Travel Inn introduced Asite as part of a drive to improve the efficiency of Travel Inn's £70m construction spend per annum. Asite's collaborative solution was piloted in three Travel Inn schemes around the country, including the £8m hotel beside the ExCeL Exhibition Centre in Docklands and has realized project cost savings estimated at 1% and minimised project risk. Following the success of the pilots, Travel Inn extended the use of Asite to their 'Touchbase' meeting and business centres as well the Travel Inn extension and refurbishment programme.
As part of their programme of innovative construction techniques to increase efficiencies and drive down costs, Travel Inn's property team, headed up by Richard Harris commissioned Asite to run three pilot schemes using Asite - working on the construction of new Travel Inns in Liverpool, Sheffield and London (ExCeL). Other efficiency-driving initiatives have included off-site fabrication of bedroom pods and the long-term partnering arrangements with their suppliers. A project team of 65+ people based around the country worked on the London Docklands ExCeL Travel Inn. The 54 week project was completed in 2003.
Whilst the firms involved in the project had all partnered with Travel Inn before and were already used to working together, none of them had previously collaborated online. The challenge was, therefore, to prove real tangible savings and ensure that all members of the project team were comfortable with using Asite to achieve maximum time and cost savings.
Asite was able to advise Travel Inn on the best use of Asite's collaborative solution for their requirements and provide them with the expertise needed to identify how it should be used amongst the project team and the training and technical help required to do so.
The first stage of implementing the collaboration solution was for Asite's consultants to review workflows and processes with the Travel Inn project team. These project workflows and processes were then replicated within Asite allowing project members to approve drawings, create Requests for Information (RFIs) and provide Confirmation of Verbal Instructions (CVIs) online.
The Asite solution enabled authorised members of the Travel Inn project team to view, share and review project information simply by logging onto Asite. Asite then delivered a customised training programme for each project to ensure that all users became familiar with the plstform and that each participating company derived maximum benefit from Asite and new streamlined processes.
Easier to access information - The project team used Asite as a central repository to store and circulate all project information such as drawings, contract administration, site photographs and reports. This resulted in increased accuracy and time savings.
Visibility of project team progress - The version control and audit functionality within the tool provided the client and all team members with visibility of progress and actions. Instead of making phone calls to get information on the project progress, this was easily accessible by logging onto Asite.
Easy to use - "Its not difficult - it's as easy as surfing the web. You just click on a few files." Despite not having used collaboration tools before, all of Contractor Pearce Leisure Services sub-contractors successfully used the tool. Those partners that were initially not so comfortable with using the tool overcame this through practice and with the support of Asite's training programme.
Reduction in project risk - Asite provided the ExCeL project with a single source of real-time information visible to authorised members of the team. The version control functionality ensured that users were directed to the latest version of the information but were able to track actions against previous versions. The robust audit trail gave visibility of all actions associated with the use of the extranet site.
Cost savings - By using Asite, Travel Inn realised tangible benefits "reducing the cost of printing, drawings, postage". The tool provided improved efficiencies in contract administration and processes such as drawing approval and financial control.
Asite worked with Travel Inn and the project team to identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) against which the tangible benefits of implementing a collaboration tool could be measured. The process of benchmarking is still ongoing, but based on figures to date, Travel Inn estimate cost savings to be in the region of 1%.
Between 1993 and 2001, Whitbread has been Britain's fastest growing hotel company, developing more hotels and more rooms than any other operator. A strategy based on the growth of the budget and four-star hotels was realised through the creation of Travel Inn in 1987 and the securing of the UK rights to the Marriott brand in 1995.The transformation of both brands into market leaders in their sectors fuelled dramatic expansion of the Whitbread group.
"We know the contractor is going to be using the most up to date drawings because the latest drawing is on the system rather than in the post. This saves time and reduces risk. In the past any queries regarding drawings would have to be made by post or wait until the next site visit. The result is delays which costs money." Richard Harris, Travel Inn, Director of Property.