Renewable Energy – a fast growing construction sector in Africa
As the need for sustainable energy increases and renewable technologies advance, more projects are being developed in greater sizes and complexities across the world.
In Africa, many of these projects aim to either reduce the reliance on energy generated by government owned power utilities or to provide cleaner electricity to locations that previously had no or limited access to conventional electricity supply. Additionally, solar systems continue producing power for many years after their outlay.
New Southern Energy (NSE) is one of Africa’s leading solar energy companies and have delivered full-service solar power systems to industrial clients and independent power producers (IPP’s) across the continent for more than a decade. NSE installed the first Tesla Powerpacks and commissioned the first ever commercial floating solar farm on the African continent.
Improving processes through technology
NSE is constantly looking for opportunities to improve processes. After attending a “Future of Construction” webinar by Agile in 2021 – the benefits of deploying a digital construction platform for their business took shape. Key areas of value were identified as:
- Automation of manual tasks, with improved workflow and tracking
- Increased visibility of project status and progress
- Increased collaboration between onsite and back-office
Procore met all NSE’s requirements to support their digitalisation initiatives and showed great promise for future developments. NSE planned to initially trial Procore on their projects in Kenya for a period of six months. However, the organisation upgraded to full Enterprise use of the platform within one month upon realising the value that the system brought to their portfolio.
Procore is now being used on over 40 active NSE projects of various sizes across Africa, throughout the entire project life cycle, from planning to delivery to hand-over.
NSE previously spent a significant amount of time and resources building bespoke Power BI Dashboards for business operations but have put those initiatives on hold since experiencing Procore’s built-in reports that were specifically developed for the construction industry. The migration to Procore now provides business users with most of their information requirements.
“All data that you require from sites and their progress can automatically be generated by the Procore platform at the press of a button,” added David.
Previous processes at NSE were supported by document-centric workflows. Now, most of these have been replaced by Procore’s embedded tools and functionality, including:
- Drawing Management
- Site Diaries
- Inspections and Observations
- Meeting Minutes and Actions
Procore’s ease-of-use, superior mobile application (capable of working off-line) and unlimited user model is a game changer as all stakeholders can now collaborate from anywhere at any time.
Even Procore’s basic reporting provides insights into activities on site projects and analyses management processes and efficiencies. This helps NSE to identify bottlenecks, areas of potential improvements as well as flagging who needs help and further training. Unlike other construction software packages that charge extra for training courses, Procore offers free certification training to anyone wishing to learn more about the platform or simply construction in general.