Ooms Avenhorn offers a combination of civil engineering, infrastructure and commercial building services to clients. Acting as prime contractor on all sizes of project, the group specialises in the delivery of sustainable buildings with an eco-friendly approach.
Asphalt company looks to 4PS Construct to smooth the road ahead
When a large group of companies in diverse sectors of construction decide to change their entire system, the potential for things to go wrong is very real. With 4PS software, and the support of the 4PS team through a tough and complex installation, the project was a complete success.
The Ooms Avenhorn Group, based in the province of Noord-Holland, used to be a road construction business but has grown into a company with international operations and 800 employees across five divisions. However, Ooms Avenhorn has never forgotten its roots. Stefan Verkade, their Financial Controller, says:
'Road construction, and asphalt in particular, is still our core business, certainly in terms of turnover.'
Ooms Avenhorn needed to lean heavily on their systems as they began to feel the effects of the economic downturn. Stefan Verkade again:
'The crisis means we are increasingly coming up against smaller businesses who are competing with us in tenders for relatively small-scale projects. On the other hand, we are facing more competition from the really big guys for the medium-sized projects as they also want a piece of the action.'
Stefan Verkade recalls the time when they started to feel the need for a new system.
'We were using a rather dated system, not just in terms of graphics but also in terms of functionality and ease of use. One of the things that irritated us was how difficult it was to access the data, and our staff ended up using Excel instead.' On top of that, the company grew enormously, partly due to a number of takeovers that resulted in five infrastructure companies merging in 2005. The big organisational changes during this period and the demands being made to improve their reporting meant that the old system was no longer suitable.
All these factors led them to wonder at the start of 2007 whether they should implement the latest version of their old system as an upgrade or go for a completely new solution. Stefan Verkade again: 'The latest version was a good product in terms of content even if it had a rather dated look and feel. But communication with the vendor was poor and that was a very important aspect.'
They opted for a completely new solution. In autumn 2007 they drew up a schedule of requirements based on a detailed review. 'We sent this to five different providers,' says Stefan Verkade. 'One provider didn't reply, another withdrew and so there were three serious candidates remaining. 4PS was one of them.' At the start of 2008 the remaining candidates were invited to demonstrate their solutions.
The packages were assessed according to five criteria: • fit to their requirements • availability of industry references • strategy for continuity • cost of the solution • quality of the demonstration
The 4PS Construct solution was found to be the best option. The decision was a tough one as there was at least one other excellent candidate, but certain factors tipped them in favour of 4PS. 'The 4PS approach to developing their system, with only one version and all additions being added to the standard package, meant continuity was assured. In addition, the 4PS package was much more user-friendly and easier to use,' says Stefan. The final decision was taken in June 2008.