Now that quality assurance is gaining in importance and will soon become a legal obligation, it is a topic that is garnering increasing attention within Heembouw. But how do you shape these ideas in a practical sense? And how do you get everyone on board? The bottom-up approach has proven successful.
Ed Controls is the digital version of my self-invented system
Construction site manager René Lem had been searching for a solution to the huge pile of paperwork that comes with inspections and deliveries for some time. ‘Out of sheer frustration, people came up with their own solutions. I know a contractor who made his deliveries armed with a laptop on a hand trolley and a reel under his arm. Meanwhile, I came up with a system on paper with a floor map to the left and a description of the snags to the right. It was exactly what I wanted, but not digital. That would save a lot of time in terms of retyping and sending off to people.’
Ed Controls proved to be the digital version of the system he came up with. The added value of this tool quickly became apparent to Lem, although it took a bit longer on an internal level. ‘It was only once I had carried out a successful pilot in the De Oevers housing projects in Roelofarendsveen and presented the results to the management team and the Supervisory Board, that the ball really got rolling.’ Ed Controls has now been rolled out to the whole group and there are high levels of enthusiasm for the new way of working.
Get everybody on board: give people time and space
Lem believes that getting everybody on board is crucial. ‘We’re on the right track with quality assurance, but we’re not quite there yet. Carrying out top-down changes will not work – it will only result in people saying “we’ve been working that way for thirty years, why should we do things differently?”. Give people time to get used to it and the space to handle it.’
Introducing the new way of working resulted in Lem being awarded the Prize for Innovation, which is presented by Heembouw to the inventor of the most innovative idea on an annual basis. ‘Now that they can see the trophy in my office, everyone is thinking up smart ideas,’ he laughs. ‘But that is a good thing, let somebody else take the prize home next year.’