Construction machines of the future: Putzmeister and etventure jointly develop digital business models
• A first digital project has just got underway with the launch of PUMPNOW, a market-ready online platform for the flexible hiring of screed pumps
• The companies have been collaborating in the area of digitization since October 2015
The digital revolution is affecting all industries and sectors. Even classical industries such as mechanical engineering and the construction industry have to adapt to the new digital reality. Putzmeister, a world leader in concrete conveying with further business units focusing on mortar and industrial technologies as well as underground construction, has recognized this. Since October 2015, the specialist machine builder based in the Swabian town of Aichtal has been developing digital business models in collaboration with digital consultancy and company builder etventure. To this end, a digital unit named “Innovation Factory” was set up; its mission is to identify customer problems, devise solutions, and then translate those into business ideas that are validated together with the customers. The first business ideas have now become ready for launching in the market.
“To us, it was always clear that the digital transformation would not bypass our rather traditional industry sector either,” explained Dr. Gerald Karch, CEO of Putzmeister Holding GmbH. “We are therefore proactive in engaging in the areas of innovation and digitization. Our years of experience in the industry and our knowledge about our customers’ problems combined with the digital know-how, entrepreneurial approach, and implementation strength of our partner etventure provide ideal conditions for Putzmeister’s successful digital transformation. In collaboration with the etventure team, we were able to not only focus our innovation projects more strongly on the customer, but also develop new, innovative business models within a very short period of time,” said Karch. “Our aim is to actively shape our industry’s future with innovative business ideas.”
PUMPNOW – always the right pump at the right time
The different digital business models and innovation projects focus on diverse business areas and aspects of the Putzmeister value chain. PUMPNOW, a first market-ready digital project realized jointly by Putzmeister and etventure, has just entered its pilot phase. PUMPNOW is an online platform for the flexible hiring of screed pumps. Interviews with customers from the relevant target group about their wishes and problems indicated that specifically the purchase and operating costs for a screed machine of their own represent a hurdle particularly for smaller companies involved in construction. And it is often difficult to know in advance when certain types of machine will be required at different sites and plan accordingly. PUMPNOW provides tradesmen with quick and flexible access to the specialist machines they require, including the necessary accessories and desired equipment. Using the service also does away with potentially lengthy transport distances in the case of dispersed building sites, and all the costs for maintenance, service, and insurance are included and can therefore be budgeted for. Tradesmen ultimately only pay for the period during which the machine is in actual use and during which they are being paid by the client for their services. The start of PUMPNOW is already proving the platform’s great potential: PUMPNOW acquired its first customer within the first twelve hours and has since attracted many more inquiries.
There are further projects under development in the areas of Machine-to-Machine Communication and Building Information Modeling (BIM). “In future, it will be possible to plan and visualize in advance the building site and the concreting processes in detail up to completion of the building work. Construction machines that are networked and integrated into the building site processes will play a key role in this,” explained Dirk Jahn, Managing Director of the Innovation Factory at Putzmeister. “Working in close cooperation with etventure, we are already setting the right course and positioning ourselves as a provider of digital solutions in the construction industry.”
Digitization in the “sandbox” of the Innovation Factory
To manage the company’s digital transformation, Putzmeister has set up an Innovation Factory as a digital unit in collaboration with etventure. In this digital unit, innovations for the various Putzmeister business units are identified, tested, and validated. Philipp Herrmann, founder and CEO of etventure, commented: “Setting up a separate unit for digitization makes it possible to develop new ideas in a “sandbox” and therefore independently of the existing structures and processes of the organization as a whole. The customers and their needs are at the center of all ideas and new developments. Using methods of innovation such as Lean Startup and Design Thinking, the Innovation Factory project team can push ahead with concrete digitization projects with a radical focus on user needs and short development cycles.”
Putzmeister is not the first corporate client from the traditional industrial world that etventure is supporting and assisting in managing the digital transformation. etventure has already realized similar projects with numerous well-known companies, including the plant engineering company SMS group, the steel distributor Klöckner & Co., and the family-equity company Haniel & Cie.
Following the motto “Only true entrepreneurs drive digital business”, the digital consultancy and company builder etventure identifies, develops, and tests digital business models across industries. With its four business divisions – Startup Innovation, Corporate Innovation, Teams for Innovation, and Space for Innovation – etventure has mapped the entire value chain for innovative projects. Its corporate clients include Wüstenrot & Württembergische, Deutsche Bahn, Daimler Financial Services, Franz Haniel & Cie., Viessmann, the SMS group, Putzmeister, and steel distributor Klöckner. etventure was founded in 2010 by Managing Directors Philipp Depiereux, Philipp Herrmann, and Dr. Christian Lüdtke. The etventure team is made up of 200 digital experts and entrepreneurs, who are based at locations in Berlin, Hamburg, Munich, Essen, Stuttgart, London, New York, Paris, and Zurich. www.etventure.com.
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Christian van Alphen
Head of Public Relations
Prannerstr. 10, 80333 Munich
Putzmeister Holding GmbH Max-Eyth-Str. 10
Putzmeister Holding GmbH
The Putzmeister Group develops and produces machinery of high technological quality in the fields of concrete conveying, truck-mounted concrete pumps, stationary concrete pumps, placing booms and accessories, plant technology, conveying viscous industrial materials through pipes, concrete placement and transporting excavated material from tunnels and below ground, mortar machines, plastering machines, screed conveying, injection and specialist applications. Market segments include the construction industry, mining and tunneling, large industrial projects, power plants and sewage treatment plants, as well as waste incineration plants all over the world. The company is based in Aichtal, Germany. With approximately 3,100 employees, the company achieved sales of around 755 million euros in the 2015 business year.