Delivering operational excellence across Amey

31 August 2022
Image of a man placing traffic cones on the road at night.
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Rising star winner at the recent Construction News Awards, Julie Heyes (Rising Star Julie breaks down barriers ( has played a lead role in delivering operational excellence across the strategic road network for Amey’s Maintenance and Response contracts. Amey’s Transport Infrastructure Data Manager, Julie works collaboratively with National Highways (NH) to improve processes and systems. Her most recent project on the asset data delivery model has been shortlisted in the Technology and Innovation category at this year’s upcoming CIHT awards.

Working in collaboration with NH and McKinsey, Julie and the team introduced user guides, or actual term ‘playbooks’, across the Area 10 contract to improve safety on the roads, create a better customer experience, and operate a more efficient and effective network. The playbook that is already seeing considerable improvements in such a short space of time is the asset data delivery model, called the feedback loop playbook.

Julie provides insight into the key challenges they faced creating this playbook, as well as solutions and benefits, that other businesses in the sector can utilise.

“As part of the Maintenance and Response contracts, one vital area of focus is the asset delivery across the strategic road network. There’s a wide range of physical assets across the network, including drainage assets, street lighting assets and technology equipment. National Highways (NH) as asset lead, assigns work to Amey and we were noticing variances between asset inventory and the assets on the network. The success of the asset delivery contracts is critically linked to accurate asset data, therefore the need to address this was vitally important to support the success of the contracts.

“The feedback loop playbook was created as part of National Highways’ Asset Management strategy to manage asset data more effectively, improve the quality and accuracy of the asset data, and consequently reduce the number of works cancellations or duplications.

“Since Amey took over the Area 10 contract in 2019, we noticed some of the asset data was not correlating with the assets on the network. Therefore, as part of the introduction of the feedback loop playbook, pre-site checks were embedded into the system to reduce the number of cancelled and suspended jobs when operatives visited assets.

“The development of the new workflow within the database system, CONFIRM, needed to integrate with the NH dashboard and additionally needed the backing of the Maintenance & Response operatives, managers and NH inspectors to ensure delivery of this innovative process. The new process took only six weeks to develop, with time set aside in February 2021 to test the system with operatives, prior to launch.

“We arranged for Area 10 managers, operatives and supply chain to trial the new system over a couple of weeks, receiving positive feedback and no major faults with the new process.


“One of the main obstacles for the feedback loop was to train the relevant staff on the new process. 250 members of staff across Amey’s Area 10 contract and sub-contractors needed to complete the training to understand how to input the asset data correctly. Training was carried out during the

COVID-19 pandemic, therefore sessions on Microsoft Teams were delivered, detailing the process for CONFIRM and data that needed to be captured. These briefing sessions involved area managers, supervisors and operatives across the Area 10 contract and the supply chain, allowing a two-way communication to feedback thoughts and areas for improvement.

“Overall, the feedback was positive. The improved accuracy of data enables operatives to deliver a better and more efficient service to the customer and provide validated asset data back to NH. Any missing or incorrect data is highlighted to the NH Asset Champions and shared on the NH dashboard. This data is then updated so NH can correctly issue future work.


“Throughout the financial year (April 2021 – March 2022) the feedback loop provided continuous updates across the Area 10 contract, with 85% of all asset data retrieved by March 2022. During this time, the team visited and serviced 84,793 assets, corrected 29% of these assets and prevented over 260 abortive visits.

“673 ‘ghost assets’ or in other terms ‘unknown assets’ were also identified and added to the system, reducing any repeat visits to the sites in the future.

“The feedback loop also supports Amey’s Roadmap to Net Zero with the long-term aim to improve efficiencies across the network and reduce the number of repeat visits to jobs.

“The planning element of the playbooks has reduced iterations, whilst also improving Maintenance & Response productivity on all cyclic work. By working this way, we can plan more effectively to maximise value and ensure NH customers experience better, more reliable journeys.

“The launch of the feedback loop playbook in April 2021 created a more robust process for ensuring changes to asset data are captured and updated correctly and consistently, adopting a ‘right first time’ approach. The accuracy of asset data has improved considerably, enabling the Area 10 contract to deliver a more efficient service, which will benefit Amey, the client and the customer in the long-term. Working closely with the client has enabled us to highlight inaccuracies and look at ways to address this and continually strive for better outcomes.

“The Feedback Loop model could be applied on a wider scale, as cyclical activities on assets take place every day and over various sectors. The adoption of a similar model could provide vital feedback at first intervention, preventing repeat and abortive visits, as well as increasing asset data accuracy.”

Amey is leading the way on this new approach, sharing good practice, and improving the strategic road network across the nation. Both Area 7 and Area 12 contracts have adopted the feedback loop and are already seeing improvements in their delivery. Potential for further implementation of the feedback loop across other businesses is also planned.

More playbooks have been produced to implement new, improved processes on managing the network and support National Highways’ three imperatives: safety; customer and delivery. These processes are now being implemented across other transport infrastructure contracts.

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