PhD student's research links construction firm Costain and DSV Panalpina
16 October 2019
Quality issues cause a wide range of problems across different industries. However, in the construction industry, it is very common that repetitive mistakes are made during key construction activities on all projects, and there is little evidence of a ‘right first-time’ culture. Gavin Ford (PhD candidate at Cardiff Business School) aims to investigate.
Education and background
I have always been passionate about engineering. From a young age I have always been inquisitive as to how things have been constructed. Whether that be a bridge or other infrastructure on our busy transportation network.
I successfully achieved my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Swansea University consecutively in 2010 and 2011, whereby I got a job with a design company.
Since 2011, I have spent over 8 years delving into various roles within the construction sector. Starting as a graduate designer, then moving my way through the ranks of graduate engineer, sector engineer, senior engineer to quality manager.
Currently, I am the Quality and Handover Lead for the largest highways project in the UK (£1.4B A14 Highways project in Cambridge).
My drive and enthusiasm, coupled with the support from my parent company, Costain, has positively encouraged me to pursue my passion of making a difference in the construction world. This has come in the form of cutting-edge PhD research.
There are many data sources that capture quality problems (e.g. Non-conformance reporting, snagging data, defects), but these are rarely analysed for meaningful patterns and systematic solutions. Hence, the aim of the project is to mitigate the likelihood of future error, employing reverse and forward engineering approaches. This will allow a focus on what we did wrong and build-in resilience to mitigate the risk of repetition.
The project will bring together elements of Operations Research, Systems Engineering and Operations Management. It is proposed that a co-operative inquiry case approach is adopted, whereby I will work closely with participating organisations to bring together quantitative archival data and opinion based information through qualitative approaches.
Initially, making use of extensive Non-Conformance data supplied by various projects within Costain, including the A14, my intent is to analyze the data qualitatively using a complexity framework (Snowden and Boone 2007) to identify appropriate solution responses for different quality problems.
As such, the title “Forecasting and Decision Making in Different Operation Environments” has been devised to capture my PhD research. After initial explorations with Costain, I plan to test the approach in different environments at Panalpina and Markes, so please do get in touch if this is of interest.