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Introduction | Maximising Productivity for UK Commercial and Infrastructure Contractors

The UK’s commercial and infrastructure sector is not just expanding—it’s transforming. With 2024 well underway, we are seeing a concerted push to advance the industry driven by government and private initiatives. For contractors in the space, this feels like increasing pressure to manage complex workloads and control costs across multiple contracts. Couple that with large, blended utilities workforces with workflows handled by siloed, disparate technology stacks, and you have an industry ready for change.

Rising to the challenge, contractors representing energy, power, rail, roads, telecoms, water, and wastewater are seeking innovative ways to maximise productivity and meet the challenges of this increasingly demanding sector. But what solutions are available, and what possible benefits could contractors experience? Join us as we explore the technology transforming the utilities and infrastructure space.

Increasing Complexity and Demand for Precision

Organisations working in the energy, power, rail, roads, telecoms, water, and wastewater space are becoming more interconnected. With interconnection comes a dependence on real-time data exchange and automated control systems, significantly increasing the complexity and stakes of every project. This evolution requires contractors to exhibit meticulous management and operational excellence, navigating a landscape where precision and adaptability are paramount. But why is this the case?

The Expanding Landscape of UK Utilities, Commercial and Infrastructure

a). A Surge in Green Industrial Initiatives

The UK government’s commitment to a green industrial revolution is dramatically reshaping the utilities landscape. In March 2023, Grant Shapps (GOV.UK) outlined ambitious plans to scale up affordable, clean, homegrown power. The goal is to boost the UK’s energy security and independence, reduce household bills long-term, and maintain a world-leading position in achieving net zero.

This, along with other initiatives like AMP8, has ignited a surge in utility projects, each characterised by the need for high precision and seamless coordination. According to a recent report by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), these initiatives are expected to significantly increase the demand for advanced project management solutions in the utilities sector.

b). Major Infrastructure Projects on the Rise

Major infrastructure initiatives, such as the nationwide rollout of FTTP broadband to improve digital connectivity and the electrification of railways to reduce carbon emissions, have increased the number of projects and expanded their scope and complexity – with 48% of homes in the UK still waiting on full-fibre access (Ofcom).

c). Adapting to Competition and Future Needs

Amidst this rapid expansion, competition among contractors has intensified, compelling them to maximise efficiency and foster continual innovation. This competitive pressure is further compounded by the need to meet current specifications and anticipate future requirements as the UK pivots towards more sustainable and technologically integrated infrastructure. Recent studies by McKinsey & Company highlight the importance of adopting advanced digital solutions to maintain competitiveness in this evolving landscape.

Utility Contractor Industry Challenges

Contractors in the utilities sector face a challenging landscape marked by several pressing concerns, each adding layers of complexity to their operations. Understanding these challenges is essential for devising effective strategies to mitigate their impact.

Diminishing Margins

Despite robust market demand, tight profit margins have squeezed contractors. According to the Financial Times, this financial strain is driven by escalating material costs, which have surged due to global supply chain disruptions and increased prices for raw materials. Managing resources across projects requires sophisticated coordination and logistics, further elevating operational costs. These factors combine to erode the profitability that high market demand would typically promise, creating a paradox where more work does not necessarily equate to higher profits.

Limited Skilled Workforce

The utilities sector is experiencing a significant gap in skilled labour availability. An ageing workforce and a lack of new entrants with the necessary technical skills exacerbate this shortage. The competition for skilled workers is fierce, leading to higher wages and increased recruitment and retention costs. Contractors are in a position where they must invest greater sums in attracting talent and training and retaining them. Combined, this adds to operational expenses and complicates project delivery timelines.

Complex & Differing Systems

Utilising multiple disparate systems across various projects often leads to inefficiencies and errors in job management. This fragmentation affects both field and back-office operations, making it challenging to maintain a consistent standard of work. The lack of integration between systems can result in data silos, where critical information is compartmentalised and inaccessible to those who need it most, leading to delays, errors, and sometimes costly rework.

Customer Expectations

In today's market, customers expect flawless service delivery. This expectation puts immense pressure on contractors, where any small error can lead to significant financial losses. The demand for high reliability and performance means that contractors must often invest heavily in quality control and customer service, further straining their resources.

ESG Targets

Stringent environmental regulations and sustainability goals add another layer of complexity to operations. Contractors must comply with evolving regulations to reduce carbon footprints and enhance environmental stewardship. This often means investing in greener technologies, sustainable materials, and practices that may involve upfront costs but are crucial for long-term viability and compliance with regulatory standards.

