Collaborating Across the Supply Chain in Finland to Deliver Agile and Reliable Outcomes

Suomen Aluerakennuttaja (SARA), are experts in providing living space solutions and a pioneer in the construction industry process development in Finland. Specialising in delivering assisted living and nursing homes, the company also provides services throughout the entire lifespan of a project. Combining long-term industry expertise with an innovative mindset, the team strives to provide the best project outcomes for all their clients.

Working in partnership across the construction supply chain is something SARA focuses on and collaborates often with Arttuasunnot – an experienced and innovative partner for municipalities in project planning, financing, construction and administrative services for care and service housing. 

Lean Working Methods

As two innovative services businesses, SARA and Arttuasunnot are constantly looking for ways to improve outcomes for their stakeholders. Both companies have established working practices based on lean methodologies. They adopt an agile approach working in ‘sprints’ – a methodology they learned from the IT industry. This means the team does not lose momentum on projects as Mauno Lounakoski, VDC Manager for SARA reflects: “On projects, we deliver designs and hold meetings on a weekly rotation over the traditional monthly schedule.” 

Connecting a Fragmented Supply Chain

For SARA, working as a client representative, they must ensure that all team members collaborating on a construction project have the full picture; when it comes to managing the information, they need to do their jobs effectively. “Our project data must be understandable and unambiguous for our project collaborators – we cannot have data that is open to interpretation as this carries a level of risk but also wastes important project time,” says Mauno. They must also bring together many project players from a fragmented construction eco-system to collaborate in real-time.  

Historically, main contractors retained ownership over project data, and sharing this data effectively with owners at the end of a project was often met with difficulties. As well as this, subcontractor and supply chain partners often maintain their own data records that were not always passed on during the build phase leaving both the owner and main contractors open to risk. Mauno recognised that to collaborate effectively, data needed to be reclaimed and shared.

Scaling for Successful Collaboration

The company’s previous processes of managing data manually across spreadsheets, local network drives and physical folders was no longer scalable for their business needs and hindered true collaboration with partners like Arttuasunnot. Without a central repository for all project information, key data like photos and documents were stored on individual computers, making it difficult for collaborators to easily share and access information. Mauno reflects: "We wanted to eliminate the administrative burden and lack of transparency which is inherent to the traditional ways of working in our industry. We needed to transform to deliver value with collaborative, scalable processes." By developing an efficient, digital operating model using Autodesk Construction Cloud software, SARA rehauled their practices in favour of genuinely digital workflows.

Connecting Autodesk’s end-to-end construction offering – from planning and design all the way through to build and operate – the team invested and connected a variety of integrations. From Revit for architectural drawings, BIM Collaborate Pro for pre-engineering to Autodesk Build for construction and asset management, the partner companies soon realised that while technology offers the tools, it is people who really are the most important.

Technology is an enabler; people lead the change. – Mauno Lounakoski, VDC Manager,  SARA

An End-to-End Solution

Tino Nurmi, CEO of Arttuasunnot explains: “Autodesk has the best software ecosystem for the project lifecycle in the marketplace by a mile, their tools are scalable and interoperable compared to any other product out there. But we still had to bring our project stakeholders along the same journey we had been through so that they too, can understand our vision.” For both teams, they recognised that Building Information Modelling (BIM) is a key enabler and facilitator to deliver more efficiently, but it is not the technology that holds value, it is how people use it. 

Introducing the Autodesk Construction Cloud to the teams was easy as users found it intuitive to navigate. Architect Juri Pelkonen notes that teams were up-and-running with projects within a matter of days . With the solution, teams could easily update information in real time. This clear insight into roles and responsibilities improved collaboration but was met with some trepidation from project collaborators. “For Arttuasunnot, in our construction management role, this oversight is invaluable. Enabling broad access to information and yet setting permission levels on certain documents means we can optimise access to project data,” says Juri.

Having better record-keeping of activity on site allows teams to look at data they needed from a particular day more easily. “The flexibility of Autodesk Construction Cloud’s solutions allows us to adopt our own processes and manage every project with the same principles and governance across the board. This helps us diversify our offering," says Mauno. Both SARA and Arttuasunnot can create alignment across their supply chain teams and connect construction processes. “Being able to work from the latest revision of drawings and information means everybody is on the same page. Everybody has the same drawings—the same notes, RFIs, and information. This means we know our team has the same accurate information, and it makes things a lot more streamlined,” reflects Mauno.

Staying Competitive in a Changing Landscape

For Tino, ensuring his workforce has diversity in their roles and the opportunity to learn is key. “Autodesk’s Construction Cloud has opened data for our people – tools traditionally used by designers like BIM collaborate Pro are now accessible to our project management team. They’re easy to understand and we co-locate our project team members so not only can they collaborate on projects more seamlessly, but they can learn from each other across disciplines with technology,” shares Tino. 

The Future of Construction in Finland is Rooted in Technology

Autodesk’s Construction Cloud has immensely simplified collaboration between stakeholders. And when it comes to business forecasting, having a simple environment to estimate and amend bids/costs is critical given the current economic client.

“The price of materials has grown sharply over the last year and we’re finding now that bids we estimated as little as six months ago have increased significantly,” says Tino. Finding cheaper and more efficient ways to manage project costs will be integral to ensuring projects stick to time and budget.

"Autodesk’s Construction Cloud continually gives us the chance to improve our processes through ever-evolving functionality. Time consuming tasks are now more efficient– design mark-ups, for example, are much easier. We add comments straight onto the design," Juri Pelkonen – Architect, Arttuasunnot

Unifying data on smaller projects and scaling out is a focus area for the future. SARA and Arttuasunnot both have their sights set on better design management processes.  "I want to make sure that everyone has access to the documents they need when they get to site. The Autodesk Construction Cloud helps us better coordinate all that information with the many consultants involved, and drives more proficient teamwork on our projects," says Mauno.

Autodesk Construction Cloud provides the team with time savings, drastically reduces miscommunication between stakeholders and eliminates information loss. But for both companies, the benefits are far greater. “Attracting the right talent into the industry and our company is very important if we are to ensure BIM is here to stay,” says Tino. “Newer talent expects us to work in these digital ways, so embedding change amongst our people will remain our focus.”  And for both Suomen Aluerakennuttaja and Arttuasunnot, scaling the use of technology is an iterative journey in the true spirit of ‘agile’ working. Bridging the gap between internal process development and project work must stay both manageable and flexible. This enables both companies to continually iterate processes as the industry evolves but also to ensure that the speed of transformation does not harm the implementation journey.

Sauli Lankinen

Strategic Account Executive, Autodesk Construction Solutions