How Altrad is building its digitised future

Following its acquisition and integration of Cape, NSG and Hertel, Altrad realised it had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to invest in a suite of new technology that would bring people together as a single team to improve operational efficiency and drive future growth. So, last year, it decided to adopt a group-wide digital strategy that will bring all these technologies together to create a single picture across the UK business.

In a large, mature business this is no small feat. To help make the switch, the equipment and industrial services provider turned to technology partners 4PS and IAMTech.

4PS develops enterprise resource planning (ERP) software based on the Microsoft Dynamics platform and tailored specifically for the construction industry. The solution 4PS supported Altrad in implementing, 4PS Construct, provides Altrad with total visibility of site-based activities at their various stages. In addition, it means that the back-office teams can receive and monitor data in real time through the platform.

Second project partner IAMTech delivered ATEX-rated tablets and smartphones with iPlanULTIMATETM installed. These devices allow users to scope, plan, estimate and progress work, all at the worksite.

More importantly, they enable supervisors to spend more time on site, supervising, increasing productivity and monitoring safety where work is happening, instead of having to spend time sat at computers. The data is delivered into planning hubs which use innovative touch-screen technology to enable contractor and client swift access to performance information so decisions can be made about resource planning, equipment logistics and asset uptime.

“With this accurate and instantly accessible information, decisions can now be made immediately to the benefit of all stakeholders. Our people can take appropriate actions without hesitation, eliminating the risk of bottlenecks which can cause both on and off-site delays, and lead to rising costs. All this allows our teams time to focus on efficient and timely delivery, making full use of their skills without the frustrating administration delays,” says Tony Jester, managing director of Altrad Service’s maintenance, modifications and overhauls division.

Lead sales consultant at 4PS for its partnership with Altrad, Mark Egan, adds: “As data is captured at the beginning of a project or contract, this information can then be reused throughout the process. For example, data from the approved estimate or tender can be used to form the project budget, then again for procurement, cost control and forecasting, and ultimately the invoicing. This improves accuracy and reduces expensive errors.”

For too long the industry has relied on paper systems in the delivery of work in hazardous environments. Altrad, together with their strategic partners, are investing in removing those inefficiencies and frustrations by embracing new technologies to create a workspace where data becomes the driving force of contractor and client performance.

The iPlan system is used by 4,800 personnel, which accounts for roughly 75 per cent of Altrad Service’s UK workforce. It will deliver an estimated £650-million worth of shutdown and maintenance cost activities across more than 100 sites a year.

Ross Coulman, IAMTech’s managing director, says: “We have deployed our platforms across the world working in many differing environments. Working with Altrad offers the opportunity to showcase our mobile planning and execution technology with a partner that sees the opportunity it will create for their customers and their people.”

Failing to invest in digitisation can prolong planned schedules, lead to the late completion of builds, and eat into productivity and the bottom line.

In contrast, a big benefit of investing in bespoke digital ERP and on-site software is that stakeholders no longer have to worry about such issues. They can focus instead on high-priority tasks that are likely to drive higher profits, with customer experience and the quality of the products and services being delivered.

Creating a workplace where people can make decisions in a more agile and focused way, Altrad aims to improve service delivery and enrich the overall experience for its employees and customers alike.

Altrad is investing time and energy not only in technology, but also in it’s people. By inspiring their people to embrace change, the simplified ways of working will only lead to more wins for Altrad and its clients.

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