Caunton Engineering designs, manufactures and erects large steel structures for construction companies. One of the most vital areas of the business is creating tenders for new and repeat business. Could the company improve its strike rate by developing its IT system?
Having taken part in successful Knowledge Transfer Partnerships in the past, Caunton knew where to turn for help. The University of Nottingham scoped the project and recommended two associates to work at Caunton over two years.
During the first year, Rami Alyazje analysed the business processes and put in recommendations, while in the second year Karim Eimoheen built this into the company’s IT system.
Having dedicated experts tackling the problem has resulted in a more integrated system that will make the bidding process more efficient, accurate and cost-effective. Vital for securing new business. Caunton is already looking to the next KTP with the University
Streamlining the bidding process
Caunton Engineering is one of the most respected names in the constructional steelwork industry. The family-owned business has been designing, manufacturing and erecting large steel frames for all the major national construction companies for almost 40 years.
The demands are great and Caunton prides itself on its innovation and ability to deliver on time, every time. But staying ahead and maintaining that reputation takes constant new thinking, and that’s when having a world-class research university just a few miles away really helps.
“Working with The University of Nottingham gives us great access to a real intellectual powerhouse,” says Caunton’s managing director, Simon Bingham. “We’ve been close to the University for many years and undertook our first KTP [Knowledge Transfer Partnership] project in 1997.”
In 2005, Caunton turned to the University again for a KTP. This project involved looking at the way the company put together estimates when bidding for work. This is a vital area when it comes to winning and retaining business and all bids have to be completed quickly and accurately; not easy with fluctuating steel prices.
The problem for the company was the lack of integration in the computer system. With different types of software not talking to each other, this meant the estimate process was not as efficient as possible. Simon approached the University’s Faculty of Engineering, and was able to take on two KTP associates over two separate years.
Both Rami Alyazje and Karim Eimoheen bought complementary but highly valued skills to Caunton. Rami spent the first 12 months fully analysing business processes, focusing on areas such as product and process data modelling, integrated design and construction, cost modelling, economic appraisals, performance measurement and benchmarking.
Once the analysis was complete, Karim spent his year putting the theory into practice developing the company’s IT system. As a result, Caunton Engineering now has a much more streamlined system in place that is increasing the accuracy of estimates, saving the company time, reducing workload and helping to win more contracts. It’s estimated that the company’s strike rate for successful bids has increased from about one in 10, to one in five.
Naturally, Simon is delighted with the results. “This system is going to save us a lot of money every year and give us much tighter control when bidding. In fact, we’ve already saved far more than we’ve spent on re-pitching.
“To have people who can come in every day and concentrate on one thing is a huge benefit. Working with the University, which has a great understanding of the steel industry, has really pushed us forward. This is our third or fourth KTP and everyone benefits.”
The dust has barely settled on this partnership, yet Caunton is already exploring the next KTP with the University. This will focus on sustainability – a huge issue in the construction industry – and will see the company working with experts in another of Nottingham’s world-class schools.
There is little doubt that Caunton Engineering is one company reaping the full benefits of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships with The University of Nottingham.