Innovative and reliable solutions for the energy infrastructure of tomorrow
FRIEDRICH VORWERK SE & Co. KG is one of the leading German companies in pipeline and plant engineering for network operators, industry, municipalities, and energy suppliers. Founded in 1962, the company has offered their customer innovative and reliable solutions for the energy infrastructure of tomorrow for 60 years. Today, the company employs over 1800 people in 15 locations and has been rapidly upscaling its operations in the past years through acquisitions of other companies. FRIEDRICH VORWERK Group SE has been listed in the German Stock Exchange since March 2021.
In the summer of 2021, VORWERK started a partnership with Bluugo to streamline and digitalize their processes of managing and maintaining equipment with Bluugo’s Tracking Cloud™ platform.
- Inefficient communication & information sharing between the field personnel, warehouse, maintenance, and management
- Lack of overall visibility for assets & equipment
- Labor-intensive paper-centralized workflows
- Bluugo’s Tracking Cloud™ connects VORWERK’s different stakeholder groups and construction equipment on a single platform and provides powerful mobile tools and digitalized workflows for tracking, managing, and maintaining the equipment in a streamlined way
- Improved equipment utilization rates
- Prevention of downtime
- Decreased manual work
- Paper-free workflows
- Real-time asset overview
- Seamless communication between different stakeholder groups
- Improved overall efficiency
Getting rid of the paper-centralized workflows
Before starting the partnership with Bluugo, VORWERK was relying on paper-centralized workflow to book, dispatch, and maintain their equipment in the numerous job sites across Europe. With over 1800 employees and a massive amount of equipment, this was causing major challenges in their day-to-day operations.
“We are a pipeline construction business, and our people at the jobsites should be able to focus on their actual work – not doing paperwork. The problem was, they just had to do it because we needed to book those devices for the jobsites.”, says Dominik Schweizer, Assistant to the Executive Board at FRIEDRICH VORWERK, who is leading the partnership with Bluugo from VORWERK’s side.
Handling all the paperwork manually was very time-consuming and missing documents were causing numerous issues and decreasing overall efficiency across all business areas. Maintaining a big picture of their equipment required lots of work and was at times almost impossible to handle.
“Often some papers went missing, and nobody could find them anymore. Days, sometimes weeks later we would find some papers coming up of device bookings somewhere. That is the issue with paperwork – information just gets lost.”, Schweizer elaborates.
When crucial information is lost, the effects can be seen in every phase of the process. Not having up-to-date information about equipment statuses slows down their dispatching for the next site and makes proper periodic maintenance significantly harder to execute.
VORWERK has numerous active project sites throughout Germany and Northern Europe.
The challenge of finding suitable digital tools
Finding a suitable solution for their challenges proved to be surprisingly difficult for VORWERK. Some available software were too blown-up for the use case, other had issues with poor usability and some were focusing too heavily on a single technology without the possibility to utilize existing identification tags for example. A common nominator seemed to be the lack of modifiability and adaptability.
“The other options, except the ERP -type solutions, were mainly focused on just booking items from one place to another, or setting up a defect report, but you couldn’t include other things like warehouses or workshop processes which we wanted to implement. They weren’t flexible enough for other use cases within our group.”, Schweizer says.
Read more about how Tracking Cloud™ is able to utilize VORWERK’s existing Data Matrix tags here: “Finnish Firm Turns to Barcodes & CortexDecoder SDK for in-the-field Data Capture”
After mapping out possible solutions for a while, Schweizer came across Bluugo and Tracking Cloud™. After seeing its web-based mobile application with a clear and easy-to-use interface and hearing about the high-level modifiability of workflows and transactions, he was quickly convinced this was the solution they had been looking for.
Another important factor for VORWERK was the ability to make changes to the service independently.
“The flexibility to adapt the solution to our internal processes and workflows was one of the points why we choose Tracking Cloud™, and that we could even create those transactions by ourselves. I’m using the query tool by myself, and I can change the transactions to some degree. It was important to us that we could do some of the work on our side too.”, Schweizer states.
Remote onboarding with the focus on user experience
It was crucial for VORWERK that the solution they were implementing would be easy to use for all end-users, regardless of their skillset and previous experience with digital tools. At the same time, it had to fit the varying needs and use cases of their multiple end-user groups. This was ensured by including people from all stakeholder groups right from the beginning of the onboarding phase and holding separate workshops with each group. This way, it was possible to get direct feedback from the actual end-users early on and make agile changes as the onboarding progressed.
