Page 5: Product deveopment
The Portakabin WardSpace design was developed quickly to meet the opportunity presented by the NHS plan. Many ideas were generated in order to come up with a winning concept.
Portakabin was already producing a variety of modular buildings, and the opportunity was there to take the modular concept and turn it into a purpose-designed hospital ward - an attractive proposition. This would enable Portakabin to gain a potential competitive edge in the healthcare marketplace.
These wards were to be constructed and fitted out within a factory environment and then assembled on-site. Factory construction has all sorts of advantages, including no rain to delay construction. Modular construction also meant that from design to finished building, a ward could be completed in just 24 weeks. Potentially 50% of the time it would take a traditionally-built ward to be created.
Another major advantage that reduces timescales is that parts of the assembly are produced in batches. The components of a ward for a London hospital will be similar (if not identical) to those going to a hospital in Manchester. This slashes build programme time compared with on-site project manufacturing, where each unit constructed is a one-off in a method call job production.
As with all Portakabin products, Total Quality is built into product development. All of Portakabin's employees are trained and encouraged to come up with ideas for improving company performance e.g. by identifying ways to reduce waste or to improve customer service. The aim is to achieve continuous improvement in all aspects of performance; hence improving quality, cost and customer service with minimal disruption to patients and staff.