RAMS now take 30 mins instead of 6 hours, saving project managers 4 hours per week
The number of rejected RAMS dropped from 100% to 4%
An annual saving of over £30,000 since using HandsHQ
When Don Urquhart joined BJF Group, he immediately understood that the organisation’s risk assessment process wouldn’t support its ambitious growth plans. As Head of SHEQ, Don is responsible for ensuring the company achieves compliance to the highest degree, and protecting the company from any potential prosecutions and offsetting risk.
He needed to build an integrated management system (IMS) that championed BJF’s dedication to quality, health and safety, and RAMS production was a core focus of this.
“Consistency was a huge challenge - the information going into RAMS, how we wrote them, and how to calculate risk. Every one was different; there was no standard”, said Urquhart. “I spent all day writing, or rewriting, RAMS to ensure compliance; it wasn’t a sustainable way of working.”
The BJF team were writing upwards of 50 risk assessments per month, typically taking six hours each to create. There was no approval process to sign off RAMS, and they experienced a 98% rejection rate. Documents required multiple revisions taking a further 2-3 hours, before approval and jobs were frequently delayed.
Don had targets to achieve around the number of risk assessments created, audits completed, and the status of processes. There was an urgent need to investigate safety performance solutions to achieve these targets.
As a quick win, he implemented a standard format for the team to follow in Word, allowing him to dedicate time to searching for the right solution.
“I worked to understand what they wanted from a digital process: how they would like it to work and the experience they wanted. The message was clear: we needed it to be simple,” said Urquhart. “The team is technically advanced and highly trained, but incredibly busy. A solution couldn’t just be a blank document. It needed to be instinctive and alleviate us from the downtime involved in writing RAMS.”
“As soon as I saw HandsHQ, it was a lightbulb moment; I knew it was the right platform immediately.”
Over the next nine months, Don travelled across the country to meet vendors, learn more about RAMS software solutions, and see demos to determine which made the shortlist of 15 platforms.
The right solution needed to:
“As soon as I saw HandsHQ, it was a lightbulb moment; I knew it was the right platform immediately. The process was instinctive; you could anticipate what would happen next; it offered a much simpler way of working,” said Urquhart. “And I was so impressed with the construction background of the company, which was distinctly missing in the other vendors. HandsHQ understood creating RAMS in construction.”
After the first demo, Don took HandsHQ to BJF’s project managers to gauge their thoughts, and “everyone asked when they could have it; they immediately understood that HandsHQ would give them time back.”
Feedback was so resoundingly positive that BJF’s Managing Director was brought into the meeting, and the decision was made there and then to go ahead with purchasing the platform.
BJF deployed HandsHQ on half of its projects for the first six months as a pilot before implementing it across the business. It had an immediate impact: the pilot projects moved away from paper-based forms and users were creating high-quality RAMS in HandsHQ within the first month.
An internal education process enabled the cultural shift to a digital process. Don commented on completed documents for the first few months to inform the team what changes were needed, and how RAMS could be improved. Within three months, the team was producing very detailed specialist RAMS that were held up as exceptional examples to teach the rest of the business.
In the first year, BJF saw the typical time it took to create a RAMS drop from six hours to just thirty minutes. Each project manager has been able to save four hours per week, 1320 hours per year across the team. Don has personally seen his time spent on RAMS drop from 70% to 2%, and the time remaining is focused solely on specialist documents. BJF experience a reduction in its rejection rate from 98% to 4% (and this has subsequently dropped to 0.5%).
Moreover, these results have driven significant cost savings to the business. Before HandsHQ, BJF spent over £40,000 on RAMS per year when the time taken to create and amend documents and salaries were factored in. Compared to the cost BJF spent creating RAMS using HandsHQ in one year, they’ve seen a savings of over £30,000 annually. This drove a 363% ROI in the first year of using HandsHQ. And these aren’t the only benefits the company has seen.
“HandsHQ has improved my job in several ways. It makes me happy that the people who should be using it are, can pick it up quickly and the quality remains high,” said Urquhart who randomly checks ten risk assessments per month to critique as continual learning and improvement for the team.
“We can demonstrate to auditors that we are using high-quality products that deliver excellent documentation to our customers. Our clients love our RAMS and use them as a best practice amongst their sub-contractors, and on top of that we’ve had the HSE and barristers using them in the same way.”
“It’s also significantly improved our reporting capabilities around RAMS. We report to the board monthly on how many are created, to what standard and by whom. We target employees on RAMS, get new starters using HandsHQ from day one, and have coaches within different divisions to ensure standards remain high”.
BJF Group is a multi-division building solutions company. Their divisions are comprised of Construction, Facilities Management, Mechanical & Electrical and Project Services.