Chip Thinking graph by process engineering and Design to Value architects Bryden Wood

Chip Thinking® is a way of working. It helps us to dismantle complexity and understand how and where we can add value, as part of our Design to Value approach.

Chip Thinking® breaks down the processes that make up a value chain into the smallest meaningful parts. We call these ‘Chips’. Chips are sets of interacting or interdependent components, plus all the data that goes into them. Chip Thinking ® is helping us shape the future of construction using data and new construction technologies.

When is Chip Thinking relevant?

We use Chip Thinking® in a number of ways, including to:

  • Provide a common data platform open to all stakeholders
  • Assess data, activities or issues, from large to small scale
  • Make decisions for future operations based on real-time results
  • Optimise a process, or an asset that houses a process
  • Build new assets or process facilities that learn from all existing data

Engage and empower stakeholders: the benefits of big data in construction

Stakeholders have different areas of expertise and involvement. Chips bring to life all data and stakeholder knowledge in one place, so that everyone can understand every aspect. Using VR in construction is transformative. With our digital simulation, stakeholders can take a virtual tour to aid their insight, feedback and input. For example, a Cost Planner can see the operation of the production line, and a Facilities Manager can understand the impact of maintenance costs on the wider business.

More informed decision-making

Chips bring different strands of stakeholder knowledge together in a common language that everyone can understand and engage with – from client-specific, operational data to functions on complex projects. People can choose the scale that matters to them, from the global, through countries and regions, right down to a factory, production line or component. And because the Chip model considers all aspects equally, the answers are objective, transparent and holistic.

Optimisation through rapid scenario testing

By digitally modelling processes or assets as Chips, we can see quickly how well they are working at present, and what could change under a wide range of circumstances – something which would be impossible at the level of single components. Chips make it easy to change value parameters, and isolate or optimise elements of a process for seamless improvements in productivity. They also allow people to rehearse operations in a virtual environment - a significant benefit of using VR in construction.

Mapping paths to the future

By combining Chips that describe existing processes with virtual Chips that describe possible processes, you can quickly get to different views of what the future could be. It's then easy to plan for each future with different data variables – market trends, for example – and calculate how that changes the requirement for energy or space, or other value drivers. Testing multiple options will also reveal sweet spots – for example, the optimum capital investment to maximise future flexibility across a number of markets.

Efficiency in procurement and performance analysis: the power of big data in design and construction

Chips develop and use data, from strategy right through to implementation and operation. That continuity between business information and outcomes allows every final component to be tracked back to a strategic business driver. This Design to Value approach brings key benefits in:

  • Optimising the procurement strategy. Every component can be tracked back to a strategic business driver
  • Performance analysis, by accurately attributing exact and detailed costs to Chips.

Efficiency in operations and future projects

The link back to business drivers, and the ability to test different options, improves usability and productivity. Resolved as Chips, the mass of data about the physical asset becomes far more usable, helping our clients learn from future possibility. With that understanding, they can optimize staff levels and improve asset performance through life-cycle planning and operational costing.

Overall, Chip thinking is a key element of our Design to Value approach, and delivers significant benefits to both organisational performance and productivity.


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