Source: eKapija | Sunday, 20.10.2019.| 12:20
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Bojan Petkovic, Country Manager at PlanRadar – We offer a software solution which saves time and facilitates operations in the construction industry

Bojan Petkovic
Bojan Petkovic
Intending to provide an adequate solution for construction site management to construction companies, but also to help investors and contractors save time and money, the company PlanRadar created the eponymous software for the management of construction documentation. The main idea was to enable quality monitoring of flaws in projects and their documenting. Although primarily meant for the construction sector, PlanRadar quickly found application in other fields as well, such as facility management and production industry, practically, in all spheres which require the creation of quality documentation in the field.

PlanRadar, which was founded in 2013 in Vienna, is constantly growing, increasing its income and the number of employees each year. The plan is to continue that way too, and the next step is expansion to the market of Southeast Europe.

PlanRadar’s offer to users and the benefits of the implementation of this solution, but also the company’s further plans, were the topic of our conversation with Bojan Petkovic, the Country Manager for Southeast Europe at PlanRadar.

– Each project manager or an engineer at a construction site needs to communicate with numerous associates, using various tools, such as mobile phones, emails, analog records, written documents, and to run a record about everything that happens on a certain project. They also need to monitor the flaws during the construction itself. PlanRadar combined all those segments into a central place, a platform which uses a certain blueprint as a basis, so everything that happens on a project is mapped directly from the blueprint.

This means that, using the mobile app, the user can visit the site, locate the problem, document it with images or audio records and inform another user of it. PlanRadar is in fact a central platform which not only helps the app administrator, but enables other users to get included as well, namely, contractors and subcontractors, investors, all those involved in the project itself. This means that a large number of people can take part in a project, monitoring what happens within each individual task in real time.

eKapija: Do users need to be specially trained to use this app?

– On the contrary! Experience shows that a user needs no more than half an hour to fully master the app. There are three main segments of PlanRadar that make it globally successful.

First, the PlanRadar solution is very user-friendly. In general, the construction sector has not gone through digital transformations they way other industries have, which doesn’t mean that it doesn’t need to. It’s just that people in that sphere had no quality tool that would enable them to do so. Three main functions are important when it comes to using PlanRadar – knowing how to use a mobile phone, knowing how to map a certain task or problem through the touch-screen, creating an image, and finally, how to describe all these things within the solution itself. So, it’s very easy to use.

Another very important thing is the possibility of adapting the solution to the needs of the users. There are civil and mechanical engineers, architects and electrical engineers at each construction site and they have their needs and specific tasks that the app can follow. This means that PlanRadar can be customized, that is, adapted to the users’ needs.

Another important feature of PlanRadar is that is can be integrated into an existing system. We know that each company has an integrated system of its own, so it often happens that a new feature, that is, new software, doesn’t match it, which requires a full redefining of the way the company operates. That is one of the most frequent reasons why people resist innovations. With PlanRadar, such a scenario can’t happen. In addition to being user-friendly and adaptable to our needs, the software also integrates into the existing system in a company. The main goal, that is, the main idea behind this software is therefore to facilitate the operations.

eKapija: Do we need any special devices to use PlanRadar, or can it run on the phones and computers we already use?

– PlanRadar is a cloud-based app and works on all platforms and devices, regardless of the memory size. All images, documents and correspondence are stored on a cloud. It’s important to emphasize that the app also works offline, which is very important for construction projects, where users often don’t have internet access within a facility. That’s why we’ve tried to have PlanRadar as helpful as possible.

I also have to emphasize a huge advantage of using this solution on infrastructural projects. The app offers tools for the creation of data, monitoring of tasks and construction site even in conditions that are not “friendly” and that are in fact quite difficult. The app is improved in that segment, as it allows the user to react quickly, create documentation and solve the potential problem in real time.

eKapija: Once it’s downloaded, is PlanRadar available to the whole company or only to certain people within it?

– Our solution uses monthly and annual license models. There are two types of PlanRadar users. There are internal users, that is, license carriers, and then there are all the other users. It’s important to emphasize that the latter are free users and can access the app and operate it without any limitation if the license carrier allows it. The license itself is not tied to any computer or mobile phone, but exclusively to the username. This allows for great flexibility within a company.

Licensed users can run an unlimited number of construction sites and an unlimited number of projects. Three license models are available to them, depending on their needs.

eKapija: What are the benefits of using this app? What have the users’ experiences been like so far?

– The main benefit of using PlanRadar is saving time. Why? Because one system collects all the information and allows you to create reports, which otherwise requires you to use five to six commercial products. The feedback from over a hundred of our current clients is that six to 12 hours are saved a week thanks to this app. On average, we’re talking a full work day. While the app is doing the administrative part, people can focus on important things and problems within their profession.

It also often happens that engineers are working on several projects, which can be quite difficult. Thanks to the PlanRadar solution, users now have insight into everything that happens at the construction site at any moment, as well as feedback from other users. This makes the job much easier for project leaders and directors and investors alike, as it lets them know about the problems right away, allowing them to start solving them immediately.

eKapija: How many users does PlanRadar currently have?

– Globally, PlanRadar currently has around 5,000 clients, which in fact means that there are over 20,000 users working on over 25,000 projects on a weekly basis. The number is constantly increasing, we are growing fast and our aim is to introduce ourselves to companies in Serbia as well.

What’s very important for our users is that all the data on the PlanRadar app are safe. They are stores on Amazon’s servers in Europe and everything is harmonized with the GDPR standards. The company itself has experts for the GDPR and all the data are subject to those rules and formats.

eKapija: With which companies have you cooperated so far and on which projects has the PlanRadar app been used?

– We’ve worked on numerous projects, but I’ll mention only some of them. With the Austrian company Porr we worked on modernizing the U4 line of the Vienna subway system. This project on a total length of around 3.8 kilometers, between the Hütteldorf and Schönbrunn stations, was finished in only 128 days. PlanRadar helped reduce the time needed to record all the tasks in the field and collect quality documentation. The project was completed far before the deadline, and engineers were able to focus on important things and were provided with quality documentation, featuring a huge amount of data, at the end of the project.

In Austria, we also worked with Strabag, and Siemens has also recognized us as a partner on a global level. There’s also CBRE, a company famous for its offices and projects in the region, as well as numerous architectural studios and investment companies, such as Union Invest or ATP architects engineers from Innsbruck. It’s important to emphasize that the implementation of PlanRadar solutions is useful for large and small projects alike.

eKapija: To what extent are the advantages of digital technologies used in the construction industry today? Are Serbian companies open to smart solutions?

– As I’ve already mentioned, the construction sector has not yet gone through the digital transformation process. As shown by a survey done by the Roland Berger company, on a global level, 90% of the companies within the construction sector are thinking about digital transformation, but less than 6% use the benefits of digital tools.

The need and the potential to use new technologies in construction exist. It’s important to offer a solution that is simple, that can save time for users, improve their operations and provide them with concrete benefits.

eKapija: What are PlanRadar’s plans for the upcoming period?

– On a global level, the company is growing month after month and the aim is to have a total income of around EUR 10 million by 2020, which I think is quite realistic. When it comes to the region, the plan is to have several hundred clients over the next two years. Although the company’s Southeastern Europe office is in Zagreb, we spend an equal amount of time in each country. We also plan to employ people throughout the region.

We intend to bring positive changes and digital transformation to the construction industry. Our countries have been quite strong in the construction sector throughout the history and I really believe that we have great potential to become strong again.

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