Building or renovating a house is a very exciting moment. But it is also a very complex process where a lot can go wrong because all the pieces of the puzzle have to fit together. Digitisation, which has taken place much more slowly in the construction industry than in other sectors, can provide a solution here. The Belgian company Traxxeo offers digital solutions to monitor people and tools on construction sites much better, so that planning and budgets are better respected. “We’ve been able to provide excellent support to many construction companies over the past year and are now ready for significant expansion in Europe and beyond,” says Vice President Growth Charles le Hodey.
Traxxeo, with headquarters in Louvain-la-Neuve and branches in Brussels and Paris, was founded in 2008 and has been growing rapidly since 2016 as one of the pioneers in the digital transformation of the construction and infrastructure sector. And this transformation is more than necessary because, in contrast to industry and agriculture, productivity in the construction sector has declined over the last 30 years. “The major problem underlying the construction industry’s lagging behind on digitisation,” explains Charles le Hodey, “is that construction sites, which are a complex web of people and tools that are constantly changing, are centrally controlled. But if this has to be done on the basis of manually entered data about who is working where and with what material, it leads to a lot of problems. In the HR field alone, many hours are wasted after the end of a working period trying to figure out exactly who did what and when. Thanks to our mobile software applications, it is possible to enter all data on site. Our most successful products are the Digital Timesheets, which allow you to easily gather information in the field for efficient HR processing and real-time cost control, and the Presence Control to always have an overview of all the people present on the site and whether they are administratively in order so as to comply with all legal obligations. All these data are then linked to existing digital systems, such as the payroll system, so that our clients can work in a proactive and efficient manner thanks to our apps.”
The fact that each site is different has long been a reason for not fully believing in the digitisation of the construction sector. “But that’s now changing fast,” explains Florence Hennaut, Brand Content Manager. “Digitisation is increasingly demonstrating its great potential for the sector. After all, young managers holding strategic positions in the HR and finance departments understand only too well that wasting time filling in paper forms or Excel sheets without digital aids is really no longer acceptable. Particularly when managing complex processes in which a large number of different people have to carry out a wide variety of activities. If a worker is not paid correctly as a result of erroneous human input, that can have an enormous impact on employees, both on the site and in the offices. Not to mention the possible financial impact of such a mistake.” Traxxeo’s digital apps on tablets and smartphones make the life of site foremen and office employees a lot easier. Digital solutions for clocking on and off, access control, presence control and document management make optimal management of the workforce possible. Combined with solutions for the management of large and small equipment, this makes a world of difference compared with traditional site management. Because site foremen have drastically reduced paperwork and administrative tasks, they have more time and energy for human connection with the employees, who are clearly more motivated as a result. Because it is important for people to feel appreciated, and what better way to make them feel appreciated than by giving praise where it’s due. At the same time, these applications also reduce stress in the head office due to possible errors or missing information. All this leads to time savings, cost reductions and productivity gains. “In other words, we certainly provide part of the answer to the frustration, so common in the construction industry, caused by project cost overruns and the equally common frustration caused by site foremen often having to spend as much as 30 or 40 percent of their time on administrative tasks,” adds Charles le Hodey. It is clear that Traxxeo’s clients are able to increase their competitiveness in this way. Its customer list already includes big names from the construction sector such as Besix, Strabag, Veolia and CFE.
However, this does not mean that Traxxeo only wants to work with large customers. “We also respond to the needs of SMEs,” adds Charles le Hodey. “Our great strength is that we know the sector and the needs of everyone in it very well. We are therefore ready for a new growth phase. We will be able to realise these growth ambitions by further refining our apps to allow for even more detailed monitoring and more precise cost control. Initially, we want to strengthen our presence in existing markets, such as Flanders, while continuing our international development in Europe and Asia. In the next five years, with the support of a partner network, we want to grow into a real global player.” It is a fact that the construction and infrastructure sector is facing a major challenge in terms of digitisation worldwide. This can only benefit the construction companies that are carrying out many new construction and renovation projects in our country. And, ultimately, the prospective buyers of those projects as well, because more productive construction companies that control their costs better also ultimately ensure that those homes remain affordable.