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Making the complex simple

Wrapping a building around a process

What links a wine maker, with The Royal Mail with a television retail channel? They are all businesses driven by a complex process in order to achieve their output. The more efficient the process, the more successful the output. Their workplaces are therefore fundamental to their businesses.
The successful delivery of workplaces that house technical and complex processes involves knowledge, awareness, close working and skillful management. Each of these projects is entirely unique, however there are some common issues that help drive the success of these projects no matter what the process might be. These include:


Getting under the skin of the business and understanding business objectives
A thorough understanding of the client's business and business objectives from an early stage enables decisions to be made effectively throughout the project lifecycle and beyond. A number of our clients are constantly striving to improve the efficiency of their processes and drive out waste through the use of lean production methods while always adapting to the ever changing outside world. It is these values that must be at the heart of the project manager's decision-making.
 

Understanding the adjacencies and circulation routes to increase efficiency
Efficiency is paramount. A process relies on one action being completed after another in the most efficient manner, in order for this to happen there are natural adjacencies. At QVC the building was briefed and designed according to the very precise flow of people and products throughout the building.

Technical awareness of unfamiliar things
As project managers, we are not wine makers, nor are we processers of our nation’s mail, but we must have a fairly technical understanding of each of these processes and the technologies involved. Understanding the scientific elements of making wine in terms of fermentation, thermoregulation and the science of grapes allows us to manage the very specialist teams without constricting the project.

Phased delivery to accommodate specialist equipment
The delivery of each of these projects requires a complex phasing strategy, particularly for the integration of technology. At MediaCityUK, much of the technical equipment including servers, racks and control room desks were built and fully tried and tested off-site. The subsequent integration of these systems is a key driver for success.

Ensuring flexibility for future change
Technology evolves, the business world changes, market demand and behaviour can be unpredictable and businesses need to be able to adapt to this change. Flexibility of design to accommodate future change gives process-driven businesses the agility to respond to the world.