Watkins Steel, a Brisbane based steel fabrication company, is the inaugural recipient of the Tommy Award at the International Thomas Alva Edison Awards. This award was handed out by the Young President’s Organization (YPO) in association with the Edison Innovation Foundation at the closing event of the inaugural YPO Innovation Week in New York City.
Watkins Steel beat applicants from around the world to be recognised for the ability to develop “out-of-the-box” strategies to overcome common limitations in the building and construction industry. For Watkins Steel, this award was the end result of interviewing clients in the construction industry about their biggest challenges. During this process, the senior management team learned that they were primarily judged on how they reacted to on-site construction problems. Consequently, Watkins Steel invested in innovative equipment that could eliminate the human error, guesswork, and on-site rectification work that challenged the success of construction projects. These were:
- 3D laser scanner and Realworks software for site measurement
- Voortman V808 Coping Machine for automated steel fabrication
- Robotic Total Station and Field Link software for onsite steel installation
- Trimble Connect for sharing models with clients in the cloud
By successfully integrating this distinct technological software (originally developed for surveyors), Watkins Steel has created a completely unique end-to-end digital workflow for steel fabrication and installation. This has resulted in a significant reduction of problems on site, with Watkins Steel now being able to guarantee clients near 100% accuracy on every job, the first time.
Of the company’s recent innovation award, Watkins Steel Director Des Watkins said, “We have won this award because we have been able to leverage a deep understanding of our customer’s pain points to create this entirely digital process.”