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Australasia engineers urged to ‘turn up the focus on process’ by ICE President

01 April 2022

Ed McCann highlighted process as key to the infrastructure productivity challenge during an online Q&A with more than 100 engineering professionals across Australasia. 

Australasia engineers urged to ‘turn up the focus on process’ by ICE President
Focusing on construction processes rather than projects could unlock efficiency gains, argued McCann. Image credit: David R

ICE President Ed McCann has urged civil engineers in Australia and New Zealand to develop a ‘process improvement mentality’ as a means of improving productivity, the theme of his presidency.

During Talking Productivity: Q&A with ICE President Ed McCann - Australasia, he argued that other sectors, such as manufacturing, have continuous improvement of core processes ‘baked in’.

Meanwhile, infrastructure still lives in a world of projects and programmes, where processes stay largely the same.

He said reframing large infrastructure schemes into a series of repeated activities would enable civil engineers to think more creatively about process improvements and increase effectiveness and efficiency.

‘Real opportunities’

In a lively online discussion, McCann answered questions from an audience of more than 100 ICE members and invited infrastructure professionals from across the Australasia region.

In response to a question on infrastructure contracts, McCann praised the lead Australia and New Zealand is taking on alternative enterprise models.

Ed McCann is the 157th President of ICE
Ed McCann is the 157th President of ICE.

He said ‘alliancing’ (or ‘risk-embracing culture’), focused on long-term relationships with performance-related clauses embedded, could help address efficiency and waste in the supply chain.

Matt Colton, Director, management commercial engineering (MCE) and ICE Council member for Asia Pacific, chaired the discussion.

He said: “Ed McCann has identified real opportunities for us to drive productivity in our work and across the industry.”

“He’s highlighted how, in a world driven by cost, programme and quality, it’s important to understand how we serve society, and ensure our resilience for the future.”

Following roadmaps

The Q&A event came as Infrastructure Australia (IA) outlined a new 10-year reform roadmap for the construction and infrastructure industry.

Delivering Outcomes aims to improve productivity, certainty in delivery costs and timescales, and the sector's financial health. ICE has described the roadmap as a ‘solid blueprint for reform’.

The roadmap topics were explored earlier this year in a Presidential Roundtable with Infrastructure Australia, which highlighted the need for improved collaboration in future infrastructure delivery.

Talking Productivity continues

The theme of improving productivity runs throughout McCann’s 2021/22 ICE presidency, which launched with his inaugural film, 'How to thrive in the 21st Century'.

In the film, he urges the industry to improve its productivity in order to fight the key challenges of today, including climate change.

He’s currently holding a series of informal Talking Productivity online Q&As with ICE members around the world, with North America next in the schedule.

The Australasia event is available to watch again and members can continue the discussions on productivity and other infrastructure topics via the ICE Australia & New Zealand LinkedIn group.

  • Annie Leverington, Australasia manager at ICE