Balfour Beatty Services Division

Business Management System...our Journey


Mark Hanson, Management Systems Advisor for Balfour Beatty Services, was a presenter at the 2013 Triaster Customer Experience Exchange. His insightful and interesting overview of their Business Management System's (BMS) journey has been captured below.

Mark explained that Balfour Beatty is an integrated infrastructure services group, which is split into a number of divisions:

  • Infrastructure Investments
  • Professional Services
  • Construction Services
  • Support Services

Balfour Beatty Services designs, manages and maintains power supplies, gas and water pipelines, street lighting, road improvements and repairs, public spaces and rail infrastructure.

It employs around 10,000 people and in 2012 had an order book of £5.7bn.

'Our BMS journey'

Balfour Beatty Power Networks first used the Triaster Solution as a process mapping tool (only) in order to maintain ISO 9001.

In 2008 Power Networks was amalgamated with another Balfour Beatty company to form Utility Solutions. The two companies had employed very different approaches to their process mapping and business management systems. However, following their amalgamation, the emphasis was put on 'mashing' together their two BMS', rather than a full process review. The result was very confusing for users, particularly as two styles of process maps still existed.

bbs_1Typical 'Utilities' process map, showing full process life cycle, usually printed on A0!

bbs_1_2Typical 'Power Networks' process map, showing individual process, normally printed on A4/A3

As Mark said, the end result was certainly not useful, usable or (therefore) used. In 2010 a new MD was appointed to Utility Solutions who recognised the need for a better BMS to support Balfour Beatty's Zero Harm commitment. This committed the Balfour Beatty Group to achieving zero fatalities and zero permanently disabling injuries by 2012.

A project team was set up to design, build and deliver a new BMS to the business. A full review of all its process maps (around 600) and documents (about 1,900) was carried out. It became apparent that about 800 of the documents were owned by the document controller. These were re-allocated to their appropriate owners and the total numbers of documents were reduced to about 1,100.

All 600 process maps were reviewed and updated according to a new process mapping standard adopted across Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions. This was supported by the roll out of a new process mapping Stencil and Template. A Stage Gate Process was agreed, whereby nothing could be published to the BMS unless it has been agreed and signed off by a central team. This process was specifically designed to 'leftshift' risk away from operations.

The scalability and flexibility of the Triaster Solution enables BMS' to suit multiple and ever changing requirements.
Mark Hanson, Management Systems Advisor Balfour Beatty Services

Three Process Levels were adopted, classified as follows:

  • Level One maps: an overview of how a Sector or Function operates.


  • Level Two maps: the day-to-day activities carried out by that particular Sector or Function. These are mainly used by those people who are carrying out the task.


  • Level Three maps: usually very detailed (work instruction type) maps that are specific to that area or contract and can be used to assist personnel to achieve a standardised outcome.


Process Mapping 'champions' were introduced. They were given a great deal of autonomy over the process maps for their area of work, provided that they complied with the standards set.

Our BMS is a major differentiator when bidding for work. In one joint venture (JV) bid, the client was presented with an interactive disk containing all of the JV's end-to-end processes (linking to all the relevant policies, procedures and standard forms) thereby detailing how the work would be delivered. The nine year, £414M contract was awarded in 2012.
Mark Hanson, Management Systems Advisor Balfour Beatty Services

A new front end for the BMS (or Library homepage) was adopted. Three design options were presented to the business, one of which came out on top by a long way. The top 10 documents are updated monthly based on the number of document views; the Business Stage Gates are embedded into the process. Colours are used to indicate functions and this carries through into the process maps using coloured Activities and Indicators. The lead function is always the front Activity, with involved functions showing behind. This information is also captured as properties and so can be reported on.

The new BMS was launched in September 2012 and following training to explain the system to over a thousand end users, is regarded as a single source of truth by the staff.

It has been so successful that Mark is now tasked with adding two more Balfour Beatty Services companies' processes to the BMS and possibly more in the future. This is quite a feat, 'but absolutely possible given the scalability of the Triaster Solution'.

I am a big fan of Data Manager and Simulation and Aggregation. The AS-IS and TO-BE can be mapped and simulations run against these. The business case is then in place, when you go to senior management with suggestions for improvement.
Mark Hanson, Management Systems Advisor Balfour Beatty Services


Lessons learnt

Mark summarised these neatly as follows:

  • PLAN your project effectively; try to map out your approach and significant timelines using a project plan.
  • ESTABLISH your project team early on, ensure that you have the right mix of people who can assist with the decision making process.
  • COMMUNICATE your BMS project to the wider business - and keep personnel up to date at key milestones. Your BMS relies on its users, telling people about the project early helps the engagement process.
  • DON'T do it all yourself, getting the users involved helps them feel empowered - whilst also giving employees new skills.
  • USE your project team to deliver key messages - this ensures a consistent message with any corporate / central communications.
  • CHALLENGE is massively important to the success of your system, ask your colleagues to feedback suggestions and improvements - even if this is negative it will help you to improve your system!

Winning work through your Library

Mark spoke enthusiastically about how their BMS is helping Balfour Beatty Services to win business. In a joint venture (JV) bid with CLG Developments Ltd as part of the submission, the client - Bord Gais Networks in the Republic of Ireland - was presented with an interactive disk containing all of the JV's end-to-end processes and linking to all the relevant policies, procedures and standard forms.

Their starting point for this submission was the Balfour Beatty BMS, which was then customised to take into account the specifics of the project, in particular that Irish law applied. This saved countless hours in producing the submission (not to mention a few trees) and enabled the JV to detail its approach to the delivery of the works.


The contract was awarded in early 2012 with Balfour Beatty CLG winning the nine year £414M contract. Balfour Beatty CLG then successfully went through both ISO9001 and ISO14001 certification with the help of the Process Library.

Balfour Beatty Services now uses this approach as standard to support tenders. It is proving very successful and therefore popular with the Bid Teams, Directors and Clients.

What the future holds

Mark summarised plans for their BMS moving forward:

  • To develop and deliver a single BMS to the Services Division based on the current Balfour Beatty Utility Solutions model.
  • To embed Risk Management into their processes to ensure that 'Generic Controls' are managed effectively.
  • To make full use of Triaster's Value Stream Mapping capabilities (including the use of Aggregation and Simulation) to drive process improvements and reduce cost. 'I am a big fan of Data Manager and Simulation and Aggregation. The AS-IS and TO-BE can be mapped and simulations run against these. The business case is then in place, when you go to senior management with suggestions for improvement.'
  • To make full use of the Mobile capabilities as they are rolled out by Triaster to produce a BMS that works for all users, both office and site based.
  • Delivery to the Services Division anticipated Mid 2014.
  • Thank you Mark, for sharing these experiences, both at Triaster's Customer Experience Exchange and in the Connector.

    Mark Hanson presents to the 2013 Triaster Customer Experience Exchange.


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