John Holland Group Begins Digital Transformation

Image source: John Holland Group

John Holland Group is investing in digital technologies in a move to position the company as an industry leader in safety, sustainability and productivity. 

The group’s digital transformation is being led by Chief Information Officer Roger Wahl, who was brought on board in 2019 to spearhead the initiative.

Wahl told The iTnews Podcast that the engineering construction industry is “digitally under-invested and immature” and JHG’s choice to invest now is a calculated one, with governments and other institutions eager to jump on the burgeoning ConTech industry.

“The investment is there from ‘Big Tech’ and from governments because everybody’s going to reap the benefits from a safety and productivity perspective,” Wahl said.

Wahl said the company’s choice to invest in digital will not only give it a competitive advantage over other engineering construction companies, but it will also improve safety and security, whilst reducing overheads and streamlining projects, saving time and helping to win more work.

“John Holland’s executive leadership, led by CEO Joe Barr, are all digitally savvy, and they’re all very much supportive of the fact that digital transformation can give us a competitive advantage [as well as] safety, productivity and sustainability [improvements].

“Technology can help us gain traction in the industry, win more deals, and help the lives of our people,” Wahl said.

The extent of the group’s digital adoption so far includes the use of digital twins and upgrades to core systems like finance, operations and health and safety.

Further to this, JHG is among the first engineering companies in Australia to achieve Kitemark certification, for its use of digital twins across the Building Information Modelling system designed to provide efficiencies across project life cycles, cementing the company’s status as a leader in embedding digital processes across all projects. 

“Some companies just jump to the shiny things like emerging technology, or they have different enterprise resource planning systems across different business units, and things of that nature, which would make it very difficult. 

“That’s not the case with us. We’re going to be on one platform for finance, and for operations, and those platforms will be connected. With a core foundation, you’re all singing from the same sheet of music,” said Wahl.

John Holland Group has historically had a strong focus on people, sustainability and community, and this next phase for the company ties the digital transformation – which hinges upon foundational systems and processes, data and emerging technologies – to those core pillars. 

JHG has another improvement project in the works – The John Holland Way – an internal review of all processes for sustainability, repeatability and modernisation. 

Wahl said each process is assessed for “automations and data and connections,” and those needing improvement are implemented into the digital plan. 

The company’s move into a new digital era means a host of benefits for not only the operations team, but its customers, who will enjoy faster lead times and improved on-site processes. 

New digital processes also mean JHG’s bid process will become more data-driven, allowing the bid team to rely less on a ‘gut feel’.

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