Hogan Lovells opens SSC in Birmingham, BCI advised

30 September 2014 Consultancy.uk

Hogan Lovells, a worldwide operating law firm, will soon open a new services centre in Birmingham. The service centre will provide legal support services to its more than 40 offices across the globe. The law firm has been advised by Buck Consultants International on its choice of location.

With more than 2,500 lawyers operating out of more than 40 offices in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the US, Hogan Lovells is one of the leading law firms in the world. The firm was established in 2010, following the merger between US-based Hogan & Hartson and European-based firm Lovells. The firm’s heritage dates back to 1899, when John Spencer Lovell set up Lovells in the UK, and 1904, when Frank Hogan opened his law practice in the US. Hogan Lovells’ annual turnover is estimated at $1,7 billion.

Hogan Lovells BCI

To improve the internal efficiency of its operation and service quality to its fee-earners, Hogan Lovells last year launched an internal programme. A major element of the programme was the bundling of certain supporting services in Shared Service Centres (SSC). Two initiatives have been unveiled: the opening of a Business Services Centre in Johannesburg (South Africa) and the development of a Legal Services Centre in Birmingham.

To support the latter project, Hogan Lovells brought in the help of Buck Consultants International, an expert in the field of location choice advice. Although it was known that the Legal Services Centre would be established in the UK, the law firm had not yet decided on the exact location. The consultants evaluated 12 different locations in the country, assessing among others costs, quality, and availability of legal talent. Other factors that have been assessed were, among others, property, travelling time and costs, investment subsidies, and the ‘quality of life’ of the cities. Following the analysis, Birmingham came out on top, an advice that has been followed by Hogan Lovells. “We looked at several locations but Birmingham won because, first of all, it is quite close to London and it has a strong legal community, so we can find the people we want, as well as good transport links,” says Alan Greenough, who leads the location.

Brimingham UK

The Birmingham Legal Services Centre, which is expected to open shortly, will provide support services mainly to Hogan Lovells lawyers in the UK (London), but also across the globe, on issues such as the rental and granting licenses for property, the preparation of documentation for the finalisation of transactions, and the altering of contracts. The practice will kick-off with a team of 20 professionals, although plans have already been formed for further expansion in 2015. “We are excited to open our new office in Birmingham known for its strong legal cluster,” says Susan Bright, Regional Managing Partner UK and Africa of Hogan Lovells.

Choice of location for consultancy
Hogan Lovells has made use of the expertise of Buck Consultants International before; the consultants have also supported the law firm with the setup of its global back office project. “Following the excellent work for our previous global back office project, we did not have any doubts about hiring Buck Consultants International again for an analysis of the possible locations for new offices,” says Nick Cray, Chief Operating Officer of Hogan Lovells.

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How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

11 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Amey Consulting has leveraged data insights to assist Network Rail with the improvement of its South-Eastern route. Using the Quartz tool, which monitors train movement, Network Rail will now be able to commit to data-enabled interventions to quickly improve underperforming train stations.

With rail services in the UK coming under strain from the demands of modern commuter life, while the infrastructure and service delivery of the nation’s railways has come in for sustained criticism in recent years, a period of regeneration is on the cards at last. Network Rail is the owner and infrastructure manager of most of the railway network in Great Britain, and has subsequently tapped the consulting industry on a regular basis to help find areas of improvement.

The group recently drafted in consultancy BearingPoint to conduct a thorough organisational evaluation and advise Network Rail (High Speed) on attaining a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational standard – for which the consultancy was nominated at the 2019 MCA Awards. Meanwhile, ArupArcadis and Aecom have been contracted to help Colas Rail and Babcock Rail implement a decade-long framework for Network Rail, aimed at supporting the delivery of the next generation of rail systems, with the contracts said to be worth as much as £5 billion

How data insights helped Network Rail improve the South-East route

As Network Rail further aims to improve its performance and customer service offering, another area it has sought help from the consulting sector for is its South-East route. The network of railways connects London with the southern parts of the country, as well as with Europe, making it the busiest in the country, with more than 500 million passenger journeys per year. This crucial expanse of rail was plagued with small minute delays, which were impacting millions of passengers every day, while reducing the efficiency and capacity of the overall network – something Amey Consulting was selected to help solve.

Amey Consulting soon determined that with the sub-threshold delays to services only lasting for 1 or 2 minutes, most were not the subject of detailed root cause analysis, and this made their corrections almost impossible – with dire consequences. Without addressing these delays, passenger satisfaction would fall, while the capacity and efficiency of the network would be reduced, stinging the income of Network Rail even before a host of delay-related fines would hit the company.

In order to help the client gain a better understanding of where, how, when and what these small delays occur, Amey Consulting looked to demonstrate the value of data-led consulting, with a significant reduction in delays within the first month of rolling out changes to key stations. The consultants embedded themselves in Network Rail’s team, helping them learn the key skills needed to support and apply data-driven solutions.

Agile transport

This involved the deployment of the Quartz tool. The system utilises to-the-second train movement data to present the performance of individual stations across the South-East route. It allows users to effortlessly understand station performance with a high level of detail, and use this information to identify losses caused by small-minute delays. The granular data allows for targeted actions to drive efficiency savings and performance improvements. More importantly, it allows users to understand the impact of small process changes on performance. 

Steve Dyke, an Executive Partner at Amey Consulting, said of the project, “We looked to identify the physical root cause on the infrastructure, building a case for change then managing that project implementation and tracking the benefit/value.  In doing so we are working to define a data performance improvement service to the operational and infrastructure owners.”

Just as important for the project as the technology, however, was teaching the Network Rail team how to leverage it after the consultants were gone. The Amey Consulting team worked to develop an agile working culture within Network Rail’s South-East division, helping staff to be confident in using data to improve the journeys of millions of people per year by attacking the problem from the ground up.

Dyke concluded, “This is less about the tools and about the approach to managing performance.  It meant using by-the-second analysis, data science, and then agile development to visualise and identify areas where improvements can be made.  We then worked with NR to change the way they approached the management of the infrastructure changes.  So rather than pass the information down the value chain, any of which could have been missed, we managed the change end-to-end.”

The project was so successful that Amey Consulting was also among those honoured at the recent MCA Awards. The firm scooped the Performance Improvement in the Public Sector prize for its work with Network Rail, at the 2019 ceremony in London.