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How Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Achieved Efficiencies and Savings in Capital Project Management

Janet Poses
Sr. Marketing Manager

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol one of the world’s major airports, is undergoing a major renewal and renovation program. Large transportation infrastructure initiatives can span multiple years and involve numerous public and private entities and funding sources, and this one is no exception.

Royal Schiphol Group’s Capital Programme organization has a mission of “building for the future of Schiphol.” In accordance with their mission, the Royal Schiphol Group realized the importance of putting systems in place that would provide transparency and accountability in addition to enabling Schiphol to maximize efficiency.

The Schiphol Capital Programme team needed:

-    A system to manage their processes and information across the projects’ phases
-    A document management system (DMS) that would centralize and control documents throughout the project lifecycle
-    Project controls capabilities  
-    Field management functionality

In addition, the airport needed to safeguard against risk, such as theft, disputes, and loss, and provide an effective audit trail of the entire project.

Process Improvement
Breaking work down into packages 50% faster report generation
Field issue management 80% faster issue close out (from 33 to just five days)
Workflow management GC saved 2,167 person days across the 45,000 workflows
Printing GC saved estimated $42,000 on paper

 

Five steps to Schiphol’s success

1.    Breaking down work into manageable pieces

An airport project is almost by definition a megaproject. The sheer number of organizations and team members, and the complexity of contracting and funding, necessitate having the right tools and functionality to make these projects successful.

Many airports try to manage megaprojects using traditional project management tools and processes, but this approach often falls short, as evidenced by the 65% failure rate of such projects.* Schiphol Capital Programme recognized the complexity of their program and implemented a program-wide solution to bring all parties together.  

Schiphol uses the Packages functionality within Oracle Aconex to break down the work and manage projects efficiently. For example, the project manager-construction manager (PM-CM) document controllers created a preliminary design phase package type for the project and successfully completed a 90% quick scan review with the tool.

This type of project health check traditionally would have been a time-consuming manual process. Not only did Schiphol Capital Programme save time, they improved accuracy.

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 “Oracle Aconex Field has been very valuable for safety.”
- Marizaane Loubser, Document Control Manager, Royal Schiphol Group

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Following the success of the 90% quick scans, Packages have been used for large submissions. The next step is to use Packages for interim dossiers and change of requirements by general contractors, designers and project managers /construction managers (PM-CM)s.

Across the board, the project’s designers, contractors, PM-CMs—and generally, all users—have provided positive feedback about using Packages. “The virtual grouping of information makes life so much easier to find sections of review items or groupings of item specific information,” said Marizaane Loubser, document control manager, Royal Schiphol Group.  

“By linking secure documents as placeholders to Packages, we have a holistic view of an entire review submission instead of only parts of it,” Loubser said. 

Designers are now assured of consistently workflowing the same “batch” of documents without risk of the system timing out, or the fear of possibly making mistakes by creating workflows directly out of Packages. This is extremely important, because in some cases, workflows can consist of up to 200 documents.

Managing work in this way also enables Schiphol to run reports 50% faster because all the relevant information is connected. After the initial package is created, the documents from the workflow can be easily aligned by viewing the documents in the register and copying the search parameters into that package.

2.    Streamlining field processes

One key to successfully managing a megaproject is to implement a solution across all phases of the project. Of course, field management is a critical component.

The airport has reduced the average time to close out field issues from 33 days to just five. This more than 80% improvement in issue close out helps keep the entire project on track.

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“Oracle Aconex Field gives us a single platform where we can manage field communication between engineer/employer and in-house teams/subcontractor teams."

-Marizaane Loubser, Document Control Manager, Royal Schiphol Group

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Open APIs enable the visualization of data on various platforms, such as business intelligence solutions. The easy-to-use interface also supports Royal Schiphol Group’s global and diverse team, making it easy to teach users with different native languages and skill sets.

A Royal Schiphol Group general contractor, PMCM Roads & Utilities, logged a total of 391 inspection issues after rolling out the tool. The contractor has reduced the time it takes to close out those issues from an average of 33 days to just five days. They’ve also saved four hours a week on reporting using the reports function.

The Royal Schiphol Group general contractor on the airport’s “Pier” project has logged 847 external and internal issues and 412 Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) observations using Oracle Aconex. They have saved  315 hours across those issues and observations using Oracle Aconex Field.

The average close out duration dropped from 42 days to just 16, a 62% improvement. The Royal Schiphol Group has also gone entirely digital with inspections, using Oracle Aconex Field for all QA/QC checklists. The Royal Schiphol Group eliminated the paper previously needed for wet signatures by integrating digital signatures.

In addition, by significantly reducing the administrative component of issue management, more issues can be captured, addressed and closed out, improving both quality and safety on the project.

“Oracle Aconex reduces administrative time in the office and allows for more time on-site,” said Loubser.

3.    Using configurable electronic workflows

Many systems support only rigid workflows, requiring project teams to change their processes or endure a lengthy and expensive process of working with the vendor to code the many unique workflows required to support a megaproject. Schiphol Capital Programme has easily configured more than 500 different workflow templates across the projects to support their various review cycles and the different participants on each cycle.

 “PMs and CMs unanimously agree that using Oracle Aconex for workflows is saving time,” said Loubser.

Schiphol’s main contractor estimates a time savings of 2,167 person days across the 45,000 workflows managed on Oracle Aconex to-date. They also estimate saving close to $42,000 on paper alone.

The system provides traceability and eliminates the need to manually track and chase workflows in addition to reducing review-cycle time. This automated process saves time across numerous roles.

As just one example, the receipt of goods (ROG) workflow saves the capital program cost manager roughly two hours per month by eliminating the need to manually chase signatures.  “Our team no longer runs around to get papers signed. Workflows enable a tidy, electronic process,” said Loubser.

4.  Standardizing on one system across projects

Royal Schiphol Group recognized the value of consistency and the ability to achieve efficiencies across all its projects. By standardizing on Oracle Aconex, team members can more easily pivot from project to project. Start-up time is shortened by using templates as starting points, while training is reduced and process improvements can be easily rolled out across projects.

5.    Designer / PM-CM / contractor system buy in

Optimal results from the use of Oracle Aconex depend on top to bottom and bottom to top buy-in. “We have had great success with designers, PM-CM, and general contractor buy-in and roll out amongst their respective users,” said Loubser.

Watch a short video to lean more about how Amsterdam Airport Schiphol improved capital projects management with Oracle Aconex.

* IPA  E&Y “Theory of Management of Large Complex Projects,” Bob Prieto.

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