in the UK and worldwide. It is estimated that world-wide there is probably only just enough crop to get through the year. It is a highly volatile market and historically not at all service orientated, with high levels of waste in the supply chain.

Following the BSE crisis the combinable crop industry has become highly regulated:

  • Red Tractor: An assurance scheme applying to farmers up to the farm gate
  • TASCC: Covering quality from the farm gate to the end user (storing, transporting, testing)
  • FAS: Covering the use of fertiliser (ammonium nitrate being a key component in bomb manufacture)

Openfield is a mutual society owned by farmers. The farmers who contract with them are the owners of Openfield for the duration of the contract. Currently this is 3,000 farmers who produce 20% of the UK crop. Their annual turnover which depends heavily on the prices of wheat is currently about £650 million and they employ 230 staff.

Openfield was created on the merger of 'Grainfarmers' and 'Centaur Grain' in November 2008, which were very different organisations. Centaur Grain was owned by farmers set up to deliver to their requirements while Grainfarmers was orientated around the consumer. They each had their own IT systems, processes and cultures, but both delivered low levels of service and paid only lip service to compliance to the Assurance schemes. So quite a challenge!

The way forward was determined, to:

  • Unify cultures
  • Consolidate on one IT platform
  • Create standard processes
  • Dramatically enhanced, measured service levels
  • Conformance with compliance schemes to mitigate risk
  • A service mentality
  • Agile in the market place
  • End user and farm group relationships
  • Move faster than the competition that Openfield will be recognised as the best grain business in the UK, by being an integral part of their farmers' and customers' businesses.

Openfield determined that their excellence would be the product of Service Excellence multiplied by Operational Excellence.

They recognised Service Excellence was a strategy to differentiate themselves from their competition, but for this to be successful they would need to create a clear gap between Openfield and their competitors, in terms of the service delivered. They were looking to create 'raving fans', customers who are intensely loyal to Openfield. To do so, they would need to create a distinctive, un-forgettable, value adding, addictive experience that customers could only get from Openfield.

They recognised that there are two aspects to this: character and competence. In order to bring in employees with the correct character, Openfield started to recruit people from a service background. This was an entirely new approach and had an immediately positive effect on the culture of the organisation. In order to ensure competence Openfield took a LEAN approach to Operational Excellence and chose the Triaster Solution to enable this.

So why Triaster?

Jim explained that the Triaster Solution was chosen because it delivered:

  • One source of truth
  • Easy access to standard processes
  • Easy on-line library of documents
  • A training medium
  • Visualisation of process - not dry manuals!

Openfield's Library homepage was designed with the major cross functional processes most visible, but supporting departmental processes accessible and it is now the backbone of the business. It is the first thing that staff come to on both their intranet and their ERP system. Staff know that the Library shows how Openfield do business and this is where they go to find out what they should be doing. The Library has just helped Openfield to pass an FIAS audit with flying colours - the auditor commenting on how easy it was to use. The Library is a core component in Openfield's drive for Operational Excellence. The customer journey has been mapped, with customer touch points clearly indicated in red on the process maps. Annual surveys are sent to customers and the end-to-end process reviewed to improve on areas where customer feedback has highlighted a problem.

Jim stated that Triaster is essential for competence. When asked how big an organisation needs to be in order to benefit from the Triaster Solution, Jim said it certainly works for Openfield who employ 230 staff. He also said he didn't think it was the number of staff that is relevant, but the complexity of the organisation.

Any organisation with lots of complexity can benefit from Triaster.

Customer Experience Exchange Pictures

Steve Arkell, Skanska - discusses process library architecture

Jim Hotchin, Openfield - on driving change throughout the organisation

The first Triaster Customer Experience Exchange - A great way to share best practice!

More information

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Tel: +44 (0)870 402 1234

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