IT on the building site
Looking at the field of scaffolding, one might well get the impression that this is a business that relies very much on manpower and is far removed from the world of digitisation and Industry 4.0. But, in fact, the opposite is true. It has been using bits and bytes for a long while now – and not just in the office but on the worksites as well. MULTISCAFF, a project being developed and implemented by XERVON Gerüstbau, the company’s scaffolding specialists, illustrates perfectly how bespoke IT solutions can benefit this field as well.
Software for a wide range of areas
Scaffolding projects involve a large number of individual stages – and manually erecting and dismantling the scaffold are just two of them. Numerous other processes are involved such as planning work, structural engineering tasks, obtaining permits, managing materials and organising the logistics. It goes without saying that digitising all these stages create both advantages and optimisation opportunities. Especially for companies like XERVON that not only carry out several hundred complex scaffolding projects every year but also deliver regular scaffolding services to their customers as part of service agreements.
Bringing in a universal solution
Four years ago, XERVON, one of the leading scaffolding businesses in Europe, decided to use a digital basis for their many tasks. The goal: to optimise interfaces, promote exchange of data, reduce the complexity of their system and minimise system breakdowns. It took a detailed look at what the market had to offer – and came back disappointed.
While there were a whole range of individual data solutions, there wasn’t a single platform around that could cope with the extensive set-up of this scaffolding specialist with its wide-ranging activities, customers and projects. This meant that the company had to develop a comprehensive, future-oriented and mobile solution itself. And this is precisely what XERVON has achieved with MULTISCAFF – a program that covers each and every aspect of a scaffolding project.
Input from a wide range of experts
A project team of scaffolding, commercial and IT specialists was set up in 2017 to develop MULTISCAFF. Step by step, they tackled each individual stage of scaffolding work, gradually integrating them into the project. An extremely complicated task as it had been clear right from the start that this future IT solution should not only interconnect in-house departments. Interfaces would need to be set up or taken into account for public authorities, customers and procurement platforms. The first pilot tests were carried out using real projects in 2018. The findings of these tests were then used to further optimise the system. At the same time, the team continued to further develop the program, integrating more and more areas of this complex field. A task the team is still doing today.
MULTISCAFF offers users a whole number of advantages, from being able to remotely enter data into the system all the way through to accessing documents in real time from any place and at any time.
MULTISCAFF was rolled out for the first time for the company’s service agreements. Its project business was added in 2020. This stage involved a complex development phase and will not be fully implemented until the end of the year. One thing is already clear: this SAP-based IT solution is a success. The MULTISCAFF apps are also proving to be very helpful as users can access the data they need via their mobile devices. These apps may just be the tip of the iceberg looking at the project as a whole, but they fulfil an important function bridging the gap between the office and worksite.
A high-end process across the whole workflow
MULTISCAFF offers users a whole number of advantages, from being able to remotely enter data into the system all the way through to accessing documents in real time from any place and at any time. Similar to a construction site file, the program provides all relevant information as it is needed – from the order, to the measurements, to the documentation and invoicing.
Whether tracking an order, planning daily schedules or taking measurements at the worksite: MULTISCAFF helps people to carry out many different operational tasks.
Both XERVON’s customers and XERVON itself benefit from MULTISCAFF as it considerably reduces administrative work, further optimises processes and leads to more standardisation. What’s more, it increases transparency and improves communications. All these factors help cut costs, reduce the amount of time needed for a project and enable the company to be even more flexible. Moreover, the data can be archived so that it can be accessed quickly and easily years later.
The project has still not been fully completed. To make it as future-oriented as possible, MULTISCAFF will continue to be extended to include additional functionalities. The program will, therefore, grow in step with the tasks, incorporate new developments and integrate technological advances. At the end of the day, digitisation is a never-ending project – and not just in the field of scaffolding.
Supporting decision-making processes with a single click: customers benefit from having a comprehensive real-time overview of their projects – helping them to monitor work and plan their next steps
Image credits: image 1: © XERVON; image 2: © REMONDIS