Edinburgh-based software company PODFather improves HS2 logistics

An Edinburgh-based construction software supplier has made a big impact on the enabling works programme for Phase One of HS2, with logistics and safety compliance software speeding up processes on sites across the West Midlands.   

Working with HS2’s enabling works contractor, LM-JV (a joint venture made up of Laing O’Rourke and J. Murphy), PODFather has implemented a system of construction site logistics, vehicle safety compliance and material tracking software.

The fully automated system tracks and monitors deliveries and allows suppliers to book them in on a digital system, negating the need for spreadsheets and printed paper tickets, and reduces time lost waiting for processing as bookings can be managed efficiently in real time.

The system has also supported LM JVs compliance with environmental controls as all vehicles that show up on site or travel between sites are monitored and tracked. Being able to monitor this has allowed for measures to be put in place to reduce unnecessary vehicle movements, reducing the impact on local roads and improving air quality.PODFather is an SME based in Edinburgh, employing 40 people from the local area.

Working on the HS2 project has meant that they have been able to create new roles and sustain employment levels through the Covid-19 pandemic. The company became engaged in the HS2 project in 2013 and attended events designed to support business interested in working on the project such as ‘Meet the Contractor’ events. This was where they were introduced to LM JV and subsequently won work directly with HS2’s enabling works contractor in the West Midlands.

David Poole, Procurement and Commercial Director, said:“As we build HS2 there will be hundreds of thousands of opportunities for companies within the supply chain. Now more than ever, HS2 is critical to the economic recovery and will support thousands of jobs across the country.“It is great that companies across the UK, including PODFather in Edinburgh, are already delivering for the HS2 project and we encourage more businesses of all sizes from across the UK to bid for work to help us build Britain’s new high speed railway.”

Speaking about working with PODFather, Aaron Toon LM-JV;s Logistics Manager said:“Traditional logistics management systems relied on spreadsheets and printed paper tickets. Our busy enabling works programme required realtime tracking of deliveries, with the ability to report directly each day, without waiting for paperwork to be sent in. Through the automated planning, tracking and ePOD system from PODFather, we’ve been able to manage approximately 20 contractors over 60 sites of varying size and scope, receiving around 90 reports a day, six days a week.”

Colin McCreadie, Managing Director at PODFather, said:“Projects like HS2 run for a long time so it’s essential that we form close relationships with our clients to ensure the system is fit-for-purpose, and continuously improve the solution based on changing end-user requirements as the project goes through its various phases of construction. The benefits of digital transformation experienced by LM JV are not uncommon and speeding the flow of data through an organisation, delivering it in a format required for the different users that need to consume it, saves time and improves quality. In the construction sector, it also improves safety,”

To date, over 2,000 UK registered companies have won work on HS2, and over 9000 jobs have been supported. It is estimated that around 95% of contract opportunities on the project will be won by UK based businesses and around two thirds of those will be small and medium sized businesses.

HS2 is already supporting around 13,000 jobs. During its 20-year construction it will create over 30,000 engineering and construction jobs – including 2,000 apprentices – directly on its sites and many more thousands in the supply chain around the country.

Investment in HS2 is an investment in the nation’s SMEs – the country’s engine room.  Over 2,000 companies have already delivered work on HS2. 95% of HS2 contracts have gone to UK-based businesses – 60% of those are SMEs.

HS2 remains integral to the plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail and Midlands Engine Rail. Now more than ever it is vital that people of all ages and abilities will be able to access the jobs, education and training opportunities that will rebalance the UK economy and spread economic wealth.

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