Culture, not just Process Drives Performance Management in Highways Infrastructure

Single Sourced Framework Agreements are used increasingly to deliver enhanced value for money in highways and infrastructure programmes.
Frameworks can bring long-term consistency to processes and better align individual project goals with asset management strategies. By making it easier to apply lessons learned from one project to subsequent projects, performance and innovation can improve continuously.

For these gains to be fully realised you need more than just performance management systems. Vital as these are, there needs to be a culture for learning, openly sharing lessons from failures, and developing and sharing new ideas.

When frameworks are implemented correctly:

  • Team and personal development plans are aligned with the framework objectives, rather than a specific business or project.
  • There are long-term trusting relationships.
  • All teams have a consistent approach to performance measurement and improvement, and the value delivered is easier to track.
  • The benefits of innovation are shared by customers, suppliers and infrastructure users.

Continuous improvement is not a Bolt-on

In a learning culture, continuous improvement is embedded into all aspects of the framework activities. There must be annual performance objectives, improvement targets and KPIs.

Benchmarking individual framework projects in management reviews also drives improvement and innovation. Friendly competition between projects does no harm.

Managing the supply chain

A main contractor collaborating with their proven specialist supply chains allows innovation to flourish. Procedures for selecting the supply chain must be robust. There needs to be:

  • Regular supplier performance monitoring.
  • Dedicated supplier relationship managers.
  • Supplier development forums.
  • Regular supply chain engagement survey results.

All suppliers must fully buy into the framework objectives and be committed to the culture of openness and innovation.

Tracking performance

The framework should have clear and simple processes to monitor actual spend against planned spend. Other critical elements include Innovation Registers, Environmental Management Plans, and Community Engagement Project Execution Plans, which ensure highways neighbours and local business needs are carefully considered.

A suite of balanced scorecards and performance dashboards will visualise performance management indicators at a glance, enabling prompt and effective intervention to solve problems and maximise highway utilization.

This type of performance management culture takes time to establish. If it isn’t already part of the way your framework supplier does business it may be a while before you see the full value gains you hoped for.

Find out more by visiting Highways learning pages on our website.