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  • Dear Readers!

    Everyone’s greatest wish at the moment is for life to return to normal. So let us take a look at the positive things that have happened. And there have been a great deal of them, many of which can be put down to the very good collaboration with you – our partners, friends and employees. As the year draws to a close, it is traditionally a time to take stock of the last twelve months and happily 2020 was not as bad as may have been expected considering the overall situation. At the same time, we can look ahead to 2021 with hope and optimism.

    One example is our return to the Dual System, the scheme in Germany for managing old sales packaging. Maybe some of you may remember when we withdrew our own Dual System, EKO-PUNKT, from the market in the summer of 2014 as it had become impossible to predict the legal and business risks at the time. But then the Packaging Law came into force – finally putting an end to the infinite number of amendments that were being made to the old Packaging Ordinance. Which means that the necessary framework conditions are now in place for us to return to the Dual System market. Following its first attempt (the acquisition of DSD which was unfortunately turned down by the monopolies commission), REMONDIS has now purchased RK, a Dual System that owns a full set of valid licences but, as yet, has no share of the market. Ideal conditions for us to play a role in this market again – something that is as natural for a recycling firm to do as it is for Father Christmas to wear a red hat. And so RK will become the new EKO-PUNKT Dual System. In the style of that famous film from the 80s, we’re going “Back to the future!”

    Christmas is also a time where we may traditionally make a wish. The European Commission and the German government wish to have so-called green steel, i.e. steel that is produced without fossil fuels and so emits as little CO2 as possible. Focus is being put here on “green hydrogen” as a potential climate-neutral source of energy. As with so many wishes, however, the first question is where should this green energy come from? And, above all, who should pay for it? Leaving aside the fact that there is as yet no official definition for green steel, the chances of there being sufficient supplies of green hydrogen available on the market any time soon would appear to be slim with the development towards renewable electricity generation moving so slowly. And yet, this sought-after green steel has been around for ages. It is produced from high quality scrap steel, over eight million tonnes of which is recovered and returned to production cycles by TSR using a process that is for the most part climate neutral – without having to consume land, without having to use additional resources and without having to needlessly transport material half way around the globe. Sounds almost like Christmas, but it’s true.

    Against the backdrop of all this good news, we would like to thank you all for the great collaboration work. May we take this opportunity to wish you a happy Christmas and all the very best for the coming year.

    Yours

    Thomas Conzendorf

IT on the building site

  • Looking at the field of scaffolding, one might well get the impression that this is a business that relies very much on manpower and is far removed from the world of digitisation and Industry 4.0. But, in fact, the opposite is true. It has been using bits and bytes for a long while now – and not just in the office but on the worksites as well. MULTISCAFF, a project being developed and implemented by XERVON Gerüstbau, the company’s scaffolding specialists, illustrates perfectly how bespoke IT solutions can benefit this field as well.

Software for a wide range of areas

Scaffolding projects involve a large number of individual stages – and manually erecting and dismantling the scaffold are just two of them. Numerous other processes are involved such as planning work, structural engineering tasks, obtaining permits, managing materials and organising the logistics. It goes without saying that digitising all these stages create both advantages and optimisation opportunities. Especially for companies like XERVON that not only carry out several hundred complex scaffolding projects every year but also deliver regular scaffolding services to their customers as part of service agreements.

Bringing in a universal solution

  • Four years ago, XERVON, one of the leading scaffolding businesses in Europe, decided to use a digital basis for their many tasks. The goal: to optimise interfaces, promote exchange of data, reduce the complexity of their system and minimise system breakdowns. It took a detailed look at what the market had to offer – and came back disappointed.

    • While there were a whole range of individual data solutions, there wasn’t a single platform around that could cope with the extensive set-up of this scaffolding specialist with its wide-ranging activities, customers and projects. This meant that the company had to develop a comprehensive, future-oriented and mobile solution itself. And this is precisely what XERVON has achieved with MULTISCAFF – a program that covers each and every aspect of a scaffolding project.

Input from a wide range of experts

A project team of scaffolding, commercial and IT specialists was set up in 2017 to develop MULTISCAFF. Step by step, they tackled each individual stage of scaffolding work, gradually integrating them into the project. An extremely complicated task as it had been clear right from the start that this future IT solution should not only interconnect in-house departments. Interfaces would need to be set up or taken into account for public authorities, customers and procurement platforms. The first pilot tests were carried out using real projects in 2018. The findings of these tests were then used to further optimise the system. At the same time, the team continued to further develop the program, integrating more and more areas of this complex field. A task the team is still doing today.

MULTISCAFF offers users a whole number of advantages, from being able to remotely enter data into the system all the way through to accessing documents in real time from any place and at any time.

MULTISCAFF was rolled out for the first time for the company’s service agreements. Its project business was added in 2020. This stage involved a complex development phase and will not be fully implemented until the end of the year. One thing is already clear: this SAP-based IT solution is a success. The MULTISCAFF apps are also proving to be very helpful as users can access the data they need via their mobile devices. These apps may just be the tip of the iceberg looking at the project as a whole, but they fulfil an important function bridging the gap between the office and worksite.

A high-end process across the whole workflow

MULTISCAFF offers users a whole number of advantages, from being able to remotely enter data into the system all the way through to accessing documents in real time from any place and at any time. Similar to a construction site file, the program provides all relevant information as it is needed – from the order, to the measurements, to the documentation and invoicing.

Whether tracking an order, planning daily schedules or taking measurements at the worksite: MULTISCAFF helps people to carry out many different operational tasks.

Both XERVON’s customers and XERVON itself benefit from MULTISCAFF as it considerably reduces administrative work, further optimises processes and leads to more standardisation. What’s more, it increases transparency and improves communications. All these factors help cut costs, reduce the amount of time needed for a project and enable the company to be even more flexible. Moreover, the data can be archived so that it can be accessed quickly and easily years later.

Ongoing improvements

  • The project has still not been fully completed. To make it as future-oriented as possible, MULTISCAFF will continue to be extended to include additional functionalities. The program will, therefore, grow in step with the tasks, incorporate new developments and integrate technological advances. At the end of the day, digitisation is a never-ending project – and not just in the field of scaffolding.

    Supporting decision-making processes with a single click: customers benefit from having a comprehensive real-time overview of their projects – helping them to monitor work and plan their next steps

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