Since 2016, the Autzen construction business has already been relying on software solutions
Currently, just 38% of all German construction companies have anchored digitization in their business strategy. This is the result of Deutsche Telekom's "Digitalization Index for SMEs 2020/2021". In it, the authors state that the construction industry is currently the weakest digitized sector among German SMEs.
At Autzen, digital has long been a lived practice. "I would prefer to have no more slips of paper at all," says site manager Uli Scheer. The 39-year-old has been part of the Autzen team since 2006. He was one of the first to be equipped with a tablet to digitally record his crew's hours. "Five years ago, when we started with Molteo, it looked very different on the construction sites, you really had to convince your colleagues about the software. Today, everyone actually has Molteo on their private smartphones," Scheer recalls. "Then you can just look in the evening to see where and with whom you are scheduled for the next day," explains his colleague Hendrik Ude.
Both agree on one thing: The software saves a lot of time that would otherwise have been spent on phone calls. "And it's simply faster. When I needed the latest version of a construction plan, I simply got it via the app. That way, we didn't have to wait for someone to print out the plan and drive us here to the job site," adds Scheer. That saves contractors time and, in turn, money.
Before things got to this point, Autzen underwent some restructuring. After the changeover to the next generation, managing director Nils Autzen knew he wanted to modernize the construction business. The office building was expanded to provide enough space for the now eight employees. But the technology was also to get an upgrade. With this, Nils Autzen found open ears with his architect and planner Stephan Brummer. "And then we started looking for a time recording program," recalls Brummer. Before that, as with many professional colleagues, it was still done using time sheets filled out by hand. They learned about the Schleswig start-up through word-of-mouth.
"The good thing about Molteo is that the timesheet and job site scheduling are in one software," explains Brummer. For his managing director, Nils Autzen, the interface to payroll accounting tipped the scales. "The simple transfer of hours to the payroll program saves us a lot of time that we can use in other ways," Autzen is pleased to say. After deciding on the software, it was time for implementation. "And that was quite a rocky road," recalls his colleague Anica Hansen.
Time and patience
"If someone is planning to implement new software, they should first and foremost have time and patience," Hansen emphasizes. At first, the office team had studied Molteo extensively. At that time, the software company was still in its infancy, and together with Autzen, many weak points were patched. "On the one hand, that was totally great, because it gave us software that was perfectly tailored to our requirements. On the other hand, it was also a long journey until we could say 'Now everything is running smoothly,'" Anica Hansen recalls. In the meantime, the trained businesswoman for wholesale and foreign trade management has been working with the software for around six years. "The work has definitely paid off," she concludes.
Taking the team along
It was especially important to introduce the team to the new software step by step. Even now, Brummer and Hansen still plan small rounds to clarify any questions with the staff/employees. "That's where it's an advantage to do it with five to ten employees. In larger groups, some otherwise don't dare to ask their questions," Hansen reports. "But especially with younger colleagues, Molteo has completely caught on. They are sometimes further ahead than we are here in the office," says Brummer with a twinkle in his eye. The construction planner is now very satisfied with the software. "It offers exactly what we need. Even though there are many more functions in the software. The modular structure means we can simply pick and choose what suits our way of working best."
"For me, the biggest plus is the construction diary," Hansen points out. She used to go directly to the construction sites herself to take photos. Then she transferred them to the PC later in the office to then write the documentation. Today, each column is equipped with a tablet. The pictures are then immediately transferred to the office. "We can then also share this documentation directly online with our customers in a newsfeed. That way, everyone is up to date on a daily basis," adds Brummer.
About Autzen. At Horst Dieter Autzen GmbH from Treia, the focus is on the customers. Since the company was founded in 1948, the employees have been implementing the wishes of the clients with their experience in craftsmanship and their innovative engineering knowledge. But the traditional company is also connected with the craft. For example, they provide their own supply of skilled workers and train carpenters and bricklayers. In addition, managing director Nils Autzen is active as head master of the Schleswig building guild and volunteers his time as deputy district master craftsman for the skilled trades.