Metal Connect #19: Automation for more efficiency in steel construction with Niels Oudenaarden

This week at Metal Connect, I spoke with Niels Oudenaarden (Liemar) about “Automating for greater efficiency in steel construction with LiemarX.” We discussed challenges in project-driven steel construction, improving business processes with ERP, digitization, Industry 4.0 and dealing with a shortage of qualified personnel.



  • Challenges in project-driven steel construction
  • Improving business processes with ERP
  • Digitization and Industry 4.0
  • Dealing with a shortage of qualified personnel
  • Use of apps and technology in steel construction

Interesting Quotes:

  1. “An industry-specific ERP package distinguishes itself by supporting work preparation at the right level of detail. Understanding the market, the important key figures and deep insight into the processes is where the added value lies.” -Niels
  2. “When 100 people come to your open evening because of their concerns about the future, it’s clear that this is an important issue in the industry. It shows that there is a strong need to look ahead and be proactive in addressing future challenges.” -Luke
  3. “Instead of using customization, it is important to configure your business processes so that they work efficiently within your organization. The basic processes are the same, but the execution and distribution of work can vary.” -Niels
  4. “And of course, don’t get me wrong. Contracts and quality assurance is super important. But fundamentally, it’s about our product coming out.” -Niels
  5. “When starting a small business, in the beginning you have room to do everything yourself. But as you grow, you get to a point where you have to invest in automation to stay efficient and grow successfully.” -Luke
  6. “It’s important to know where your focus is. Choose the essence of what you do and make sure you don’t spend too much time and energy tweaking a system that was never intended for certain tasks.” -Luke
  7. “Especially if you put a lot of customization into your ERP system and are still just barely there, it’s very frustrating. A good ERP system should fit your specific business processes without the need for constant customization.” -Luke
  8. “The digital workplace is all about unlocking information towards a factory and retrieving information from the factory, back to the ERP system.” -Niels
  9. “The message I want to give is to think about how you can use digitization to strengthen your business and in what form you would do that.” -Niels


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