Process Reengineering

Case Study 2

Smart Underground Utilities, Design Thinking the Process

Excavating trenches along roads and pavements is an expensive and disruptive method of laying pipes and cables, especially the reinstatement of ground surfaces afterwards.   Many of the activities are ad-hoc, labour intensive, difficult to quantify, and difficult to manage.

Using Design Thinking, we are currently developing a set of technologies and processes that solve each part of the problem of installing utilities without trenches, including:

  • Systematic precision 3D geophysical mapping of below ground services and obstacles.
  • Efficient boring and lining of manholes.
  • Horizontal boring and pipe laying between manholes, and between manholes and premises.
  • Techniques to allow each manhole to be used for multiple utilities, for example, telecoms + data + electricity + gas + drinking water + surface runoff water, or combining district heating (flow and return) and sewage.

Each of these technologies is being supported by specially adapted vehicles and plant.   Each activity is performed as a discrete link in a chained work pipeline, creating a streamline business process; reengineering 'organised chaos' into a model joined up business.

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