PM Group drive Efficiency and Halve the Time it Takes to Report Key Project Insights with Assemble

PM Group is an employee-owned, international project delivery company that has been operating for the past 49 years. With a geographical footprint in Asia, Europe and the US, they deliver specialist services including project management, process design, facility design and construction management for leading multinational companies.

With a strong focus on delivering project excellence through innovative ways of working and the application of digital technologies to foster better collaboration, PM Group introduced Autodesk Construction Cloud’s Assemble solution to improve transparency and communication.

 A Workforce Delivering Quality

With experience working for a range of clients from the pharmaceutical, food, data centre and advanced manufacturing sectors, PM Group have over 3,500 people working across their 17 offices in 12 countries.

Coral Butler, Group Head of Digitally enabled Lean Project Delivery at PM Group, explains how the company stands out in the marketplace: “We have great people with a flexible, ‘can-do’ attitude that is needed to consistently deliver successful projects for our clients.” Coral continues: “Above all, our focus is on safety, but we also pride ourselves on our technical expertise. Working closely with our clients, we’re developing innovative solutions for the needs of extremely complex and challenging projects.”

Turning to Technology to Provide Value for the Industry

PM Group’s commitment to driving forward innovation and championing technology to deliver better productivity for the industry has seen them set out their 2021-2025 digital strategy – a digital transformation initiative in which Coral plays a key role.

For the team at PM Group, when it came to integrating technology into their processes, their goals were to work faster, more accurately and give their people the tools they needed to visualise information about their project performance.  “As project delivery specialists and digital integrators, we manage huge data sets and models. And, given our multiple contract options, we provide various levels of digitally-enabled projects,” reflects Coral.

Harnessing technology to use the data captured on projects in a richer way supports PM Group to develop better project insights for their clients. Coral says: “We’re always open to new solutions that allow us to be more proactive. And the more solutions that we can fit seamlessly into our business, the more we can deliver value and real benefits to our clients in the form of better project outcomes.”

For Coral and the team at PM Group, driving a culture change within the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry to create positive disruptions is what led them to collaborate with a company like Diatec. With expertise in supporting companies transform their processes and practices for digitally enabled workflows, they supported PM Group’s adoption of Autodesk Construction Cloud’s Assemble solution.

As with any technology solution, understanding the value it can bring was the starting point. Key Service Provider to PM Group, Jorge Alonso, is a digital champion involved in expanding and embedding the use of Assemble on projects. He reflects: “PM Group’s move to standardise the way they work across projects to deliver better quality outcomes is what really sets them apart in the market. They are constantly evaluating tools to see whether it delivers efficiency savings which can be channelled into solving complex issues.”

Overcoming Industry-Wide Challenges

Much like their project services, when it comes to innovation, the use of digital tools at PM Group spans the entire project lifecycle from design through to construction and handover of an asset. As Jorge notes, many construction projects in the industry have to deal with the same challenges time and time again. “We had often seen the same issues with data silos causing work packages to breakdown and the use of manual workflows to measure progress,” he says.

Introducing a tool like Autodesk Construction Cloud’s Assemble solution is helping PM Group to connect multidisciplinary teams across the project lifecycle to complete projects to budget and schedule. The core objective of introducing Assemble was to mitigate and solve recurrent problems as well as giving project team members access to the information they need quickly and easily. But most importantly of all, connecting their teams in one central space to aid communication and eradicate data silos has been a key goal for the team.

An Analytical Implementation

To get started, the team at PM Group compared the use of Assemble on a mission-critical project in Denmark versus a pharmaceutical project in Ireland. They assessed the impact the technology had on their workflows for each project to ascertain whether the solution would bring value to their teams and most importantly of all, deliver time savings that could be invested into value-adding activity.

Jorge comments: “Being able to track the data we capture seamlessly and consistently across teams has made a big impact on the health of our projects.” Not only do PM Group track and monitor their project progress on the construction phases of their projects in Assemble, they also use the solution to track progress from the design stages of a project. “Having all project collaborators working from one single source from the outset, helps to set our projects up right,” says Jorge.

The team use Assemble to increase collaboration, drive efficiency and reduce risk. This also supports transparency around design and constructability reviews with all project collaborators meaning a high degree of understanding is created amongst their extended work package teams. 

The Benefits of Cloud Collaboration and Real-Time Information

“Using a cloud-based solution means we have structure and control of revisions with our extended teams – we’re able to track who has made what changes and when in Assemble, we can have greater insight into what’s happening on site and also more meaningful conversations when it comes to change control,” reflects Jorge.

Working together in real-time in a cloud-based environment allowed team members on the Assemble pilot projects to follow the flow of information easily. This meant they had greater certainty that they were working from the most accurate and up-to-date information at any given moment. For Coral, the benefits of working more digitally are twofold – not only do PM Group’s teams deliver a better client experience, but they can interrogate and use data in a more meaningful way.

Richer Insights

PM Group can use the same parameters when it comes to analysing their data meaning there is a standardised way of reporting. “In my role as a manager, having the oversight of what’s happening on our projects through uniformed measuring and tracking means I can not only relay a more informed message back into our group, but I can be more proactive in identifying potential issues before they arise,” shares Coral.

With Assemble, model information is synced in one location, allowing PM Group to see how they are iterating against the budget and project timeline. They can also aggregate project information in real-time. This allows them to easily visualise how the project is progressing with their stakeholders, thus improving their relationship.

Halving the Amount of Time Spent on Manual Ways of Working

“For me, being able to connect information from the site to the office instantly is invaluable,” comments Jorge. For monitoring and reporting the status of a project to share with teams, Jorge has been able to halve the amount of time he would have previously spent compiling this important information.

“Looking back at our traditional ways of working, to gather the information our team members need was a laborious process and very time intensive,” reflects Jorge. “Now everyone can access reporting and updates on the project with a few simple clicks whereas previously, I would have had to spend a considerable amount of time in meetings and going back and forth to construction managers and designers for the information I needed for the teams.” 

For Jorge, when assessing the time team members previously spent on progress measurements for each individual trade package, the benefits of using Assemble far outweigh the old methods. “For an individual trade package on a project, we may have up to 800 drawings that would need to go through our project control checks – and we may have up to 15 packages on an individual phase of a project, so our project team are saving significant hours by digitising this workflow alone,” comments Jorge.

Greater Insights Mean Greater Predictability

“We now have much greater predictability and insights on our projects,” says Coral. This means PM Group can spend time nurturing the trusted relationships they have built on their projects with their existing clients – many of whom are repeat customers. “Trust is a real game-changer in our industry and a tool like Assemble helps us be more transparent with everyone we interact with,” says Coral.

With a stellar reputation for project delivery in the marketplace, bringing this to the next level through innovative ways of working not only ensures PM Group continues to work on great projects but the efficiencies saved means they have more capacity to take on more varied work.

 And, when it comes to the future, PM Group is expanding their use of technology even more for productivity gains and to improve the employee experience for their colleagues. “PM Group is very open minded when it comes to evolving and changing which is needed in an industry like ours,” shares Coral. “But remaining agile whilst adapting to the needs of the marketplace is not easy, and any change must be deployed in a strategic manner,” says Coral.

Looking to the future, the team plan to scale up the use of Assemble expanding it onto more projects across the group.

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of an organisation like ours. Digital tools like Assemble are a key part of that experience for our teams.” – Coral Butler, Group Head of Digitally enabled Lean Project Delivery at PM Group

Michael Goehler

Customer Success Manager, Autodesk