Watkins Steel – Winning Through Innovation

Structural Steel modelling Brisbane

Watkins Steel – Winning Through Innovation

The YPO (Young Presidents Organisation) is a global peer network of chief executives and business leaders. YPO held the first YPO Innovation Week – a series of more than 50 in-person and virtual events around the world focusing on the latest trends in innovation in May 2016.  Watkins Steel beat applicants from around the world to be awarded the Tommy Award for innovation at the penultimate event. This award recognized Watkins Steel for developing “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 pain points, limitations, and challenges. During the process, the senior management team learned that they were primarily judged on how they reacted to on-site construction problems. “The building and construction industry is time-critical and unexpected challenges arise,” explains Des Watkins, Director of Watkins Steel. “More often than not, these challenges are the result of human error. After talking to clients we realized that creating and delivering innovative solutions to on-site problems would set us apart. So we started to think, what if we could eliminate these problems before they even occur? To do this, we had to completely eradicate the human error that resulted in the bulk of on-site challenges.”

To accomplish this goal, Watkins Steel sought to digitally link all processes throughout the steel value chain. This represented a shift from labour-based processes to technology-based processes for the company when Watkins Steel created the four step process. As Tony Dickinson, Business Development Manager at Watkins Steel says, “Since we implemented the four step process, we are no longer on site for hours taking potentially inaccurate measurements, fabricating on site when re-work is required, and making costly errors when performing site layout tasks. Instead, we’ve been able to successfully leverage client insights and existing resources to create an innovative solution that eliminates human error and significantly reduces the number of construction problems we encounter.”

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Source: Australian Manufacturing Monthly Aug/Sept 2016 Edition

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