WJ to Deliver up the Future of Road Markings at Traffex SIB
WJ plan to deliver up an innovative display of new road marking products and application techniques at this year’s Traffex Seeing is Believing.
The unique event, to be held at Bruntingthorpe Airfield in Leicestershire this June, will provide WJ with the ideal platform to showcase the ‘Future of Road Markings’. An initial examination of existing methods for both permanent and temporary road markings will be followed by a series of live demonstrations which have to be seen to be believed.
Innovation can be defined simply as a "new idea, device or method" or very often it is also viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, implied needs, or existing market requirements. However, for WJ innovation has been and will always be a continuous journey to find environmentally cleaner, safer and more efficient ways of delivering road markings.
Based on the Group’s mantra, “think exceptional”, WJ have embarked on a mission to change the middling perception of the road marking sector, into the reality of a modern, progressive and valued service within the highway maintenance industry.
WJ Group Managing Director Wayne Johnston commented “I am passionate about changing the way we work in this industry and will continue to invest in research and development to find better, more efficient and safer ways of working. For too long now, we have carried out various highway maintenance activities in the same way as we did when I first came into the business more than 30 years ago. It’s time for change”.
WJ value highly close collaboration with their clients and other stakeholders, ensuring the significant investments made in research and development drive their innovation agenda exactly in line with industry needs. Understanding the complex problems in delivering sustainable infrastructure maintenance is key to finding the best solutions. WJ explore potential solutions through their engineering design and build, materials development and training academy facilities to deliver forward thinking innovations.
Mr Johnston continued “I hold a strong a belief, however, that real change in industry practices cannot happen without first changing industry thinking”.
Innovation is an expensive business and, if the industry is to finance development, then clients at all levels need to embrace new processes with the better long-term outcomes a key factor in assessment.
According to research in 2017, the UK highways maintenance market was valued at more than £10bn per annum and makes up a major part of UK infrastructure spending. Expenditure by Highways England accounts for around a third of the market, while expenditure by local authorities in England on highways and transport in 2016/17 was approximately £4.4 billion. It is important to maintain a good level of uniformly well managed roads investment to provide encouragement, confidence and funds, if we are to fundamentally change our industry.
The initial challenge for WJ was with their own workforce, in trying to embed lasting and cultural change in behaviours and thinking. But WJ, quite early on, had recognised that the most qualified group of people to provide ideas for continuous improvements was their own workforce, and so pioneered a proactive system of engagement. The award winning WJ ‘Williams Conveyor’ and ‘SOS’ systems, provided an opportunity for them to tap into a rich vein of ideas that were assessed and carefully managed. Many of the resulting initiatives with PPE, trucks and processes have certainly all helped to raise the bar for the road marking sector.
However, following wide consultation, WJ concluded that a further change in thinking and approach was needed if they were to achieve the industry aims of greater efficiency, more sustainable practices and zero fatalities.
One thing that could help is more ‘automation of processes’ to remove operatives from the carriageway and place them out of harm’s way. The road marking sector manages risks associated with people, plant interface zones, the handling of hot materials and unauthorised incursions into working areas.
A significant move in the right direction was the introduction of a new method of road stud installation with the WJ Guardian system, another award-winning innovation. The bespoke design of the system allows the complete road stud installation process to take place, whilst protecting the key operative within an integrated safety cell of an 18-tonne truck.
The latest evolved model of the WJ Guardian system will also be showcased at Traffex SIB within the Kier Highways supply chain partnership area under the banner of “Transformation through Innovation”, along with other wide-ranging displays.
Even more collaboration and further innovation is now required to engage with the latest revolution in transport; the fast-approaching era of autonomous vehicles, which will undoubtedly demand an unprecedented level of infrastructure, technology and ever more creative solutions.
Innovation has helped shape the WJ business for the better and is one of the many reasons why they are looking forward to sharing their latest developments at Traffex SIB, whilst also catching up with all the industry as to offer.
WJ are the UK’s leading specialist road marking company with a vision for delivery of an exceptional service combined with a drive to develop advanced processes to make the sector a leader in innovation and sustainable practices balanced on the people, planet and profit model.
More information www.wj.uk