Totalmobile’s Comprehensive Solution

Faced with complex challenges, Totalmobile’s field service management platform is designed to optimise resource utilisation and streamline contractors’ operations. Transitioning from traditional, spreadsheet-based operations to a fully automated system marks a crucial shift. By automating repetitive tasks, the platform allows staff to concentrate on more complex, value-adding activities.

With a comprehensive platform, engineers and field operatives can tackle a higher volume of tasks more efficiently, ensuring optimal utilisation of workforce and resources. Skill-matched job allocation based on skills, proximity, and availability minimises travel time and downtime, enhancing the overall output of work tasks and contributing to a leaner operation.

The result? As Rob Gilbert puts it:

“Our approach empowers utility contractors to operate more efficiently and effectively, ultimately driving greater value for our customers and their stakeholders”

Rob Gilbert, Managing Director for Commercial and Infrastructure, Totalmobile.

The Expanding Landscape of Utility Works Management

Totalmobile has a long-standing track record of delivering value and driving growth for its clients. Here’s how our platform is designed specifically for the challenges and needs of the utilities sector:

Utility Work Management (UWM)

UWM manages the entire lifecycle of build, repairs, maintenance, and planned works contracts. It improves monitoring and significantly accelerates the invoicing process. It allows for real-time updates and adjustments, which ensures that all stakeholders are consistently informed about the status and progress of projects.

Real-Time Dynamic Scheduling

Adaptive scheduling tools are critical for managing the complexities of utility operations, which often require rapid responses to unplanned events and emergencies. These tools ensure optimal resource allocation, enhancing responsiveness to on-the-day changes and maintaining agility in service delivery.

Mobile Working

This feature empowers field operatives to access essential data on the go through mobile devices, which improves decision-making and operational efficiency. With real-time access to information, field workers can make informed decisions quickly, reducing the need for back-and-forth communications and delays.

Field Service Intelligence

Leveraging advanced data analytics and performance metrics, this feature continuously improves service delivery strategies. It allows contractors to react to real-time conditions and predict and prepare for future challenges, using data-driven insights to refine and adjust operations continuously.

The Expanding Landscape of UK Utilities

Adapting to a Greener Future:

As the UK utilities sector moves forward, it faces the imperative challenge of integrating renewable energy sources into the existing grid. This integration is critical for meeting the UK’s ambitious carbon reduction targets. Furthermore, the industry must continue to explore ways to reduce carbon emissions across all operations. Challenges such as energy storage, grid stability, and the intermittent nature of renewable sources like solar and wind require innovative solutions to ensure reliability and efficiency.

Addressing Future Technological Advances:

Another significant challenge is adopting emerging technologies such as smart grids and AI-driven analytics, which are crucial for managing increasingly complex utility networks. These technologies offer potential but require substantial investment in skills and systems to leverage their benefits fully. Proactively adopting solutions like those offered by Totalmobile addresses these current operational needs and prepares contractors for these future demands, ensuring they remain competitive and compliant in a rapidly evolving market (Gartner, 2024).

Maintaining Compliance and Competitiveness:

Maintaining compliance becomes more challenging as regulations evolve. Contractors must stay agile and quickly adapt to new laws and standards. Totalmobile’s platform emphasising compliance and efficiency, positions contractors to meet these regulatory changes without sacrificing operational tempo or quality.


The complexities of the UK’s utilities and infrastructure sectors are vast and varied, requiring robust, innovative solutions. Totalmobile’s platform plays a pivotal role in this landscape, helping contractors effectively navigate these complexities. By turning potential industry hurdles into opportunities for growth, sustainability, and improved profitability, Totalmobile not only supports the current operational requirements but also aligns with future strategic goals.

Totalmobile’s solutions empower contractors to meet both today’s needs and tomorrow’s challenges, transforming how infrastructure and utility services are delivered. The platform’s ability to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and improve service delivery ensures contractors can offer more competitive and compliant services. By investing in such advanced, integrated solutions, contractors are better equipped to contribute to a sustainable future, meeting both environmental targets and the increasing demands of a digital-first world.

Edward Bell

Edward Bell, Totalmobile's Content Strategist, shapes and delivers compelling content spotlighting their unique SaaS solutions. With 6+ years in MarComs, his journey spans diverse marketing roles, driven by tech passion. Edward fuels Totalmobile's mission, educating and advocating for impactful solutions across sectors, ensuring ROI for customers.