Digitalization in the construction industry: Startup PlanRadar ensures simplicity and efficiency
“Build, build, build!” – In view of the current housing shortage in numerous major German cities, construction companies can look forward to a lot of work and full order books. Startups also benefit from this. Even construction giants can still learn a lot from young entrepreneurs when it comes to digitalization. We talked to someone who needs to know. Ibrahim Imam is a co-founder of PlanRadar – a start-up that specializes in digital documentation as well as task and defect management in the construction industry. On the new “paperless” construction sites, architects, site managers and craftsmen can view and comment on all construction drawings online at any time. This facilitates exchange, increases efficiency and ensures safety in the event of defects. In the meantime, more than 25,000 projects in more than 40 countries are handled with PlanRadar software every week.
Normally, we always start our cooperation with corporate groups as part of a jointly defined pilot project. On the one hand, this enables us to get to know the customer’s needs even better. Above all, however, the users can extensively test and experience the advantages of PlanRadar in daily practice. If you then offer a product that simplifies the necessary work processes and makes them more efficient, it is a classic win-win situation.
Can you tell us more about your cooperation with STRABAG or another established company? How did you get to know each other? Were there certain hurdles that you had to overcome first?
Since PlanRadar is a very self-explanatory, “training-free” product, we never got to know the majority of our customers personally. Usually the cooperation always starts with the non-binding test of PlanRadar, which can be started free of charge via the registration link on our website. Especially for corporate customers there are of course some requirements that have to be fulfilled in order to meet the different needs of the various departments (specialist department, IT, purchasing, etc.). Once these have been successfully mastered, PlanRadar is used throughout the group in a wide variety of applications (documentation, task management, defect management, etc.).
What about the willingness of employees to adapt their work processes and use PlanRadar?
Of course, many companies have rigid structures and work processes. Understandably, these also have their raison d’être, especially since the company exists and operates. So a little persuasion is needed. If we as a provider manage to convince employees that PlanRadar simplifies their daily work, that they can work faster and more efficiently without a major rethink or lengthy training, most of them are willing to try new things, adapt their processes and apply PlanRadar in their daily business. The consistently positive feedback also confirms that we are on the right track.
The construction industry continues to be one of the least digitized sectors. Due to the excellent order situation of the entire construction and real estate sector in recent years, the pressure to increase productivity or the willingness to change is often not as high as in other sectors. All the more reason for us to be pleased that many companies from the construction and real estate sectors have decided to take the first step towards digitisation with PlanRadar.
Startups often complain that the processes in established companies are too lengthy. Is that how you perceive it? How do you deal with this? What would you like companies to do?
Of course, you can’t say that in general terms. But it’s certainly true that new ideas, especially in large companies, first have to go through their stages before they end up with the right person. From my point of view, this is the best way to act with the right tact and patience. Conversely, it is of course desirable for corporations to try to put themselves in the position of start-ups and allow innovation accordingly.
Are there other areas where established companies could learn from PlanRadar and other start-ups?
Open communication and flat hierarchies are essential for most young companies. Processes and decisions can be considered, but they can still be made quickly; an extreme advantage in today’s world, considering how fast-moving our society is. Never stand still and always have your finger on the pulse of the times. – This is the only way to ensure that the best product remains in the fast lane tomorrow.
What have you personally learned from working with established companies in recent years?
No matter whether it’s a large company or a start-up: Ultimately it’s all about the people behind it. Regardless of the size of the company, they always deal with very similar topics. If you manage to get the people behind it on both sides to sit down at the same table, you can create added value for both.
All pictures (c) PlanRAdar