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Knowledge next: Bilfinger focuses on a digital future

ON BOARD: Bilfinger were quick to see the importance of digitalisation and its take-up has greatly benefited business
ON BOARD: Bilfinger were quick to see the importance of digitalisation and its take-up has greatly benefited business

German engineering has long been respected for its unrivalled quality, and the Mannheim-based Bilfinger group continues to live up to this reputation by creating future-facing digital solutions.

Working closely with software giants Microsoft and Siemens AG, the group has developed digital solutions designed to streamline processes and improve connectivity.

Aberdeen-headquartered Bilfinger Salamis UK has taken up the digital mantle, not only making the most of tried and tested digital solutions developed elsewhere in the group, but by developing its own when possible.

“We were quick to recognise the importance of encouraging digitalisation, and have seen great benefits,” said Sandy Bonner, Bilfinger Salamis UK Managing Director.

“Our business benefits from being able to access the combined efforts of other Bilfinger entities, learning from the initiative and experience of others, and we have developed our own digital solutions too. We have a well-established digitalisation group which includes colleagues from across the business, and allows us to identify opportunities and work to introduce digital solutions.”

Using digital solutions has had a significant positive impact on the work of Bilfinger teams, especially in the offshore environment. The introduction of tablet technology, removing the need for pen and paper, means digital tools are literally at their fingertips.

It has also improved connectivity, both between Bilfinger teams and between Bilfinger and clients. Onshore colleagues can review information from site in real time, enabling informed and fast decision making. There is also testing under way to link Bilfinger tablet reporting with client systems, so they too can benefit from this up-to-the-minute reporting, as well as removing instances of duplication of effort.

As well as having a positive impact on the way Bilfinger Salamis undertakes work, the business has also introduced digital solutions that benefit the working lives of its staff.

Its mobilisation app, introduced early last year, enables offshore employees to receive their mobilisation details directly to their smartphone. It has simplified the mobilisation process, allowing employees to access their mobilisation details at their leisure, note when they require accommodation, and also provides a valuable communication stream to employees in remote sites. More than 12,000 mobilisations have been processed through the app.

Training in remote areas is also set for a digital boost as Bilfinger Salamis has been chosen to take part in a beta test of the group’s new knowledge sharing platform Industrial Tube. In a world where searching for an online “how to” video is more common than opening an instruction manual, this platform will enable every colleague to share their skills, making short videos through a step-by-step process accessed through an app. Employees will be able to access the video platform, and find the information they require, no matter their location.

As well as recognising the way knowledge is consumed in 2019, it’s hoped the platform can fill skills deficits left by a retiring workforce. Recent UK figures show 18.2% of the UK population are aged 65 or over; this is projected to grow to 20.7% by 2027. By capturing the skills of those nearing retirement, it is hoped that younger colleagues will be able to learn and maintain the same standard of practice. Industrial Tube is set to be rolled out across the group later in 2019.

Bilfinger Salamis UK will be at SPE Offshore Europe 2019 on stand 2D60, showcasing their digital capabilities.

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