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Supply chain analytics case study construction industry

Transforming UK construction through supply chain analytics

The Innovate UK challenge: Construction 2025

Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency, has awarded two project grants to a consortium of experts to develop a novel supply chain analytics solution for the UK construction and engineering industry. This grant has been awarded to Concentra, alongside with engineering solutions provider Costain, and WMG at the University of Warwick.

With the global construction market forecast to grow by over 70% by 2025, the UK government is looking to strengthen Britain’s competitive edge in the sector so it can be at the forefront of the global construction race. However, poor information flow and lack of integration within the supply chain is impeding innovation within the sector. This results in the development of ‘Construction 2025’, a long-term strategic partnership between the industry and Government to address these issues by addressing four key areas by 2025: Lower Costs, Faster Delivery, Lower Emissions and Improvement in exports.

Data protection

In conjunction with this, the UK government is also seeking for better ways to address cyber security breaches. This is a prominent challenge that puts all industries operating as a part of the ‘digital supply chain’ data within the UK economy, including construction, at a high risk of disruption. With the rising use of digital technology, the sophistication and impact of cyber-attacks is outpacing the current ability to detect and prevent them.

In this context, Innovate UK has opened two funding competitions for collaborative projects between the industry and Universities that will address the following challenges:

Challenge 1. Supply Chain Integration in Construction

Innovate UK allocated up to £2 million to fund projects that address issues arising from the fragmented nature of the construction and engineering industry, exploring innovative ways to improve collaboration and the flow of information throughout the UK construction and engineering supply chain.

Challenge 2: Protecting Data in Industry

Innovate UK allocated up to £4 million to fund projects conducting industrial research whose outputs will increase data protection, awareness and resilience of an industry or a sector from digital disruption.

The solution

The collaboration team, Concentra, Costain and WMG, have successfully won both grants through two projects to support the UK construction industry as outlined below:

Project 1: Platform for an Integrated Supply Chain in Construction

The study will investigate the feasibility of using an innovative supply chain analytics capability to analyze a selected portion of a construction and engineering supply chain to identify levels and causes of unnecessary costs and delays. The solution will be applied to construction material, equipment and labour supply chains to provide visibility of material flows, demand and supply of resources and utilisations over time. The analysis will drill down to find root cause of inefficiencies and waste and identify opportunities for better integration and process improvement. The team will then assess the feasibility and benefits of applying supply chain best practice techniques that have been developed and proven in other industries. Building scenario models to investigate and demonstrate the impact of integrated supply chain practices built on principles of material flow and the levelling of demand on supplying resources. The findings from the project will be published and disseminated through supply chain and construction and engineering industry forums and a ‘Discovery day’ hosted by WMG.

Project 2: Protecting Data to build strategic partnerships in Construction and Engineering

This project will develop and apply innovative data protection and information security techniques essential for a novel supply chain analytics tool. The tool was developed in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector, and is to be applied to the construction and engineering industry. The aim is to create a digitally-enabled environment within which construction organizations can build trust and create strategic partnerships necessary to achieve significant cost reductions in the supply chain. Sharing data in a trusted environment is essential to driving change in the industry. The data security issues include potential security breaches due to weaknesses in application security architecture, implementation and configuration. Breaches also occur as a result of poor access controls to sensitive data and the flow of that data between parties: data is either shared more widely than is necessary, or not shared at all. This project will take an approach that will allow access to data to be controlled not only by membership and role, but also according to content, context, time, place and need – all within a clear governance structure.

The collaboration partners

Innovate UK

Innovate UK works with people, companies and partner organizations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy – delivering productivity, new jobs and exports. The aim at Innovate UK – the government’s innovation agency – is to keep the UK globally competitive in the race for future prosperity.


Concentra is a specialist data analytics firm that helps organizations use data to get the edge. Concentra crafts information tools to solve business problems, partnering with leading technologies. Concentra’s own revolutionary products include OrgVue, a solution for organization design and transformation; and SupplyVue, a Supply Chain Analytics and management tool.


WMG, at the University of Warwick, is an academic department of the University of Warwick, and one of the world’s leading research and education groups. They are at the forefront of innovative technology, leading major multi-partner projects to create and develop exciting new processes and products that can lead to major breakthroughs and be of huge benefit to organizations


Costain is recognised as one of the UK’s leading engineering solution providers operating in energy, water and transportation sectors. Combining in-depth expertise, resources and extensive industry relations, the Costain team will drive the delivery of the case study, data models and exploitation plan of the project.

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