Changeover to complete digitalization underway
“If you don’t gear your company to the future today, you’ll fall by the wayside at some point.” They live by this motto at Naumann/Kies + Beton. Over the last decades, various processes within the group of companies have been steadily digitalized. “The proprietary electronic data processing installed for this purpose was actually tailored to our requirements at the time and was also supervised by us.” As, however, the company group was faced with other and new requirements, which could no longer be met, a change was necessary, reports Ralf Zschäbitz.
First talks with PRAXIS EDV-Betriebswirtschaft- und Software-Entwicklung AG revealed what enormous potential there was in practical experience here, says Zschäbitz. The decision was taken to install the PRAXIS EDV flagship – “WDV 2020”. Behind this is highly integrated ERP, which was developed from straight weighing data processing. Here, over time, other areas, such as invoicing, recipes and master data, purchasing of raw materials, the laboratory, costing, material planning, the electronic delivery note and digital archiving, have been integrated.
As here the asphalt, bulk solids and concrete industries relevant for us as well as construction materials logistics are excellently modelled, we decided to start with the introduction on 1 January 2019.” After a relatively short time, most of the data had been copied and all procedures established at normal level. For better preparation, already from October 2018, for example from weighing and mixing as well as from invoicing, accounts, sales and planning were divided into specific groups and given training with information important for their work.
Frank Kunath, sales executive at Kies + Beton GmbH for the Erfurt region, sees the big advantage for his work in the fact that he can see all important data for his customers at a glance, like, for example, the construction sites and sales, which brings a considerable time saving. Now the plants in Erfurt/Schwerborn, in Kirchheim, the concrete pumps of the BHT and the BVFW construction products sales are digitally networked with WDV as a genuine “Industry 4.0” solution. Data is exchanged via a highly secure cloud.
WDV 2020 could, however, do so much more. While the company did buy a “complete and finished package”, adjustment to the concrete situation within the group of companies is currently being performed in a coordinated effort. “In principle, the procedures in every company are comparable. The concrete differences are in processing, as procedures in every company are evaluated and processed differently. Every business case is seen from a different perspective and other priorities set. Therefore PRAXIS EDV is still developing WDV with us today and introducing improvements to it specifically for us,” says Zschäbitz.
Many simplifications have been made to order planning in Erfurt. “We can now work through orders to our vehicles digitally, for example from our gravel plant to our concrete plant, which used to be done by telephone,” says Holger Pabst (responsible for order planning for bulk solids). This is also confirmed also by his colleague Peter Mainz, who is responsible for cement and gravel. “In addition to digital order placement, we can check where the vehicles are and whether they are moving within the right time frame, keeping to schedules and using the right routes to the mixing plants or customers.” This real-time query on the PC was, they explained, a big help as here, too, everything used to be done by telephone, which took up a lot of time.
As explained further, switchover of the wheel loaders was also taking place step by step. Currently, they explained, an older system was in operation, which, however, can digitally transfer delivery notes to the WDV 2020. “For one vehicle, we bought a wheel loader console from PRAXIS EDV for testing.” Here the driver had immediately access to all WDV data, like, for example, construction sites and products, said Zschäbitz. The data of the wheel loader is displayed to all participants within seconds and can be immediately invoiced. Besides the time saving, the reliability of delivery note creation was much higher, which Zschäbitz sees an important advantage.
A first big test had to be passed by WDV 2020 at the Sontra major construction site for the A44 road in the Germany state of Hesse. There, in late September, a relatively large superstructure on a motorway bridge had to be concreted. The delivery of 700 t cement at the mixing plant at exactly the right time, so it could be used with the plant’s own gravel to make around 2000 m3 concrete for six large boom pumps and very precise sequencing of all processes – this was the logistic challenge for the new software. To guarantee the required seamless supply of concrete, here three mixing plants in Berka/Werra, Reichensachsen and Eisenach worked together.
Also the data transfer from the plant-internal control system of the mixing plant to the WDV 2020 functioned superbly. Thanks to the digital transfer of the delivery notes, the invoices can be created immediately. One prospect is the introduction of digital delivery notes for the external customers of Naumann/Kies + Beton, too. This will then be done via the delivery note portal “Bau-ELSE”, which is also being installed. “With this further changeover, we shall be able to save a lot of paper, and the currently necessary delivery note archive for storage will then be superfluous.” The system will be audit-proof as PRAXIS EDV was aware of all statutory requirements and can digitally fulfil the corresponding requirements, says Zschäbitz. To give all customers and supervisors fast access to delivery notes and technical documents via Bau-ELSE, parallel to this a “company cloud” is to be set up.