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A Comparison of Craftworker Ordering Processes: The Drive Towards Digitization Meets (Still) Outdated Methods

12.06.23 | Share
In a recent survey conducted by OneQrew, it was discovered that last year, a staggering three-quarters of German businesses grappled with material shortages. This situation has led to a significant expenditure of time on various ordering processes – with an average of 6.7 hours spent per week.


Freiburg, 05. June 2023 – Although the material scarcity in the German craft industry presents a challenge, it’s far from being an insurmountable problem: 56 percent of businesses were able to effectively solve their supply issues, and 23 percent reported not being impacted at all. However, market scarcity results in increased time expenditures for craftworkers. Specifically, 42 percent of respondents reported that it was both time-consuming and costly to manage delivery dates from all suppliers, while 41 percent said that the search for available items was becoming increasingly time-consuming. In response, affected parties are ordering more material in advance (43 percent) or placing simultaneous orders with multiple suppliers (36 percent).

These figures were obtained in collaboration with the Price Index for Skilled Crafts 2023, which was determined from a survey of 670 German craft businesses conducted by OneQrew and has been published for the second time this year. The OneQrew group, which includes industry-leading software specialists such as TAIFUN, M-SOFT, PraKom, extragroup, and DIGI, relies on data from its extensive customer network for such research.


Time Consumed by Ordering Processes

Retrieving and comparing prices represent the biggest time consumer at 39 percent when procuring materials. Other significant aspects include monitoring delivery dates (18 percent of time spent) and searching for alternative items (16 percent of time spent).

Among the companies surveyed for this study, many of which are OneQrew customers using modern software, email and online shops from suppliers dominate the ordering processes, with 31 percent conducting the majority of their orders through these channels. Only 18 percent primarily use the phone for their orders, and merely 10 percent of the surveyed companies order directly from industry software. This indicates that the full potential of these software solutions has not yet been realized. The main obstacle seems to be the lack of uniform interfaces and standards for efficient data transmission, preventing industry software from directly connecting with the supplier’s software.

There are, however, significant differences depending on the trade: For instance, over 20 percent of electricians primarily order their goods through their trade software, whereas in metal construction, email remains the predominant ordering channel with about 80 percent. Similarly, the majority of roofers (61 percent) place a large portion of their orders via email.

When considering the effort tied to individual ordering channels, phone and email consume a disproportionate amount of time: 38 percent and 37 percent of the total time spent on ordering processes respectively. In contrast, online channels account for only 22 percent of the total time, indicating their higher efficiency.


Harnessing the Potential of Modern Software

Surprisingly, 70 percent of surveyed companies do not yet order through their industry software, even though it is capable of integrating data from different suppliers. This necessitates the use of modern, uniform software interfaces, which are currently not widely used or well-known. One of the latest, Open Masterdata, is unknown to 70 percent of respondents. Only 11 percent actively use this interface through their software.

“In addition to a shortage of specific items, the craft industry is still grappling with a skilled labor shortage. Given this context, it’s impractical for businesses to have their employees expend valuable time searching online for alternative items, drafting email inquiries, or contacting various suppliers,” states Dominik Hartmann, CEO of OneQrew. “Our vision is to collaborate with trade associations and suppliers to create an ecosystem where different software solutions can communicate directly with each other, thereby easing the load on employees on all sides. This can be made possible through interfaces like Open Masterdata. To surmount the challenges of digitizing ordering processes, there is a need to establish uniform, cross-industry standards.”


For the nationwide Skilled Crafts Price Index, OneQrew surveyed 670 German skilled crafts businesses, primarily from the trades of plumbing/heating/air conditioning, electrical engineering, roofing, carpentry, joinery, metal and scaffolding, and painting/plastering/stuccoing. Responses were obtained through an online survey conducted between February 13 and March 21, 2023.

For additional information and to download the complete Price Index for Skilled Crafts 2023, please follow this link.

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