Online sharing platform for the construction industry
Werflink is an online sharing platform of the Flemish Confederation of Construction on which construction companies can share, exchange, rent and buy site equipment,surplus material and storage space. Is there still a surplus of tiles, wood or sand somewhere? Is there an excavator idle or is a cement mixer needed? Is there any storage or freight space available? Are there still usable materials left over from demolition? On this online platform, we bring supply and demand together and construction companies and shipyards can contact each other.
Werflink is both an alternative to obtain products and materials and to avoid having to destroy surpluses. By working together, we make better use of materials and machines, avoid waste and save on the purchase of new equipment or materials. We reduce our environmental impact and thus contribute to a more circular construction sector.
Since June 2018, the platform www.werflink.be is live, and in 3 languages. All members of the VCB can create an account and then get actively involved within the sharing economy.
Werflink facilitates contact between buyers and sellers of material, infrastructure and machines. This enables interesting, cost-saving transactions to take place. So far, as far as we can tell, €47,000 in turnover has already been generated through our platform.
The platform prevents waste and saves costs: one company no longer has to destroy its surpluses while another company saves on the purchase of new material. In this way, we contribute to a more circular construction sector.
Werflink includes a simulation tool, SharinScan. With it, users can make a simulation of what they are buying, selling, sharing or renting, and immediately gain insight into potential turnover, cost savings, CO2 and energy savings.
A handy smartphoneapplication now makes the platform available for mobile use.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
The platform still needs to become better known among potential users. It is not easy to communicate in such a targeted way: we do reach the right companies, but not yet the right person responsible for purchasing equipment. Continuous promotion is also needed to appeal to current site managers and newcomers to the market.
Potential users still need to learn the reflex to use site link instead of immediately ordering or renting new material. Breaking this habit is a process that requires a lot of time, constant repetition and support from the management within the companies.
Currently, many companies are already offering surpluses and supply exceeds demand. We do see growing interest from other stakeholders. For example, architects are looking at the possibilities of supply for their designs. They can have a positive influence on the further rollout of the demand side of the platform.
Logistics and timing play a major role. Surpluses are often only offered at the end of a construction site. This means that materials must be collected quickly, which is not always possible. Practice shows that storage spaces are essential for exchanges between yards.
1sharing platform for supply and demand
600users logged on
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
Initially, we had created Werflink for construction companies and shipyards, but now the platform is open to the whole construction sector: warehousing, logistics, architects, painters, etc. We have responded to a need that arose from the market.
We have also discovered other needs that we can meet in the future. For example, we can expand the platform for private individuals (only for the purchase of materials), certainly as far as smaller quantities of residual materials are concerned. Another interesting avenue is the expansion of the platform to the Netherlands and other neighbouring countries, so that materials and machines can be put to better use acrossborders. We can also focus even more on offering materials that are released during demolition.
Werflink will continue to exist after the subsidy from Flanders Circular. To break even and provide the platform with the necessary support, we will probably have to switch to a paying model, unless other financial injections are forthcoming.