Global engineering and construction giant Laing O’Rourke is bringing change to the plant and equipment hire sector in Australia, supported by construction software platform COINS.
Laing O’Rourke is a $6 billion international operation with 70 years of involvement in the Australian construction and infrastructure industries, including nearly two decades under the Laing O’Rourke banner.
As part of an expansion project more than half-a-year in the making, Select Plant Australia, a business unit of Laing O’Rourke, is offering plant and equipment hire to the wider engineering and construction sectors.
Select Plant Australia innovation, systems and technology lead Omar Al-Khayat says the COINS plant and asset management platform allowed the organisation to consolidate software systems and easily transition the business model.
“We’re currently going through a transition from purely an asset management business model to plant and equipment hire that’s both internal and external to Laing O’Rourke,” says Al-Khayat. “With that comes a growth in our asset base, and a change in mindset and ethos of how we work and the way that we’re transacting.”
“We’re not just looking after and maintaining an asset; we’re also looking to transact on that asset.”
Al-Khayat says the change was about consolidating the multiple software systems that Select Plant Australia is using for asset maintenance, preventative maintenance and storing information.
“It’s really about bringing those three things together into one place and we realised COINS had the functionality to provide that database,” Al-Khayat says. “COINS allows us to do it all – including preventative maintenance planning and scheduling, which is all then linked directly into its job card functionality, so that we can raise a work order to do the job.”
“By bringing those three components together, it means we can have one less software system to maintain, support and connect with the workshop teams.
“Then they’re able to do the work from end-to-end, without having to go somewhere else to get data and information.”
The consolidation of its software systems also allowed the business to achieve efficiencies in both time and revenue, he says. “Our plant workshop has now been able to take the entire asset maintenance role on themselves, whereas previously it required the coordination of multiple teams to maintain an asset base,” explains Al-Khayat. “COINS allows us to not only consolidate software systems but simplify data and reporting too.”
One source of truth
Laing O’Rourke head of information technology Andrew Lankowski says the COINS platform is crucial for the organisation’s decision makers.
“COINS is our financial source of truth,” says Lankowski. “The ability to operate multiple financial entities within one operating company is a huge advantage for us.”
“There are a myriad of COINS reports and dashboards which feed information to decision makers – whether they’re project leaders or executives looking at forecasting or cash flow – and it’s essential they get accurate and up-to-date information.”
The collaborative working relationship Laing O’Rourke has with the COINS team is also part of the reason for the successful partnership between the two companies, Lankowski explains.
“It’s important to have reassurance we can grow within the product and having a local presence in Australia we can work with directly is vital from a support and partnering perspective,” says Lankowski.
“There’s a huge benefit to being able to pick up the phone and talk directly to Jim Farrer, the managing director of COINS in Australia, and we work well in that regard. This level of support and united way of working together is priceless.
“It’s also comforting to know that Jim and his team, who are now part of The Access Group, can bring considerable additional capabilities offered by Access to the region.”
A global solution and lasting partnership
COINS principal solutions architect Wayne Kemp says Laing O’Rourke uses the COINS platform globally to manage its complex scale and structure. “To have a product like COINS that has that capability and scalability to manage all those complexities of that organisational and business structure is important,” Kemp says.
“Laing O’Rourke has been using COINS for nearly 30 years in Australia, and as there have been major technology shifts and improvements in that time, COINS has been able to meet those core requirements of the organisation, and they’re still with us today.”
COINS places strong emphasis on building collaborative and supportive partnerships with all its clients, Kemp says, allowing the company to prove time and time again that it delivers customer implementations on-time and on-budget.
“Our average customer life span exceeds ten years,” he says. “That shows that successful construction companies not only choose COINS but are able to grow and scale their use of the COINS solutions over the long-term as their needs change.”
“COINS is able to integrate with Laing O’Rourke’s other systems. We’ve got open architecture and the technical prowess to support that integration.
“They can also tap into COINS’ own global support network, providing them with access to the technology and functional skill sets that COINS can provide.”
COINS integrates and supports, provides governance, industrial strength compliance and security access control, says Kemp, but also offers business improvement opportunities such as what Select Plant Australia has undertaken with plant asset control.
“The COINS Australia team looks forward to continuing its support of highly innovative businesses focussed on excellence, such as Laing O’Rourke and Select Plant Australia, whose transport infrastructure projects are vital to Australia,” Kemp says.
Omar Al-Khayat echoes Kemp’s emphasis on the importance of a collaborative business partnership to ensure success.
“Our business is in a state of change and the services and offerings we provide are changing and flexing as we find where we fit in the market,” says Al-Khayat. “The implementation process we went through with COINS has really grounded the business in understanding what our system can do and how we should work.”
Al-Khayat says on a practical level, the support from COINS was excellent. “The team was responsive and addressed issues quickly,” he says. “We were able to get a good understanding of the functionality which helps us plan a roadmap of how we can leverage the technology in the future.”
Made for construction and infrastructure
In Australia, Laing O’Rourke focuses on delivering transport infrastructure projects, predominantly rail and road, defence infrastructure, and buildings at the transport interface, and COINS is specifically developed to handle the complexities of the Australian construction industry.
“Infrastructure investors are increasingly demanding businesses demonstrate low-risk, governance-controlled operations before committing to a venture, and that is exactly what COINS empowers organisations to do,” Kemp says.
“Laing O’Rourke has used the COINS workflow capability in the product and has developed a lot of automated workflows for approval notification and compliance processes. COINS can deliver that type of capability to the construction and infrastructure market.”
COINS uses a straightforward configuration on a massive scale for Laing O’Rourke and can provide a huge range of complex security and access control. “That’s a real strong suite of what COINS provides – that compliance and access control,” Kemp adds.
Laing O’Rourke’s highly trained and committed people understand the challenges of modern construction, the stakeholders involved, and how to work collaboratively to deliver its clients’ aims. The company combines expertise with purposeful technology, deploying innovations like digital engineering and artificial intelligence to produce powerful results.
By leveraging the right technology, Laing O’Rourke aims to spark positive change for its clients, their projects, and the wider industry. Its 2025 mission is to be the construction sector’s recognised leader for innovation and excellence.
In 2020 and 2022, Laing O’Rourke was awarded the prestigious Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s (WGEA) Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation and in 2021 announced far-reaching new sustainability targets, including a commitment to decarbonise its own operations by 2030 and achieve equal numbers of men and women among its 5,500 global staff.
The COINS Australia team endeavours to simplify the way civil, construction and engineering companies manage business. From finance and operations, project delivery and time management, to controlling supply chain and services, all core functions of a construction company can be managed by COINS.
With constant change a mainstay of the construction industry of late, the right technology is essential to forecast, manage and operate a successful construction business.
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