VME controls the process all the way from the builder to the man with the shovel
The construction company VME in Denmark has been able to increase turnover an customer satisfaction with the same staff number. All through digitalisation with Gluu.
“With Gluu we have been able to bring knowledge from the builder all the way to the man with the shovel. We have achieved a comprehensive overview and an ability to control our workflows, so that we can always be at the forefront of our planning.”Kim Larsen, CEO and Owner, VME
VME Simonsen & Wendt A/S (VME) is a construction company, founded 1969, specializing in a number of special professional competences (Construction, District Heating and “Plant and Sewer”).
The construction industry is under constant pressure and the requirement for cost-effective production results in many projects with a low margin. This situation means that a business must be run very efficiently. Failures can mean that few loss-making projects annually can drag down the bottom line sharply. The loss can only be recovered through many profitable projects – if at all.
Many companies adhere to traditional approaches to planning and managing their projects. With a high risk, it is typically one-off projects that ultimately cause companies to succumb.
Few companies have looked inward and sought to streamline their own business through a digital transformation focused on quality in repetitive processes.
VME is one of these.
Back in early 2018, VME faced two business challenges that needed to be addressed effectively:
- Complicated planning and paper-heavy coordination led to too many errors
Planning and coordination are essential in the construction industry, as the many interfaces between roles and actors easily lead to costly flaws. At VME, the entire coordination with the hourly-paid workers was characterized by manual and paper-heavy workflows. The overview was with the responsible foreman, who could not optimize on the planning of tasks and assignment changes from the builder. This wasted time and caused workers to drive for tasks that were already done but were not reported as finished from prior workers, etc.
- Lack of documentation and quality management
With many small tasks in the district heating department in particular, it was close to an impossible task to obtain the necessary documentation from the hourly-paid workers in relation to task execution. Several projects had involved trials with photo documentation.
Both challenges increased as the project portfolio increased.
The aim was therefore to increase turnover with better run projects that led to lower risk and fewer errors. Only in this would strengthen the bottom line.
To address these challenges, VME partnered with the consultancy Bülow Management A/S.
Bülow Management A/S was able to offer a process in which the critical delivery processes were first developed in close cooperation between experienced advisors and key employees from VME. After trials, the new processes were put into practice with Gluu.
Thus, the entire process work from initial mapping to operation and training was supported and digitalized by Gluu’s process platform.
Now VME has got their critical and paper-heavy processes streamlined and digitized. This has already produced measurable results.
“Overview and improved scheduling limit errors such as unnecessary driving to tasks. We have been able to increase revenue with the same employees and white collar workers due to our digitalization with Gluu.”Kim Larsen, CEO and Owner, VME A/S
With Gluu’s process platform VME has a management system that is not static. It can evolve together with the development of the company and the market. VME adjusts processes and work instructions continuously so that they automatically incorporate new learnings.
The good results have given VME confidence to go further and cover their entire business. When the roll-out in the district heating and construction department is complete, the administration will be included.
What has been the recipe for success for VME?
It requires strong and visionary leadership to streamline operations through digitalization. Often changes in habits result in a natural resistance. A slow but safe implementation parallel to operations proved to be the path to success for VME.
“The mantra is that it will be successful as long as the roll-out happens process by process.”Rasmus Steen Malmstrøm, COO Bülow Management A/S
It started with a pilot project
Bülow Management A/S and VME chose to do a pilot project from the start. This should show the potential and bring to light any teething problems.
The streamlining of VME was therefore based on the areas where there were a lot of paper registrations and communications between production and administration.
It’s one thing to do the tasks correctly, but another to have to report, manage, and archive all steps to secure proper documentation. Normally this was two parallel workflows, but in Gluu it is one action with a few clicks in the app by a worker on the construction site.
The pilot project showed clear returns, which is why VME continued its roll-out to the rest of the district heating department.
During the pilot project, an internal group of super users and ambassadors was also created in VME. These ambassadors, based on their experience from the pilot project, were able to provide reassurance to the rest of the organization in the further roll-out.
Other benefits that VME has achieved
In addition to streamlining and standardizing the delivery process, VME has also experienced other tangible benefits from using Gluu:
- Simple, verifiable quality control
When a task is done with Gluu, both time and place are logged. Often, the employee documents the work with photos while he does his registration. All in the same action and app. The documentation for when VME has done e.g. a roadblock or exhumation, and how it happened is therefore stored automatically and easily accessible.
- Connection with SharePoint for document Management.
Gluu’s built-in SharePoint integration provides VME task-, case- and document-management in the same process and workflow.
- One overview of all cases (projects)
Gluu’s case management eliminates the need for the project manager to continuously check the status of all project members. With a simple overview of the case in Gluu, the person responsible can see for himself who has done what (and when) and thus understand if the project is on track.
VME and Bülow Management A/S placed great emphasis on ‘what is in it for me’ from digitalization for the hourly-paid workers. When many employees are not ‘digital natives’, it is important to remove IT interacion rather than increase it. With Gluu, this meant that a lot of actions in different systems (and emails) were reduced to a few clicks in one and the same app. This removed IT and complexity from the employee’s daily work on the construction site.
At the same time, the simple approach to proper work instructions via the app has ensured that tasks are done correctly. This has created a level of reassurance for management and eliminated the need for close follow-up.