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Digitizing Industrial Construction - Best Practice from 6000+ Projects

INSITE IT GmbH, Solutions for Industrial Construction Sites –
Reading time: 3 minutes

Digitizing projects in industrial plant construction doesn't have to be witchcraft. Benefit from the experience of 6,000+ successfully digitized projects - these hands-on tips will help!

2 Site managers use app on tablet.

Starting Point

Cost and time pressure, material shortages, customer requirements and global crises: The challenges in plant engineering are increasing.

Digitalization is thus becoming more and more important. It gives you the greatest possible project control and minimizes unnecessary effort.

Those digitizing their projects should consider all three pillars of digitization. Read on to find out more about them and to get to know three practical tips that will simplify your digitization life.

These 3 pillars are crucial.

Worker climbing ladder on a tower in the plant.

Digitization is much more than just selecting a suitable system. Rather, there are three pillars that play a role:

  1. users
  2. software/tools
  3. organization - culture, processes & data

In addition to the software, the respective corporate culture and established processes play a role and - last, but not least - "the human factor".

Pillar 1: Users

Worker on construction site in the backlight of the setting sun

Offer Added Value

User acceptance is a key to the success of digitization projects: Only if users consistently use the selected solution in their everyday work will the tool have lasting benefits. The digitization solution must therefore offer users on the construction site and in the back offices concrete added value right from the start.

Involve Users

Experience shows that acceptance increases significantly if the colleagues affected are involved early in the project and their feedback is taken into account.

Pillar 2: Software/Tools

Site manager discussing project progress on four screens displaying Insite LMS, the platform for industrial construciton.

It goes without saying that the software selected is a significant factor that determines the weal and woe of digitization.
Digitization approaches. How companies digitize their plant construction projects varies widely. The options are:

  1. one platform for entire supply chain/on-site use cases.
  2. numerous for individual use cases
  3. customized ERPs
  4. Excel & Co.
  5. analog work - paper, paper, paper!

Some companies use Microsoft Excel instead of loose pieces of paper and call it digitalization. Others extend their ERP (e.g. SAP) to the construction site. Others use individual solutions for different fields of application (e.g. construction diary, defect management, etc.). Finally, there are those who make their project life easier in the long term by relying on a comprehensive platform for the entire construction site and the corresponding supply chains.

Each of these options offers advantages and disadvantages. From our experience, we know: More successful in the long term are those organizations that rely on an end-to-end platform developed specifically for industrial plant construction. This allows them to ideally cover the relevant processes on the construction site and along the supply chain - in a single application and via an intuitive app.

Further information can be found in the digitization guide "Digitizing Industrial Construction: Best Practice Guide".

Pillar 3: Organization - Culture, Processes & Data

Symbolic representation from resistance to flow (wooden staircase with smileys and light bulb at the end).

Be sure to consider the specifics of each company's culture. This includes

  • mindset of the people the change will affect,
  • possible internal resistance, and
  • established processes.

Depending on this, the appropriate accompanying measures must be chosen proactively during the system introduction - keywords: change management & process optimization.

In any case, data is crucial - because, you guessed it, no digitization without data. Therefore, invest enough energy in ensuring data quality right from the start. Read more about this below under "Focus on data quality".

Let's Get Specific! 3 Practical Tips for Digitalizing Industrial Construction

2 Wire ropes knotted together.

1. Active Change Management

Shaping change: Communication! Depending on the company (culture, demographics), people may be more or less critical of the digitalization project. In this case, you must remain persistent - and manage the change professionally. To do this, define, among other things, who communicates which messages and impulses to whom and how.

One goal is for everyone involved to experience the change as useful and become supporters (in the sense of "commitment", i.e. voluntary self-commitment). Involving employees in the digitization project enables them to move from being outside observers to active change agents. This is a win-win situation.

Successful change management for digitization in plant engineering includes

  • the early involvement of colleagues,
  • clear, targeted communication at eye level,
  • constructive handling of resistance,
  • establishing internal advocates within the organization, and
  • unbureaucratic support in all project phases, including ongoing training, even after roll-out.

2. ONE System Instead of Information Chaos

Relevant real-time information at the push of a button, anytime and from anywhere - that's exactly what you want! With analog project management or "bumpy" digitization (e.g. when umpteen isolated applications are used), the opposite is the case: You have to laboriously sift through Excel lists, mails, loose notes, different tools and umpteen data sources - not to mention time-consuming telephone queries, multiple data entries and manual formatting efforts.

The solution to getting rid of this is a "single source of truth" (SSOT) like Insite LMS: as a central, globally available system, it stores all data prepares, distributes and secures all information for further use. This "single source of truth" is critical to success. It helps

  • to avoid data chaos,
  • to reduce multiple efforts,
  • minimize ambiguities,
  • to work together constructively, transparently and securely,
  • provide all users with valid information & the same view of the project.

3. Focus on Data Quality

One goal of every digitization project is to improve the success of projects and make it easier for users to perform routine tasks. The indispensable basis for this is - precisely - data. And data of the right quality. Because "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" - data quality that is not "entered into the system" at the beginning will not be created afterwards! Therefore, ensure data quality FROM THE BEGINNING. Invest sufficient energy in the topic of data quality. This concerns among other things

  • project standards in terms of data,
  • supplier integration (easy-to-use material registration facility, communication, legal framework such as ordering conditions),
  • data consistency: every typed packing list is one too many!
  • meaningful data connections (e.g. parts lists, material, deliveries, storage locations).

Digitizing Industrial Construction: Best Practice Guide

Download now: Digitalization guide with 9+1 practical tips

  • Expert insights from 5,000+ projects
  • Get to know the 3 pillars of digitization
  • How to get started!

Download now

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About the Author


Since the company was founded in 2012, INSITE IT GmbH has continuously become the professional partner for plant engineers. The software company is headquartered in Linz (AT) and develops software solutions for materials, logistics and site management in plant engineering.

Contact: LinkedIn

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