The SCC spoke to five Member companies about how they have implemented change to evolve and stay relevant.
... build cities
“Businesses and government organisations face a significant and shifting engineering challenge in designing the cities and communities that will help shape a more sustainable future,” said Managing Director, Max Joy of Sweco UK. Their method of sharing best practices from across the globe represents a new approach, and it is having a positive impact in helping to deliver the right solutions for a world that is constantly changing. One thing that Sweco is doing differently is their use of collaborative thinking and scenario modelling to push design boundaries and deliver buildings that are exceptional by today’s standards and prepared for those of tomorrow. This approach played a key role in Bloomberg’s new European HQ achieving BREEAM’s (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) highest ever design-stage rating (98.5%) for an office development. Briefed by Michael Bloomberg to “push the boundaries of sustainable design”, Sweco’s “what if” approach ensured no idea was off the table, no matter how outlandish. This modern approach will result in the building delivering water savings of 73 percent and energy savings of 35 percent compared to a typical office. In line with their heritage in the “renewables-rich” Nordic region, Sweco has developed over half of all wind farms built in the UK over the last eight years, placing themselves at the forefront of the renewables market to help the UK and Ireland progress towards their 2020 energy targets, according to Joy. Looking ahead, the business is planning for significant growth in the UK and have already secured loyal partners. “Our work with Irish Water will see us develop a future proofed system designed on supporting it for the next 25 years, long after our commercial agreement will expire,” Joy commented. According to Sweco, their focus on sustainability is set to grow, and organisations across all sectors will need local support to meet the engineering challenges they face. Something Sweco is ready to attend to.
“In the past, commuters viewed their travel time as ‘grey time’, when they were unproductive and often bored during their commute. Even worse, buying a bus or train ticket was viewed as a distress purchase,” Peter Kingsland at internet access supplier Icomera said. Icomera, founded by students studying at Chalmers Institute of Technology, provides connectivity solutions to high speed trains and public transport. In the beginning of the 21st century, Icomera introduced radical new ways of thinking and working with technology procurement in the public transport sector, which today has become much more mainstream when it comes to commuting. Icomera’s technology has enabled the “connected journey” in the sense that business travellers can continue to work as they would in the office and leisure travellers can stay connected via social media, do online shopping or even catch-up with the latest TV boxsets. For the commuter, this means that their journey to and from work forms a seamless part of their productive day. “Society is on the brink of a paradigm shift in how people travel and has identified good public transportation services critical to easing pressure on urban infrastructure and reducing pollution,” Barnes said. “People will only be motivated to change their behaviour by genuine improvements to their quality of living,” he continued. According to Icomera, the change makes commuting a more attractive way of living, which is also critical for improving economic and social quality of life for the population. The company takes inspiration from the words of Enrique Penalosa, former Mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, who said: “A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transport.” In the future, Icomera believes that safety and security legislations will require data bandwidth to make public transport journeys safer. Transport operators will have to recognise reliability and timeliness of their devices as even more important factors to passengers than before. “The future beyond the connected commuter lies in new technology trends such as 5G and enabling the ‘Internet of Things’ where not just individuals but all devices must be connected,” Barnes said.
“We have shifted from a majority of manual and corrective intensive to more of an automated and preventative concept of work that digitalisation has made possible; we work smarter today,” said David Lyrén, Technical Manager at Holmen Paper, which was founded back in 1609. Lyrén added that Holmen has evolved with the times to stay competitive and to be at the forefront of paper and paperboard production. The change, as a result of the development of technology, has been a good thing for Holmen. “This has proven the concept that if you’re not opened-minded and willing to try new ideas, you will soon find yourself lagging behind very fast. Your windshield needs to be much larger than your rear mirror,” Lyrén said. The biggest hurdle however has been to embrace the change as the company evolved, according to Lyrén. “But once we passed that it has been our greatest gain,” he added. But as technology continues to evolve people will not become obsolete. Lyrén said: “As far as I can see we will always need people to optimise production and our machinery, making sure our plants run at a maximum availability. Relying even more on new tools and systems, that help us in our daily decision-making and that can predict status of equipment far better and earlier than now, we will have people working in other ways than today.”
... deliver products
When it comes to shopping, more of us are choosing to buy online. But convenience often fails when it comes to the delivery. If you’re lucky, you may be offered same day delivery, but you’re probably going to have to wait a day or so, and your items are going to be delivered to your home. If the items are larger than your letter box, you might have to stay at home or find the dreaded “sorry we missed you” card on your doormat and end up collecting your item yourself or having to arrange another delivery. Currently present in Stockholm, London and Paris, delivery company Urb-it offers an alternative and innovative way of delivering products to customers. “Urb-it utilises elements of a sharing economy by offering an easy and eco-friendly delivery option replacing the traditional home delivery and click-and-collect options when buying online,” said Matt Gayleard, Chief Brand Officer. Urb-it can go to the store for you and bring it to you, wherever you are. You can choose the exact time, or you can have it brought to you, in as little as an hour, and they’ll bring it to you anywhere; a restaurant, the train station on your way home, to your office, even the park. Urb-it offers a crowd-sourced community of delivery assistants, called Urbers, who are notified through an app when an order has been placed and they go and get your items and bring them to you, using only public transport or by foot. With this flexible approach, Urb-it has adapted to the rapidly and ever-changing shopping environment and consumer behaviours.
“In today’s world, we have become more and more used to having access to all products regardless of original destination, available in our stores seven days a week. Online shopping with 24-hour delivery to a nearby location or our doorstep is now expected. We can order food from a nearby restaurant and have it delivered within the hour. All those situations require an enormous amount of transport,” said David Dick at Blue Advisory Group. As a result, the total number of trucking miles has increased significantly, causing large amounts of emissions. Blue Advisory Group assists their transport clients in becoming more climate neutral. Among other things the company is focusing on the electronic ferry market, which is expected to have a dramatic growth. More efficient trucks, engines and the replacement of traditional fuels has ensured that the increase in emissions has not become linear, according to Dick. But he added: “Still, there is a great challenge to reduce emissions so as not to cause environmental impact.” Many manufacturers of trucks, cars and vessels are working to become more sustainable and are now offering new drivelines based on new technology such as biogas, electricity and fuel cells. However, often the technical solutions require new infrastructure for charging or fueling trucks that has not been fully developed or rolled out geographically. He believed that there are two factors which drive change in the sector: economy and regulation. But also consumers can take active decisions to avoid purchasing products and services that come with a “long mileage”, said Dick. “Consumers will become more and more aware of how they can have a heavy impact on the wellbeing of our planet. We believe there will be rapid changes in the distribution of goods and services, that the strategic targets must come from the society and politics, with corporations having to handle major change if they want to become ‘fit for the future’ and stay in business.”