Digital planning and supply chain management toolbox for productive project delivery (PLASMA)


"Industrial productivity has improved over recent decades across most sectors due to process and technology innovation. However, construction has not shown such gains (value added per worker is 60% of that in wider manufacture). Without improvements housing and infrastructure demand will not be met. Conversely, productivity improvements will add significantly to the economy (construction represents c.9% of UK GDP).

The size and nature of the sector suggest many opportunities for process and technology innovation. Techniques such as Design for Manufacture and Assembly and off-site construction could significantly improve construction productivity. However, uptake has been slow due to bespoke projects, supply chain complexity and fluctuating demand leading to a risk-averse approach to capital investment through supply chains.

Effective planning, and supply chain collaboration are key to ensuring that productivity gains are consistently achieved. We will therefore develop, test and assess an integrated process planning and supply chain management toolkit for the efficient delivery of construction projects. It will improve construction productivity (potential cost and time savings of 25% and 28% respectively) via:

* Better project planning; enabling project planners to identify optimum project delivery plans based on context-specific restrictions and supply chain 'pinch-points' where increased capacity/automation could improve overall productivity.
* Improved supply chain collaboration; enabling supply chain businesses to securely collect, share and store information, such as task status/completion, component location, and in-use data. The use of 'blockchain' technology will enable smart contracts and timely payments to subcontractors, reducing their financial risk.

Analysis of data from on-site sensor networks and through supply chain tagging/tracking systems will provide quantified metrics for planning scenario optimisation and industry-wide KPIs. These metrics will drive innovation, enabling planners to assess project-specific benefits of new digital and automation solutions. The mainstream implementation of such innovative approaches the project solution will help to leverage overall 55-70% savings in programme cost and time.

The PLASMA project will be led by construction contractor Vinci, with Skanska also participating. These organisations will provide date from, and access to, ongoing construction projects to ensure that the project solution (made available to the industry as a spin-out) meets industry needs. UK SMEs nPlan and Assentian building on expertise of project planners and in-house innovations from Vinci and Skanska. It will be applicable in other sectors (e.g. Facilities Management).

We anticipate revenues of \>30£M pa to the 'spin out"" in 5 years, with the solution used by 10% of the UK sector."

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer



ASSENTIAN LIMITED £255,931 £ 179,152
NPLAN LIMITED £191,666 £ 134,166


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