Smart Office solutions were introduced for the first time in autumn 2020, as part of the digital ASSMANN Open. One of the thinkers behind these smart booking systems and software-controlled electronic locker systems is Jens Rüffer. We spoke with him about the success of ASSMANN SMART and how the digital booking platform offers companies a multitude of options to help them organise their working day – mobile office working, desk sharing and resource planning.
How do smart tools make the working day easier?
“The modernisation of workplace concepts is currently progressing at a mind-boggling pace across every sector of the economy – the buzzwords are ‘New Work’ and ‘hybrid office work models’. What counts now is to recognise and harness the potential these new opportunities bring. We need tools to help us organise our work in the office and adapt it to our needs – such as booking a parking lot in the company’s car park, a slot for the electric car recharging point, our preferred desk or personal storage space for the day or areas for meetings and brainstorming sessions – so we can focus on what really matters when we are on site. ASSMANN’s intelligent Smart Office solutions provide the right digital tools for all this, so we can work on a more flexible basis and improve internal workflows and work structures by simple means.”
What kind of customers would be interested in ASSMANN SMART?
“There are actually no specific sectors we can identify or would single out. Workplace issues are very similar across all industries, but internal operating processes differ from one company to another. The challenge for us is to design these internal procedures more intelligently by digitalising them and, therefore, making them simpler.”
You are expanding your portfolio. What is ASSMANN’s intelligent electronic locker cabinet all about?
“All these new ways to restructure office work – mobile offices, desk sharing – obviously have a considerable impact on all processes, and one that many people underestimate.
Many processes that were taken for granted in the past do not work any longer if co-workers in a team see each other less frequently and are no longer assigned a fixed workplace.
Nevertheless, paper documents, samples and other material objects still have to be shared and handed over. The question is: how? If the employee is not there, and there is no dedicated desk space where the documents can be stored? Let me sum up the answer in one sentence: our software-controlled locker systems do exactly what, until now, at least two people did when they were required to meet at a specific location to exchange some physical object. The intelligent electronic locker cabinet can organise handovers and automatically document them, too. It even offers a feature to integrate a marketplace.”
So, basically that means that everyday items can be found and retrieved easily?
“A digital marketplace enables us, for example, to manage issues of printer toner or other resources without depending on fixed times and face-to-face contact. To do that, the compartments of the locker cabinet need to be stocked up with various kinds of toner for different printers and copiers. Using the system’s graphic user interface, authorised persons can select the appropriate photocopier, and the compartment with the right toner will open. The cabinet can simultaneously organise inventory management in the background.
Besides toner, you can also book cars for business trips out of the company car pool. Keys, papers and log book for each car can be stored in individual lockers. The compartment you select for that purpose will be unlocked for the next car user, the cabinet registers the pick-up, and also reports when the keys and documents have been returned. And, if the user should exceed the lending period, the system can send them a friendly reminder and point out that there are still items to be handed back.
There is almost no limit to the potential uses and process configurations options. Our customers have been quick to recognise that, which means that we are now receiving increasingly frequent visits from IT officers, works councils, and people working in lean management or facility management here at the ASSMANN Forum in Melle. We strive to develop individually customised smart office solutions for the specific problems each company faces.”
Can ASSMANN SMART be combined with other solutions?
“In today’s working environment, there is already a vast array of digital solutions that simplify planning and processes, eliminate routine tasks, enable virtual meetings on-screen and much more besides. Each program is useful in itself, but we often see a lack of connecting features to ensure a sound coordination of individual solutions.
ASSMANN SMART is often being combined with existing systems, which is why it needs to be adapted to work under different circumstances and must provide the corresponding interfaces – and this is precisely what our booking software does.
Our smart office solutions deliver intelligent integration and centralised management of useful programs such as time logging systems, meeting tools, email systems and calendar functions.”
How much ‘future’ would you associate with the term ASSMANN SMART?
“To judge from our experiences to date, I see a very large demand and growing need for ASSMANN smart office solutions. In many industries and as a society in general, we are still in the early stages of understanding the opportunities of digitalisation.”