Digi­tal Pro­ject Management 

Wood con­s­truc­tion pro­jects digi­tal­ly mas­te­red with PLANTA project

Stef­fen Holz­bau rea­li­zes indi­vi­du­al wood con­s­truc­tion pro­jects which demand a spe­ci­fic com­bi­na­ti­on of mate­ri­als and engi­nee­ring com­pe­ten­ces. This includes indus­tri­al and warehouse con­s­truc­tion, the manu­fac­tu­ring and assem­bly of woo­den bridges as well as other ser­vices in the con­s­truc­tion sector.

wood construction projects

Stef­fen Holz­bau plans and con­trols the deploy­ment of its 120 employees simul­ta­neous­ly: 15–20 pro­jects in the craft sec­tor and 40–60 in tech­ni­cal pro­ject manage­ment. In order for both depart­ments to be able to work hand in hand and to meet the high requi­re­ments, effi­ci­ent resour­ce plan­ning is indispensable.

Due to the company’s rapid growth, incre­asing requi­re­ments in the plan­ning pha­se, and increased demand in the wood con­s­truc­tion sec­tor gave rise to the company’s need for effi­ci­ent soft­ware support.

The pre­vious tools were no lon­ger suf­fi­ci­ent to enable trans­pa­rent fore­casts and plan­ning. Due to the company’s growth, the Excel appli­ca­ti­on deve­lo­ped in-house was fur­ther­mo­re not able to pro­vi­de meaningful fore­casts on available capa­ci­ty, over­loads, etc. for resour­ce plan­ning in the craft sec­tor. Plan­ning resour­ce uti­liza­ti­on in pro­ject manage­ment with the help of Micro­soft Pro­ject also beca­me dif­fi­cult, as free capa­ci­ties or resour­ce over­loads could not be map­ped visually.


After a test pha­se in the cour­se of which dif­fe­rent appli­ca­ti­ons were tried, a sui­ta­ble pro­ject manage­ment soft­ware should be imple­men­ted to sol­ve pro­blems and enhan­ce the effi­ci­en­cy of work­flows. Chal­len­ging con­s­truc­tion pro­jects and clo­se­ly timed work packa­ges, which have to be coor­di­na­ted with pre­cis­i­on, deter­mi­ne the objec­ti­ves for the intro­duc­tion of the new solu­ti­on, for example:

  • detail­ed over­view of the uti­liza­ti­on of all pro­ject resour­ces and ear­ly iden­ti­fi­ca­ti­on of available capa­ci­ties and bottlenecks
  • more pre­cise com­mand con­trol­ling and bet­ter sche­du­ling for plan­ning and imple­men­ta­ti­on phase
  • tar­ge­ted resour­ce plan­ning based on indi­vi­du­al skills
  • pro­vi­si­on of rele­vant key figu­res for post-cal­cu­la­ti­on, as a basis for fol­low-up pro­jects and for che­cking cal­cu­la­ti­on data and esti­ma­tes (in terms of time)

Solu­ti­on Approach and Introduction

A pro­s­pec­ti­ve gra­dua­te was char­ged with the imple­men­ta­ti­on of a sui­ta­ble tool as part of his Master’s the­sis. The decis­i­on for and imple­men­ta­ti­on of the new soft­ware sys­tem was car­ri­ed out in seve­ral pha­ses. A com­pe­tence team was invol­ved, con­sis­ting of a pro­ject mana­ger, a con­trol­ler, an IT spe­cia­list, and three pro­ject team mem­bers. The decis­i­on was made in favor of PLANTA pro­ject. The sec­tor-inde­pen­dent pro­ject manage­ment soft­ware of the Karls­ru­he-based soft­ware com­pa­ny is now imple­men­ted in Potasch­berg, Luxem­bourg, the head quar­ters of Stef­fen Holzbau.

The soft­ware sys­tem could be com­ple­te­ly adapt­ed to the com­pa­ny-spe­ci­fic requi­re­ments. It was, e.g., pos­si­ble to inte­gra­te the time recor­ding sys­tem. In the long term, a fur­ther inte­gra­ti­on into the ERP sys­tem is planned.

Two Are­as of Application

PLANTA pro­ject is used in the tech­ni­cal pro­ject pro­ces­sing in the craft sec­tor by the employees in pro­ject management/back office as well as by the depart­ment mana­gers and team lea­ders. The soft­ware allows two mul­ti-pro­ject mana­gers, four depart­ment mana­gers, and six team lea­ders to get an over­view of the uti­liza­ti­on and capa­ci­ties of the plan­ned resour­ces. The new soft­ware allows the plan­ning of the effort for the 120 employees which are plan­ned in pro­jects simul­ta­neous­ly to be accom­plished by two employees. The­re are two other employees who are on stand-by and can pro­vi­de assis­tance when­ever needed.

The­re are no signi­fi­cant dif­fe­ren­ces bet­ween the pro­jects in the two depart­ments. The per­son­nel resour­ces in the tech­ni­cal pro­ject manage­ment take care of plan­ning and coor­di­na­ti­on, which includes, a.o., the crea­ti­on of joi­n­ery and assem­bly plans, sta­tic cal­cu­la­ti­on, as well as mate­ri­al orders. They rea­li­ze the pro­jects on paper and for­ward them to the con­s­truc­tion manage­ment on site. They not only coor­di­na­te the acti­vi­ties of the craft sec­tor, but also the col­la­bo­ra­ti­on with sub­con­trac­tors and other local trades.

The craft sec­tor is respon­si­ble for on-site assem­bly and pre­fa­bri­ca­ti­on as well as pro­duc­tion. The­re is a con­ti­nuous col­la­bo­ra­ti­on bet­ween both departments.

The employees in char­ge with plan­ning base their resour­ce plan­ning in PLANTA pro­ject on time spe­ci­fi­ca­ti­ons which they retrie­ve from cal­cu­la­ti­on data and assign them to pro­jects, depart­ments, and indi­vi­du­al resour­ces. The result is a com­pre­hen­si­ve over­view of the over­all uti­liza­ti­on as well as of the load at sin­gle pro­ject and resour­ce level.

The new pro­ject manage­ment soft­ware is now used for all con­s­truc­tion pro­jects. The con­nec­tion and inte­gra­ti­on of in-house soft­ware has also been suc­cessful. Stef­fen Holz­bau can now tack­le to all chal­lenges with their new pro­ject manage­ment system.

Using PLANTA sin­ce 2023