Embracing offsite manufacture and Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) is fast becoming a strategic priority for many businesses. As the largest regional builder in the UK, the supply chain partners that Kier works with are integral to the continued success of our business.

To make it as simple as possible for organisations to choose offsite, and to showcase the diverse range of MMC manufacturers across the UK and beyond, Kier has partnered with the Supply Chain Sustainability School to develop a database specifically for MMC manufacturers. Here, Elizabeth Cook from Kier Strategic Projects explains how the new database can aid sustainable procurement.

“Through our behavioural change initiative at Kier, The Choice Factory, we are constantly looking for new ways in which to make offsite manufacture and MMC more accessible for our colleagues, clients and supply chain. As a team, we are often asked which manufacturers to approach when considering adopting a specific offsite methodology for a new scheme, so we wanted to come up with a dynamic way of communicating this information, as well as making it open and accessible in order to benefit the wider industry.

As the largest regional builder in the UK, Kier is ideally placed to leverage the data held within our business to kick-start the development of an MMC Database. Recognising that MMC has a crucial part to play in any sustainability strategy, we saw that we could also use the platform to make it easier for project teams to consider more holistic criteria than simply cost when selecting supply chain partners.

By combining our extensive knowledge of the offsite supply chain with data held by the Supply Chain Sustainability School, we were able to develop an initial picture of the offsite market, which is now evolving quickly as new manufacturers register on the database.

The resulting interactive map is fully searchable, and colour-coded to reflect the full spectrum of MMC technologies available, making it quick and easy to find a manufacturer’s details for a project via the geographical location of their factories.

Project teams can locate offsite manufacturing facilities near to a specific construction site or select suppliers in areas that could most benefit from economic uplift, consciously bringing sustainable employment to these communities by selecting a manufacturer in that location. It is also possible to see whether manufacturers are BES 6001 certified (Responsible sourcing of construction products), whether they have waste take-back strategies in place, or whether or not they are registered with the Supply Chain Sustainability School, bringing responsible procurement to the forefront of initial selection criteria.

We are extremely pleased with how well the MMC Database has been received so far. In fact, a number of manufacturers have already signed up to the School as a direct result, which is just brilliant.

We hope that by being able to visually communicate offsite procurement opportunities for a project through the MMC Database, we can bring economic, environmental and social considerations to our selection of supply chain partners.

This is just one of the initiatives that the Kier Choice Factory team is implementing, all of which are designed to reduce the ‘friction’ involved in the decision-making process, with the ambition of making MMC an easy, almost default, choice.”

" It is really important for clients and professional designers to understand the capabilities of the offsite construction supply chain. This interactive map allows offsite manufacturers to have visibility of who does what in the supply chain and to start the process of building those really important collaborations "
Ian Heptonstall Director Supply Chain Sustainability School