Innovate or Die.

08 Jul

It has unfortunately been some time since we pulled our finger out and posted a Blog. I can assure you that we haven’t been idle in the meantime, it’s more of a reflection of the many and varied projects as well as general customer driven workload that keeps us busy. Talking of projects, hopefully some of you will have seen our “back to the drawing board” series of bite size technical YouTube presentations. These are presented by my animated colleague Steve Lloyd using a traditional drawing board as a backdrop (for those more senior of us that remember the pre AutoCAD age) on a variety of technical subjects. So far we have covered:

And in production  is the Classification of Steel Sections for Design Purposes.

If you have a few minutes to spare over a coffee, head over to YouTube and give them a watch. Feedback is always welcome.

Those of you that read New Civil Engineer may have noticed that I have penned several viewpoint articles over the last year or so. A bit of a cheat I know but to finish off this blog, reproduced below is the article on innovation which appeared in the last edition of NCE.

Innovate or die.

Firstly, apologies for plagiarising and modifying the post WW2 “export or die” slogan which was generally associated with the motor industry, in the days that we had we actually had one, and the need for foreign money to keep Britain afloat. However, in this fast paced digital age, I can’t help feeling that the principal of the adage applies as strongly now as back then.

Industry thrives on innovation; a thought that entered my head during an internal product development meeting I attended last week. As suppliers of proprietary temporary works equipment, we at Groundforce Shorco are constantly looking for new and better ways of doing things safer, faster and generally more efficiently. Looking back, the last 10 years has seen major changes within below-ground temporary works. The size and scope of projects that can now be tackled with rental based proprietary equipment never ceases to amaze me; I can remember when 6m square, 5m deep manhole pits were a big ask. 

We are now firmly in the digital age, headlined by the BIM revolution of course. However, behind the BIM banner are many initiatives and projects that use modern digital technology to provide vast amounts of information. For example, a quick scan on YouTube will reveal a plethora of very clever animated training and product information videos that are instantly accessible on the electronic devices that everyone today carries about their person. Virtual reality (VR) is likely to be the next thing that hits us. Currently perceived as a gimmick when done properly, this is truly an incredible and literally mind blowing experience. It has the potential to revolutionise many areas of information transfer such as training and product usage.

So what drives us forward? Healthy market competition for a start. There is no time to sit on laurels as complacency leads to stagnation, traits than can easily be exploited by keen competitors. Delivering value and market awareness are other factors that push us forward. Global issues such as carbon dioxide emissions, global warming, sustainability and the better use of resources pressurise us to design smarter, more efficiently and economically. Clever use of materials in equipment design can lead to huge gains and clear market advantage.

Are we innovating quickly enough? Probably not, but there are too many factors involved to ponder on this question in here. However one thing for sure is that engineers love a challenge and indeed need to be challenged, whether it is simply solving problems or designing and developing new equipment systems or methods; this is what we thrive on, and returning to the article title, it is what keeps us alive.

Anyway thats all for now; and as we enter the holiday season I wish you all a pleasant summer and holiday break if you can afford one after the referendum vote last week.

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