A practical example: Industry software brings project management up to speed!
2/21/2024 Experts Know-how

A practical example: Industry software brings project management up to speed!

How is project management organised within your company? Do you have a constant overview of who is doing what in your enterprise? At your customer’s request, can you find out the status of the overall project or its subareas? Do you immediately know whether deadlines and costs are remaining within the calculated framework? Find out how you can organise your business more easily and always maintain an overview using cloud-based industry software!

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Analyse, decide, act!

A specialised dealer and assembler offers its customers the sale, assembly and maintenance of windows, doors and solar screening products. Including management, the team comprises eight employees.

Specific processes are to be simplified and digitised in order to make operations more efficient and use less paper. The focus is on the following areas:

  • Customer data management and CRM
  • Order processing, assembly
  • Timekeeping
  • Construction site documentation
  • Merchandise management

Company and project management worked with an external consultant to perform a comprehensive analysis of the organisational systems and processes within the company in order to find out where there was potential for improvement and what measures needed to be taken.

Following an analysis and evaluation, an assortment of modern, cloud-based industry software solutions were used to show the company what specific improvements are possible with digitisation.

To enable the company to take a targeted decision in favour of an industry solution, a detailed profile of the company’s requirements and its daily operations with reference to an appropriate solution was prepared and a comprehensive checklist generated. A schedule was created for meetings with solution providers and for introducing a new system. The consultant also described in detail the subsidies available for the upcoming digitisation.


Problem recognised: unstructured master data management

When customer requests are received by phone and the information passed on via a memo or paper form, and when information is manually recorded in a software tool for customer management, information is frequently lost, either partially or completely, or has to be requested once again in-house for clarification purposes. In contrast, service specifications are received via e-mail or a via platform as a GAEB file. There is no uniform task management.

Deadlines and construction sites are managed via an Outlook calendar. There is no synchronisation between a customer management tool and Outlook. Repair orders are created in a Word file template. Invoices and larger repair services are simply processed in an existing commercial solution.

The request for spare parts by customer service technicians is often an extremely complex in-house process. The technicians have a folder containing orders in duplicate on company letterhead. The customer receives a copy. Because the technician’s handwriting on the orders is often illegible, tasks such as generating invoices involve additional work and delays.


Problem recognised: laborious on-site measurement and preparation of bids

When bids for an assembly order are requested, an on-site appointment is made for a rough measurement using a folding ruler or tape measure. In addition, manual drawings and photos are produced on site using a smartphone or tablet. The fact that information is provided in different formats (paper and digital) complicates and delays the creation of a tailored bid.

Because windows, doors and solar screening products are obtained from different dealers whose product data is not automatically transferred to the calculation software, manual effort is again required that results in delays and a risk of errors. The software features of each dealer or manufacturer portal also have to be grappled with because, depending on the manufacturer, the bids are also written using the manufacturer software and forwarded directly to the customer.

There is no centralised, clearly organised representation of all the bids and their status. The overview of bids is maintained separately in a manually maintained Excel spreadsheet so that an overall picture can be attained. Only the most important data is transferred to this Excel spreadsheet.

The company’s project management team also maintains a Word table for order planning in which all orders are recorded along with the most important information, including status. Naturally, this list is error-prone and isn’t always up to date.


Evaluation and recommendations for action

The description of these sample processes from two areas already demonstrates various flaws:

  • Analogue processes and process chains
  • Limited efficiency due to manual (re)working, double entries and sources of error
  • Discontinuity of media and different systems increase costs, reduce profit margins and make it difficult to obtain an overview

An analysis and evaluation of the situation makes it clear that the company needs an industry software solution in order to model the relevant processes in a uniform manner and integrated in a system that permits a constant overview, eliminates duplicate work and eradicates sources of error.

To find the right alternative industry software solution and make this process as simple and efficient as possible, it’s a good idea to generate a comprehensive profile of requirements (performance specification).

A flowchart based on the following pattern can be helpful when implementing the plan:

  • Meetings with software providers and a demonstration of the appropriate software solutions
  • Detailed recording of meetings based on the profile of requirements
  • Generation of a checklist as an aid to communication – for example, regarding the topics of a training concept and training scope, including costs
  • One-time and running costs for software and service
  • What data can be transferred from the old software?
  • Application for the right subsidies for digitally optimising the company



Today, working efficiently means interconnection, from the request and planning to performance and documentation. The selection of cloud-based industry solutions that include project management requires a structured procedure for selection, implementation and financing.

At the PRACTICAL GUIDE TO DIGITISATION Forum being held at FENSTERBAU FRONTALE + HOLZHANDWERK 2024, you can attend expert interviews that will show you how modern digital systems are automating everyday business and routine tasks, simultaneously speeding up and documenting processes and making it easier to comply with rules, regulations and quality standards.

For information on the topics of all the practical interviews and discussions, including the times and information on the participants, consult the event schedule for the PRACTICAL GUIDE TO DIGITISATION Forum being held from 19 to 22 March 2024.


Portrait of Jasmin McNally

Jasmin McNally

Public Relations HOLZ-HANDWERK