Victoria’s Level Crossing Removal Project – one of the largest rail infrastructure projects in the State’s history – is leveraging a broad array of Microsoft technologies to pioneer a new breed of worker support and learning platform.
Central to the Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP) is the removal of 75 level crossings across metropolitan Melbourne by 2025, along with other rail network upgrades including new train stations, track duplication and train stabling yards.
A key challenge facing the organisation is ensuring that all the people working on the project – a mix of employees and sub-contractor workers – are fully supported and have access to the knowledge and best practice insights they need to ensure they are productive and stay safe.
According to Kevin Devlin, chief executive officer of the LXRP; “The challenge is to have a knowledge management system to help our project partners’ employees bridge their knowledge gaps efficiently and effectively. Many of these workers will be new to this sector – but need to learn the ropes quickly and safely.
“The goal is that everyone working on these projects will have instant access to the same information as everyone else and be able to share their own on-the-job learnings.”
Working with Microsoft partner SevenSigma and Systemix, LXRP has used Microsoft SharePoint, PowerApps, Teams and Flow to build a knowledge application dubbed KnApp. This allows people working on the projects to share, collaborate, learn and network regardless of which subcontractor employs them, or where they are working.
Safety is paramount to the LXRP, but even if workers are uninjured, a single high consequence safety incident (HPI) on a rail infrastructure site can result in delays costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ensuring workers have fingertip access to best practice insights and expertise dramatically enhances safety and reduces the risk of cost blowouts.
LXRP developed a specialised knowledge management model for the application which features a lessons-learned library; supports idea harvesting; encourages collaboration; and provides streamlined access to the specialised expertise workers need to do their jobs.
Paul Culmsee, co-founder of Seven Sigma Business Solutions and a Microsoft MVP (most valuable professional) is engaged with KnApp’s continuous enhancement. The most recent innovation supports cross organisational collaboration so that workers employed by different companies working on the LXRP can still share information and collaborate.
“Built with Power Apps and utilising SharePoint, and the rich communication and collaboration capability of Teams and Flow, KnApp provides LXRP and its partners with a tool so that their workers always have fingertip access to content, to share ideas and collaborate so that they can ensure consistent outcomes, as well as working together toward new and better ways of achieving outcomes.”
Further innovation is planned which will leverage Microsoft Power Automate to capture video and upload that in real time; and integrate Teams capability into PowerApps to enable direct collaboration among workers.
This will allow access to “bite sized” learning modules and videos that can support knowledge transfer between experienced workers and new personnel.
LXRP believes that this will encourage a new way of working that leverages knowledge rapidly, bringing safety and productivity gains for all project partners.
LXRP is also keen to explore the possibility of leveraging its investment in KnApp with a standalone app that can be distributed independently.
“According to Lee Hickin, national technology officer, Microsoft Australia; “This is a great example of how technology can transform the experience of firstline workers. By leveraging the simplicity and integration of PowerApps and Teams, KnApp quickly facilitates knowledge transfer that can ensure new workers are as well informed as experienced hands, and at the same time it helps keep those workers safe.”
“Working with SevenSigma and Systemix, LXRP has been able to build a flexible learning and communications platform that is delivering clear benefits today and fostering a learning culture among workers.”