Unlocking business insights with data
Data isn’t just a buzzword at Skanska. We must continually innovate and implement new and efficient ways of working that support our people and exceed our customers’ expectations. One way we aim to do this is through our Data Program.
Our Data Program includes:
- The data solutions team, which helps our people transform data into actionable insights to better support our project teams and customers.
- Data and analytics training that is available for all employees, from basic data literacy to advanced Power BI functionality.
- Our national analytics community, an open forum where a diverse group of more than 100 Skanska innovators—representing a wide variety of roles and experience—discuss what they’re working on and the challenges they’re trying to solve. Together, the group explores new possibilities of using data to build solutions.
How knowledge sharing and data safeguarded a project’s schedule
The knowledge shared across our offices and departments during analytics community meetings is a critical piece of our Data Program. In fact, a meeting in 2021 sparked the transformation of an excel sheet into a new tool that is now being used across multiple projects.
On our University of North Carolina (UNC) Health Surgical Tower project, a 390,000 square-foot, seven-story surgical tower in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Senior Project Engineer Whitney Keever was tasked with tracking production to hold trade partners accountable and keep the project on schedule. The typical way our teams did this was with an Excel spreadsheet and manual input. This was a time-consuming process with risk for human error.
VDC Manager Samiha Shakil and Preconstruction Technology Manager Edwin Bailey were facing the same obstacle on their projects. Edwin had developed a visual dashboard for his Austin, Texas team and shared it with Samiha who then tracked steel work on our North Shore University Hospital Advanced Surgical Pavilion project, a 289,000 square-foot annex building and critical care unit in Manhasset, New York.
With a successful use case, she presented the dashboard on an analytics community call. The three collaborated to create an optimal 3D model-based production tracking tool. This tool leverages data from our project management, financial, scheduling and model software to create dashboards that help our teams track and monitor trade partner schedule, workforce and percent complete data in real-time.
Whitney used the new tool on our UNC Health Surgical Tower project. With the new insights provided, what could have been a potentially significant risk to the project schedule became much easier to identify and manage.
Whitney and her project team shared the production trends and projections with trade partners, and in response, they added workforce to increase production and keep work on schedule.
“If we want to be leaders and reduce the burdens on our teams, we must show our subcontractors the production path they are on against the schedule commitment by tracking their production. With this dashboard, we can forecast completions proactively, advise necessary crew adjustments and set the subcontractor, as well as ourselves, up for success,” says Walter Benoit, senior vice president of operations.
For Assistant Project Manager Matt Bramante, there is a significant benefit in using the Production Tracking Dashboard.
“It helped me throughout the job to actively report and understand how our work was progressing. We used the dashboard to track weekly progress during rough-in to calculate production rates, which helped us verify if each subcontractor was staying on schedule. It allowed us to work more efficiently,” he explains.
Transforming processes and business outcomes for our teams
Edwin, Samiha and Whitney were asked to join Skanska’s 2022 Analytics Summer Camp, an eight-week program that brings together members of the analytics community and top report builders.
Their goal was to develop a standard template for production tracking. With guidance from Director of Data and Analytics Amy Jones, the team created and released a template (and associated training) that Skanska teams can use across the country, no matter their project size or type.
Currently, the Production Tracking Dashboard is in use on 12 Skanska USA Building projects and was recently implemented on a Skanska USA Civil (USC) project—the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Maffa Way and Mystic Avenue Bridge Replacements.
“The Production Tracking Dashboard gave us what we needed to move forward on a model we have been using in USC for more than ten years. We’re now in the final stages of enabling automatic updates to our cost, schedule and invoicing system. Many people look at managing data as more work for them, because they don’t understand it, but when managed properly, data will set you free,” says Senior Vice President Paul Pedini.
The dashboard even received industry-wide attention as Whitney, along with Business Data Analyst Janie Coleman and Business Intelligence Architect Timothy Vines, presented it at the 2023 Advancing Construction Analytics Conference.
The Production Tracking Dashboard speaks volumes to the efficacy of our Data Program. By placing innovation opportunities in the hands of our people across hundreds of roles, offices and projects, we reach a higher capacity for knowledge sharing and achieve new levels of being better together.