- Best Practise
Digitalizing Logistics: From Excel to the Digital Supply Chain
Do you know this kind of problem? An annoying file chaos on your desktop and countless lists in countless storage locations consume nerves, time, and money in your projects? It doesn't have to be like that.
Read on to discover how you can accomplish the shift from Excel-based site logistics to a digital supply chain - and why all users on site will benefit from it from the very first minute.
Digitalizing Construction Site Logistics = More Time for Building
Cost pressure, customer requirements and the number of regulations in plant and mechanical engineering are constantly increasing. It therefore makes sense to take advantage of all opportunities to reclaim valuable time for what you burn for as a plant engineer: construction-related activities. Those who want to have more time for the building activities themselves should therefore embrace the benefits of a digital supply chain.
But slowly, one thing at a time ...
What Digitalization is NOT
Ideas about what a digital supply chain is drift quite widely in practice. So, let's first clarify what digitalization is NOT:
- scanning numerous documents and filing them as PDFs or
- having different information "stored around" digitally in countless files, Excel lists, e-mails and in various storage locations – and theoretically being able to use them.
- Even if documents are stored "in the cloud," that is not yet adequate digitalization.
- Last, not least: Digitalization does not mean that no one must think anymore!
Digital Supply Chain: What is Digitalization?
A meaningful digital supply chain implicates the use of new technologies with the clear goal of creating sustainable added value and reducing unnecessary time losses.
Digitalization must therefore never be an end, but rather must
- ensure the consistency and availability of information,
- eliminate Excel and paper chaos on construction sites,
- establish meaningful standardization,
- increase transparency for all parties involved,
- facilitate focusing on the essentials, and
- enable new ways of working and business models.
- Last, not least: Digitalization projects are a question of mindset.
Traditional Construction Site Logistics via Excel: What's the Problem with that?
Those who handle transport and construction site logistics without a digitization solution typically use Excel files and e-mail.
Occasionally, shipping is also handled via an ERP system. In this case, however, as soon as it moves towards the construction site, the logistics end up in a "black hole"!
The number and the versions of lists and other documents explode at any rate at all corners and ends: An outgoing list gives rise to countless subsequent lists and documents, e.g., bills of materials, packing lists, customs documents, and material movement information.
Files are typically stored in countless locations. The handling and preparation of documents is correspondingly tedious. The effort thus increases for everyone involved - both in transit and on the site. Briefly:
- Teams struggle with a data chaos that gets bigger and bigger the longer the project lasts.
- Searching for, finding, writing, preparing, and distributing documents consumes valuable resources.
Digital Supply Chain: What does it Solve?
In a nutshell: The digital supply chain eliminates all the problems of an Excel-based project logistics that have been mentioned so far.
- You regain control over your projects - from manufacturing to installation.
- You ensure that everyone involved can work at their best and spend their time on value-adding activities.
- You remain sustainably competitive.
Competitive Advantage Through Digital Supply Chain
We know only too well the challenges encountered during plant construction projects: each one is unique. In constantly changing project organizations with a variety of cultures, languages and countries, construction plans must be brought to a successful completion. The lack of international standards adds to the problem. And now a digitization project is to be added on top of that? How is that supposed to work - and will it achieve anything?
5,000+ digitization projects that INSITE IT has successfully completed together with its customers in more than ten years have clearly shown: Those who dare to take the step and opt for a digital supply chain benefit from the very first minute - and secure sustainable competitive advantages. The path to digitized logistics is also significantly easier than some people initially fear.
The Easy Way to a Digital Supply Chain
Are you considering digitalizing your project logistics? It's that simple!
1. Just Do It!
NOW is the best time to accomplish the shift to a digital supply chain. Get started - even if you don't solve all the problems at once: "Better 80% digital than 100% paper chaos!" After starting, follow up with all other relevant areas and optimize continuously.
2. Hands-on Approach
Focus on the highest level of practical applicability! Digitalize in such a way that the users and the project have clear practical benefit right from the start. The best way to achieve this is with solutions that have been specially developed for plant construction. The digitization solution Insite LMS, for example, was developed directly on the construction site - together with the site teams and international plant construction companies. As a result, Insite LMS offers exactly those features that plant and mechanical engineers need daily for their projects. In addition, the system is flexible enough to respond appropriately to project specifics and current requirements.
3. "Users First!" Approach
The key to success is to immediately offer real added value to those who work with a digitization solution daily. Insite LMS has followed this "Users First!" approach since the very beginning. Users repeatedly report that the solution significantly simplifies their everyday lives. To this end, Insite LMS provides a wide range of functions necessary for complex projects via a practical, cloud-based app.
4. Professionals as Partners
To digitize your logistics, you should rely on proven partners who know both plant engineering and its digitalization inside out! In this way, you will quickly arrive at a digital supply chain that sustainably enhances your projects.
5. Platform Instead of Isolated Solutions
Make your project life easier by relying on a comprehensive platform for the entire construction site. Avoid using countless individual solutions for the different areas. Why? In this way, you keep training and maintenance costs in bounds and increase the happiness of everyone involved in the project.
It is no longer a question of whether you should digitize your project logistics at all (key words: cost pressure, time pressure, competitive pressure, increasing complexity) - but only how, with which tool and with which partner at your side. Experience from countless projects has clearly shown: The step towards the digital supply chain should be taken quickly. This is the only way to survive on the market in the long term.
The good news: establishing a digitization solution for your own projects is easier than you think and quickly brings concrete benefits to users and the project.
- Elimination of paper chaos
- Efficient, effective project management
- Increased competitiveness
- More time for building & building quality
- Satisfied users on site and in the project
See for Yourself: Material Tracking with Insite LMS in Steel Construction
In this ERF project in Rookery South, Insite LMS ensures an optimal material flow.
About the Author
INSITE IT GmbH
Since the company was founded in 2012, INSITE IT GmbH has continuously become the professional partner for plant engineers. The software company with headquarters in Linz (AT) and a location in Chicago (USA) develops software solutions for materials, logistics and site management in plant engineering.