Blythe Construction is partnering with its European parent company, Eurovia-VINCI, to create a global operations system for use in 15 countries throughout the world. The project, which has been in the works for years, will finally begin this spring in Paris, France. Employees from all 15 countries and every major division of company operations will be involved. The total design of the system is expected to take no less than one year. Once completed, it will allow companies within the Eurovia network to connect in ways never before possible.
In Charlotte, NC, one of Blythe’s tenured Project Managers, Ted Dietz, has accepted the assignment of moving overseas to assist with designing the program. He is finalizing plans to leave in March of this year to begin the early design phases. An employee whose position relies heavily on the current system, known as Kheops, Dietz understands its many benefits as well as its limitations. It’s those limitations which he and the rest of the design team are going to France to fix.
“The system that’s in place now does a decent job,” Dietz explains, “but there are many important processes that simply can’t be performed inside the program.” Monthly cost reporting, for example, and project analysis. “Our goal is to create a successor to Kheops that is capable of everything that we need it to do. We’re going back to the drawing board.”
Designing a comprehensive operations system is a major challenge for any company, not least of all one with as many divisions as Eurovia-VINCI, of which Blythe Construction is just one. There are language barriers, for starters. Plus, there are as many, if not more, operational differences based on country-by-country construction regulations. All of which, according to Dietz, makes Eurovia’s inclusive approach to creating the new system so innovative.
“It’s an ambitious plan,” he says, “and a testament to Eurovia’s commitment to its employees. Because they could’ve just brought in an IT team and redesigned the system and said, ‘Here it is, now go use it.’ Instead, they chose to involve the employees who actually use the system on regular basis to do their jobs. They chose to build something that actually works.”
Dietz is one of dozens of Eurovia employees who will spend the next year or more doing just that—designing the new system, and making sure it works. The group will represent not only 15 countries but also multiple departments within the company, from accounting to equipment, HR to project management. Together the entire team and their families will be based near Eurovia headquarters a few miles outside of Paris. Over the course of the next year they will meet, exchange ideas, discuss possibilities, and collaborate to achieve their goal of unveiling the system in April 2020 in Canada.
Asked about the challenges of such a large-scale undertaking, Dietz says they are far outweighed by the potential benefits. “It’s an opportunity for idea sharing and exposure to new ways of thinking,” he says. “If we can get this right, we’ll have accomplished something unique that’s of real value to our company’s operations.”