Coins Global

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Coins Global's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Coins Global is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
CEO Robert Brown
The COINS office in Slough
COINS (COnstruction INdustry Solutions) has become one of
the pre-eminent suppliers of end-to-end software solutions
to the housebuilding and construction sector, for tier one
and two organisations, in Britain and around the world. Based
in Slough, they now employ 300 staff worldwide working in this
major area of economic activity. After more than 30 years of
sustained growth across the industry, Bill Mellor, who has been
with them from the first day, describes the organisation.
The COINS journey
Since our beginning in 1987, we have focused on continually designing, developing
and delivering innovative software solutions for the construction industry. We were
originally founded because several large construction businesses asked the founders
for help in understanding and managing the early technology they were using
within their business and financial operations.
Through a steady and controlled progression of logical steps based on decisions
concerning innovation, developed in collaboration with our clients, we acquired
more and more customers. This approach has provided us with an ever-expanding
solution to meet customers’ needs and led, very often, not just to the delivery
of the solutions themselves, but to recommendations of best practice based on
growing industry status and expertise.
Testimony to the success that we have achieved through this approach can be
measured through two means. Firstly, by the fact that most of our sales leads are
generated by word of mouth and still start with “a friend told me”, or “Iused
»CEO: Robert Brown
»Established in 1987
»Based in Slough, Berkshire,
but with offices across the
»Services: Supply of
construction software, from
design to installation
»No. of employees: Over 300
»Aimed at all areas of
management for construction
»Winner of the Queen’s Award
for Enterprise for International
COINS Global
to work with it”. Secondly, it can
be measured by the fact that the
vast majority of organisations who
chose COINS, say, 20 years ago
are still customers but using the
latest generation of our solutions
Technological development
and business challenges
Construction is a significant business;
its maintenance aspects, building, civil
engineering, housebuilding and many
major specialisms together account for
some 11 per cent overall of national
GDP. We believe that 20 per cent of
this business passes through COINS.
As such, our software is handling more
than 2 per cent of total UK GDP –
which we feel is quite an achievement
from our standing start 30 years ago.
With the arrival of cloud and mobile
technology, business computing
hardware is getting progressively
smaller and has, in some respects,
completely disappeared. In this new
world, the infrastructure, solutions and
information are all simply out there
in the digital world. Our approach
to these technological developments
was to make our solutions easy to
consume. Effectively, we wanted
people to be able to carry on doing
their job without having to worry
about the difference between one
technical approach and another; all
they know is that the solution is still
available, anytime, anywhere, on
During our three decades of activity,
the challenges of running a successful
construction business, especially a
large, tier one construction business,
have increased massively. This has been
evidenced recently by the collapse of
Carillion, which has, in turn, shown a
growing need to adopt and manage
best practice with regards to risk,
bidding and subcontract management.
It remains imperative that solutions for
these issues must change. Our solution
has responded to industry-specific and
technological issues and now covers
everything from bidding, risk and
procurement through to operational
and financial management.
Can outstanding, fit-for-purpose
technology help the industry overcome
these challenges? We certainly think
so; everything from clerical staff’s
itemised data entry to electronic
trading platforms, right through to
deploying cloud-based structures that
can reduce infrastructure costs, can
be streamlined. This will, piece by
piece, improve margins and improve
operating efficiency; for an industry
where margins are 2.5 or 3 per
cent, these things should be quick,
Compliance, community
support and values
Over and above improving operating
efficiency, we believe technology
should do more by way of providing
better ways of managing risk
and compliance. These fields, in
themselves, if managed effectively,
will help to improve margins and solve
some of the issues that have dogged
the construction industry for a number
The COINS Foundation
Cookie Bar – part of our
vision for positive social
Construction is
a significant
business – its
building, civil
and many major
account for
some 11 per
cent overall of
national GDP
Highlighting best practice
of years. Risk management, building
information modelling (BIM), bidding
control and the ability for efficient and
transparent supplier and subcontract
management are not only available in
our solutions, but have been developed
on the back of 30 years of knowledge
and industry best practice.
Like any business, construction has
its own requirements for compliance
with various government schemes,
interchanging tax information
electronically, and, for example,
complying with the current GDPR
requirements on information security.
We not only provide these programs,
but maintain close relationships with
HMRC and others in collaborating
on these issues. We also provide
guidance and run seminars with
customers, mainly concerned with how
to introduce the various changes as
they arise and where they have been
incorporated into our product.
Any article about COINS would not
be complete without mentioning the
activities of the COINS Foundation. Its
activities are undoubtedly an outward
manifestation of a culture that cares
about society and is committed to
making a difference to the world in
which we live. We believe that with
success comes the responsibility to do
something good; as such, over the
years, we have shared our success
through helping many disadvantaged
groups all over the world integrate
into society and create better, more
sustainable lives for themselves. We
hope that through doing this we
can encourage more organisations
to use the power of enterprise as a
force for good and share their own
development to hopefully bring lasting
change to those people who need it
the most.
The basic values of the company
have not changed significantly. We
endeavour to offer products that are
not only up to date, but continually
developing with current and future
technical changes. Staff retention
is regularly commented on from
outside, along with the knowledge
and professional skills of company
personnel, a number of whom have
backgrounds within the construction
industry. A high proportion of work
has been historically undertaken
directly by our own staff. We aim to
provide an all-encompassing solution
– not to surprise our customers with
unexpected charges, but to allow them
to budget sensibly for their computer
systems into the future. It is our belief
that these steps encourage customers
to remain with us for many years as
their businesses expand and develop.
We endeavour
to offer
products that
are not only
up to date,
but continually
with current
and future
The COINS Conference
in 2018

This article was sponsored by Coins Global. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng.

Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng

This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.

In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.

We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.

With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.

And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.

As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy