CVR in Beringen is a leading company in the execution of specialised foundation techniques and sheeting. They have been pioneers at this since the seventies. Together with his brother Tom, Nicolas Smet took over leadership of the company from their father Luc, who singlehandedly developed the company from a one-man-business to a company hosting more than 75 employees. The family has a true passion for the business. “Most companies in our sector specialise in one specific foundation technique, but we offer various methods. This makes it easier for contractors to work with us, as they only need to contract one company for multiple jobs”, says Nicolas.
“When the company was smaller, it was an easy decision to outsource the IT. There wouldn’t have been enough work for one IT-person, and they would have had to combine it with other jobs. It wouldn’t have been a real challenge for them. But even now that we have grown, we remain convinced that outsourcing works best. It’s very difficult to find the right persons, not only in IT, but also in engineering or field personnel. There are limits to the knowledge of one individual. And Rank 1 have such top-notch professionals, this is a great advantage to us. Also, they ensure business continuity. Through the contract we signed with them, we are guaranteed of continued service. If you have the one IT-person, and they quit, you are left with nothing at all.”
" Rank 1's service is not free of charge, but if the network is out for two days, the costs are much higher. "
A flat management structure with short lines of communication
The collaboration with Rank 1 started early 2018. “Rank 1 provides us with a stable network environment, and delivers support for our IT-systems”, says Nicolas Smet. “They understand the needs of an SME. The most important is that the business needs to keep running. Rank 1’s service desk is always reachable when we need them. There is a flat management structure with short lines of communication. We ‘re never sent form pillar to post. When we have an issue, we can directly join the person able to help us.”
“I don’t know much about IT. I press a button and expect things to work. I ‘m interested, but I have no background in it. Sometimes I ask them to translate from IT to Flemish. And they get that at Rank 1.”
“During the construction holidays, when everything was closed for 3 weeks, Rank 1 designed a migration plan. Due to issues with a previous IT-provider, there was some catching-up to do. And in that short time span, Rank 1 managed to bring our servers up to date, install new firewalls, and renew our network core. And to mitigate risks, we first did a managed cloud backup, so we could fall back in case of issues. After the construction holidays, everyone could get back to work without fail. Everything was realised on time.”
Raf De Backer from Rank 1 explains : “ We installed the latest versions of software packages, migrated from Lync to Skype for Business, and placed PTRG monitoring sensors on critical components so we could proactively avoid problems and guarantee a maximum uptime of all systems. We renewed the antivirus environment, the firewall, the Office-environment, and we also maintain the infrastructure.”
Rank 1 is also CVR’s trusted advisor for hard and software applications. “IT and company management are directly connected nowadays”, says Nicolas Smet. “If we want to realise things, we have to calculate the IT cost that comes with it. For example, we are currently looking at our ERP-package. Rank 1 advises us and helps us make the right choice.”
A total IT solution
CVR has a service contract with Rank 1, which gives both parties flexibility, and which is very transparent.
Specific projects are not included, as they sometimes require specific expertise.
“This flexible way of working provides us with a clear cost overview”, says Nicolas Smet. “Of course, Rank 1 doesn’t work for free and good service comes at a cost, but of the network is down for 2 days, then costs will be much higher. I would rather not take any risks. That’s why we also choose to have a backup in the cloud. Compare it to an insurance you take. You hope you won’t need it, but if something goes wrong, you can count on it.”
“It’s important to focus on our core business. Rank 1 provides us with a total IT solution, just as we provide total solutions to our customers when it comes to foundations. A main contractor wants to provide you with a building that stands straight. The work that goes into organising that, is not his main business and is not what he knows. The contractor is happy that the building stands. This is why we are happy with Rank 1, they make sure that everything works, so we can focus on our core business.”
CVR is one of the absolute pioneers and trendsetters in Belgium for foundation techniques and sheeting. The company from Beringen has been active since 1970 and has realised more than 3300 projects. They advise on the best foundation techniques for every project.
They are active in Belgium and Europe and have won several prizes, like the innovation prize of the Belgian Building awards.
In 2013, Nicolas Smet was awarded the “Young Flemish Contractor of the Year’ award by the Belgian Building Confederation.