Luc Vervoort, Supply Quality Engineer at Enexis, explains how they embrace digital transformation. Enexis’ main challenge relates to controlling the quality of the executed work on underground infrastructure and connections. Enexis is overcoming this by finding a digital solution that measures the work, infrastructure, and connection quality. Do you want to know how they uses digital solutions to perform better?

Challenges that Enexis faces

Enexis (like other network operators) increasingly fulfill  a control function in the performance of work on underground infrastructure and connections. This means that the work is done by different contractors and Enexis coordinates the various parties’ involvement.

Contractors generally manage (parts of) the work that is to be done, the extent of work is agreed upon through a contract, which generally lasts several years. Network operators, like Enexis, have ‘solo’ contracts, where the operator acts as a sole contractor. However, it is also possible to have a ‘combi’ contract, where multiple network operators (like gas, water, electricity) carry out collaborative work, in order to prevent digging more than once at the same location. Situations like this make it  more complex to control.

Vervoort explains, “Our biggest challenge in supplier management is to provide insight into the quality of executed work and actively use this information in all departments.”

Five years ago, Enexis asked Beethree to help develop a digital review tool. The tool, which would be a part of the Supplier Quality Management (SQM) app, needed to be designed in a way that could measure the quality of the work performed by the contractor on-site.

Supplier Quality Management App

“Before the SQM app, we used Sharepoint for digitalizing the feedback. However, this didn’t support mobile access or access from outside the Enexis IT network.” Vervoort explains. Beethree implemented SQM on the Salesforce platform, which is a cloud solution with a mobile application that is always available with a working Internet connection. With this technology, the executor or auditor of the network operator is able to complete the review on the spot, regardless of being on- or off-site.

“The SQM-app brings us lots of opportunities”, Vervoort continues. “One of the biggest benefits is the opportunity to run reports and easily share these with others within Enexis. It also saves loads of time because the tool can be used on the spot. It gives real-time and pro-active feedback on all works in progress.”

Besides the development of SQM, adoption of this tool is also of great importance. This is achieved by listening to the needs of the business and  involving all the stakeholders, both inside and outside Enexis. Up to this point, users of the SQM-app are very enthusiastic, they are even outlining requirements for the future themselves.

Digital Transformation

Vervoort is enthusiastic about these digital developments, “We are really embracing the digital world within Enexis. We can’t stay behind. Digitalisation enforces transparency and opens up the culture within network operators. SQM-app is a step in the right direction.”

But there are still some questions that Enexis needs to answer.. How do you connect people and get more stakeholders involved? Additionally, how do you translate these needs? “IT-thinking and process thinking are two different worlds that need to be brought together,” Vervoort stresses. The next step for Enexis is to get a 360 degree view of the contractor, which besides insight into executed work, also means insight into the customer,market, health, security,environment, and damage control. This is where Design Thinking could be very useful.

Enabling innovation through Design Thinking

Design Thinking is more than just a process, it’s a mindset that shifts companies from ‘comfort zone’ to ‘learning zone’ with the customer in mind by listening to the needs of the users and translating these needs into practice. Design Thinking can lead to innovation but has to  be facilitated in the right way. It is necessary to create a culture where there is room for failure. People should dare to make mistakes because this is how they learn the most. Vervoort concludes by saying, “Design Thinking could really help us match all the different needs within different stakeholders within Enexis.”  

You want to share your thoughts on design thinking or would you like to know how we help you to enable digital transformation at your company, feel free to contact us.