Engineering firm TUC RAIL uses Mendix for efficiency gains in legally required registration of construction work

Dec 11, 2023

Engineering firm for the Belgian railroads, TUC RAIL, has chosen the Mendix low-code platform to digitize time-consuming processes at various construction sites. Thanks to a new app, TUC RAIL employees can now update the legally required registration of construction activities on site in real-time. This saves the organization a lot of time, makes the process less error-prone and provides better reports to support strategic decisions. 

TUC RAIL is a subsidiary of Belgian rail operator Infrabel, and its responsibilities include the design, planning and realization of projects for the Belgian rail infrastructure. For the realization of projects, TUC RAIL works with various contractors, and is responsible for timely and correct registration of activities and material use at the dozens of different construction sites it manages.

Nearly 20% of time spent on registrations 

An audit revealed that this registration process was time-consuming. "Keeping records took up almost twenty percent of the time of the employees responsible," said Michael Cox, IT service manager at TUC RAIL. "The required information was entered into Excel, emailed, overwritten again and made use of different templates for each project. Photos and videos were taken with a phone and sent to a computer to insert into the same Excel file. As a result, registration took a long time and the database was difficult to search."

TUC RAIL then decided to streamline this process according to three important principles: photos and videos needed to be added directly to the right place, the information should be accessible anytime and anywhere, and the data needed to be usable for reporting and strategic insights.  

To develop the application, TUC RAIL chose Mendix partner delaware after a tender process. Cox: "We deliberately chose low-code. With many SaaS platforms, you are one of many customers and have to wait a long time for requested modifications. Because we are project leaders, we want to be able to determine the order and priority in a development process to ensure that we are able to work in a way that suits our needs and processes. Low-code makes this much easier."  

Matts Devriendt, solution lead low-code & automation at delaware: "It is special to see how quickly the customer embraced the low-code way of thinking. This resulted in building and deploying an app for their most time-consuming process in less than a year. A huge amount of time was freed up and the recorded data became searchable, leading to better analysis. The Mendix platform proved to be the best choice for digitizing this core process, thanks to its robust and far-reaching support for large numbers of users and data. Mendix also made it possible to deliver new functionalities incrementally, so that the application could be tested in practice very quickly. It shows the power of low-code and how it can help organizations streamline time-consuming processes."

First version developed within only three months 

delaware developed a "minimum viable product" within three months, which was tested on three building sites. After extensive testing and several iterations, the final version of the app was developed in ten months and will be used by some 350 users across multiple sites.  

"It's fantastic how the app has grown thanks to the feedback from the colleagues who work with it on a daily basis," Cox said. "Thanks to the modular approach, it was very easy to incorporate their suggestions into the app. In addition to the substantial time savings, we now get insight into problems that certain construction equipment can cause, for example, which helps us write better specifications. We also get insight into the results per contractor and construction site and can compare them. That information is now structured, searchable and helps us make strategic, data-driven decisions." 

Following the successful launch, TUC RAIL is exploring opportunities to deploy the app in other parts of the organization. Cox: "The framework we have established with this app, and the success we have been able to achieve with low-code in a short period of time, means that there is a lot of interest within the organization in automating and streamlining various time-consuming processes."

Mendix: winning in a software-driven world

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