Future-Proofing Critical Field Service Operations with Mammoet

Every day, 20 million field service workers around the world are directly overseeing critical assets, projects, and customers. At Mammoet, a member of SHV holdings, their expertise is in the lifting and transport of heavy objects, from turbine blades to city infrastructure, all with the utmost safety.

The field workers who deliver on that promise of safety and quality rely on critical technologies and applications to meet the demands of their job. This includes Mammoet’s crane operators, who use the Mammoet Task Application (MTA). When the planning team schedules a task, the crane operators receive the details of the request on a tablet. Once they complete the job, workers adjust the status of the task in the MTA and request an approval from the customer. Once customers approve the completed task the app sends the task through to SAP where invoicing is automatically started.

Originally built in Java, the MTA was reaching its end of life both from an IT and end-user perspective:

  • For the IT team, several systems integrated with MTA were no longer compatible (MicroVPN and Android versions).
  • For the crane operators in the field these incompatibilities were disruptive, and required that they regularly restart the app or tablet in order to complete their work.

Avoiding end-of-life risk in a critical system

Responsible for the backend of such a critical business operation, the Mammoet IT team knew they needed to act quickly when cracks started to form in the connection between their MicroVPN, a secure connector for crane operators to the corporate network, and MTA. Digital Innovation Officer at Mammoet, Dion van den Bosch, has been contributing to digital growth at Mammoet for nearly five years and was part of the cross-functional team charged with finding a new solution to rebuild the application.

“The MicroVPN solution itself became outdated and out of support. The plan was to upgrade that VPN solution, but the old MTA was not compatible with that new system,” said van den Bosch. “We also had to update the MTA, [but] because the application was built three years ago, the developer that initially built it was not there anymore and the knowledge was gone.”

“It became more apparent that, not only from our side [that MTA] wasn’t working anymore but also from the crane operator side. They had to start and close the application or restart the whole tablet to make everything work again,” recounts van den Bosch. In some regions, the lack of accessibility even prompted some operators to regress to paper processes in order to get the job done.

With several factors pressing them to move quickly, van den Bosch and his team decided on Mendix to complete the job and avoid potential collapse.