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RESTART Resilience and Training for SMEs

Digitalisation implemented in Electrik
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Electrik is a company that works within the construction industry and specializes in installing electrical infrastructure in various large buildings, including residential, administrative, and commercial structures. The company is located in Bratislava and has a staff of 55 workers and management employees. Since 2012, Electrik has successfully completed over 1000 projects across 12 different European countries. More recently, they have also begun constructing charging stations for electric vehicles, which helps support the growing trend of vehicle electrification.

Electrik uses a range of digital tools and productivity software for business purposes:

  • Internal communication software such as email and cross-platform instant messaging software for more immediate exchanges or to help prioritize different email work streams;
  • Videoconferencing software to hold online meetings;
  • Microsoft Office, including presentation and spreadsheet software;
  • Landing webpage with business contact details;
  • Building Information Modelling (BIM) software and a commercial computer-aided design (CAD) and drafting software application for 3D modelling and designing purposes.

Looking into the future, Electrik plans to integrate new digital solutions to improve their customer service.


Experienced benefits of digitalisation

During the pandemic, Electrik experienced several benefits from utilizing digital technologies for remote working. However, the company still finds that working in person is more productive. Nonetheless, teleworking serves as a suitable alternative, especially for management-level personnel who need to communicate outside of regular working hours. While the effects of teleworking are still being debated, evidence from other OECD countries suggests that it can improve productivity and work-life balance. For instance, data from Canada indicates that 90% of teleworkers who previously did not work from home reported being just as productive working remotely as they were in their usual workplace.

Furthermore, teleworking can significantly impact the task organization and workflow of SMEs. Electrik utilized instant messaging software to create groups, streamline coordination, and save time by avoiding lengthy meetings. When there is a heavy workload, this tool enables the company to identify pending tasks at the end of the day and set objectives for the following day. However, Electrik views these services and platforms as a supplementary tool, as they discovered that operating solely online decreased the efficiency of teamwork and resulted in gaps in the decision-making process.


Tips for effective implementation

Electrik has faced unique challenges in the construction industry long before the COVID-19 pandemic. SMEs operating within the construction sector have been grappling with inflation caused by the increasing prices of essential materials such as aluminium, copper, and plastic, which are used for manufacturing electricity and power infrastructure. The price shocks resulting from the Russia-Ukraine conflict have further intensified this situation by leading to greater volatility in metal prices globally. Additionally, the ongoing energy crisis poses a significant challenge for Electrik. High energy prices are increasing production costs in the construction industry and disrupting already-fragile supply chains in the post-pandemic era. These new conditions have put pressure on existing contracts with suppliers and customers. Unfortunately, SMEs such as Electrik often lack the financial and legal capabilities required to navigate complex contract disputes in supply chains, especially in foreign markets. Resolving conflicts along the supply chain is challenging due to a lack of sophisticated dispute resolution mechanisms, time, knowledge, and the high costs of accessing foreign legal systems.

Target group of the case study:
Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)
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