“It is always good to bring the end-users to the table and give them something to work with quickly after the workshop and tell them that you can directly see your input here.”, Schweizer elaborates.
Another pivotal element in the onboarding phase was communication. The onboarding was executed 100% remotely with Bluugo’s team working from Finland and VORWERK’s from Germany, which greatly emphasized the role of efficient communication both ways.
“The communication with Bluugo’s team was always really good. If I had questions, I could always call. When I opened a high-priority issue on some random time of the day, within minute I got an answer that you guys are checking it out. I have worked with many software companies before, but this has been one of the best experiences so far.”, says Schweizer.
The results – easier day-to-day operations and increased overall efficiency
Since the implementation of Tracking Cloud™, VORWERK has seen significant improvements across all stakeholder groups. Equipment gets to the jobsites faster, there is way less paperwork to handle, information isn’t lost, communication between different groups is more efficient, and many day-to-day processes have become much easier.
in VORWERK’s workshops, having all the necessary information available anytime and anywhere has been a game-changer for the workers. Schweizer elaborates:
“The overall work in our workshops and getting the orders has become way more efficient. Everyone is now going around with a tablet in their hand. They can see all the orders, past orders, and past repairs, and check what has been done in the past months or years. This has helped a lot.”
In the warehouse side, the biggest benefit has been the drastic decrease of manual work. Before Tracking Cloud™, the whole process was based on manual paperwork, from which the information was then typed into their systems by hand. Now, the workers can simply scan an article with their mobile device and book it on the spot. The increased efficiency allows the warehouse workers to book more items in the same time, which means the technicians at the jobsites will also get their required equipment faster. This prevents downtime at the jobsites while also improving the overall utilization rates of the equipment.
“Being able to open a job site and see what’s been booked there is also a big plus for our jobsite managers. They can actually see what is in their jobsite and retrieve information about the devices.”, says Schweizer.
The ability to filter the equipment on a specific job site based on various attributes makes it even easier for the managers to find just the information they need and maintain a clear big picture at all times.
Tracking Cloud’s full offline capability enables the solution to be used with any mobile device even in situations where there is no internet connection available, e.g., when working in remote locations.
Future plans – expanding the solution to new business areas
From the beginning of the collaboration, it has been clear that both Bluugo and VORWERK are in it for the long haul. Schweizer sees great potential in developing the solution even further in the future and expanding its usage in new business areas. He sees the long-term partnership mutually beneficial for both parties:
“Already in the beginning, we knew that once the systems is running and we see it’s good, we are willing to invest more in development and even giving you feedback for your core product development. If you are able to develop your core product and offer an even better software solution, that of course also benefits us.”
There are currently two new Tracking Cloud™ projects on the table, which will expand the solution’s usage to new business areas within the VORWERK group. One will focus on FRIEDRICH VORWERK Service and their field service operations at customer sites while the other is related to the heavy equipment side of the group. Both Bluugo and VORWERK are already looking forward to the future projects and deepening the partnership.
“One thing I have noticed working with Bluugo is that everyone really loves what they are doing. This is tremendous when we are doing a project together. People are excited about what is being done and in our end that also helps a lot. It is just fun to work with Bluugo!”, Schweizer sums up.
Bluugo’s Team visiting VORWERK’s Tostedt facility in May 2022.
Company Profile: FRIEDRICH VORWERK SE & Co. KG
We are the drivers of the European energy transition. In our core markets of natural gas, electricity and hydrogen, we offer our customers innovative and reliable solutions for the energy infrastructure of tomorrow.
For 60 years, our name has stood for high technological competence, strong innovative power and partnership-based cooperation in the field of complex energy grids and sophisticated plant construction in Europe. The long-term safety, reliability and cost-effectiveness of our solutions are our top priorities. For the benefit of our clients and society, which profits from our sustainable solutions.
The basis for our decades of success is the synthesis of state-of-the-art technology and the knowledge and experience of more than 1,800 qualified employees at fifteen locations in Germany and Europe. This gives us the security of our own competence and makes VORWERK one of the most efficient German companies in complex pipeline and plant construction for network operators, industry, municipalities and energy suppliers.
Founding Year: 1962
Number of Employees: 1800+
Turnover (2021): 279m€
Locations: 15 main locations as well as numerous project sites throughout Germany and Northern Europe. HQ located in Tostedt, Germany.