Don’t become a hand-sawyer in the digital era!

Don’t become a hand-sawyer in the digital era!

“He who doesn’t know the past, will not get a grip on the future.” This quote by historian and author, Golo Mann, is in line with Xeelas’ message. It reads as follows: Don’t become a hand-sawyer. In this blog we share the story of the sawmill and the hand-sawyers. An iconic story from our Dutch history and relevant for (construction related) organizations within the digital era.

New technology

Until the 16th century sawing was a manual job. It was demanding and meticulous work. It took two sawyers approximately 8 hours to make a saw cut of a length of 5 meters in an oak trunk with a diameter of 60cm. This changed by the end of the 16th century with the invention of Cornelis Corneliszoon from Uitgeest. He came up with a smart way of converting the circular motion of the crankshaft into a back-and-forward motion of several saw blades alongside each other. As a result of his invention, sawing was 30 times faster than sawing manually.

You might think hand-sawyers were happy with the invention of Cornelis Corneliszoon from Uitgeest since they would be able to saw faster and easier. Quite the contrary! The Hand sawyers’ Guild of Amsterdam was virulently opposed to the advent of the sawmills. They regarded the mills as a threat and lobbied at the municipality of Amsterdam to protect the local economy and ban wood from other regions.

Golden times thanks to new technology

The Zaan district used to be a rural countryside where guilds did not exist. Therefore, many sawmills were built in this district. This changed the way people used to work: instead of working at home or laboring in the countryside, people worked in the mills. That’s how factories were founded and soon the Zaan district became the first industrial area of Europe.

The fast sawmill boosted the economy of the Republic of the Netherlands! The 80- Years’ War against the Spanish Empire came to an end and the Dutch East India Company was in need of unprecedented quantities of wood to expand their fleet. Because of the sawmill, our country was able to build the largest merchant fleet of the world in the 17th century, and we had a significant competitive advantage in the field of trade. Our country experienced golden years. The invention of Cornelis Corneliszoon of Uitgeest is therefore considered one of the most important inventions in Dutch history.

However, the refusal of the Hand Sawyers’ Guild of Amsterdam to accept the new developments eventually resulted in its dissolution. The working method was outdated. They could not meet the large demand of sawed logs and trusses. As a result, the Amsterdam shipyards had to import wood from Zaandam in spite of the earlier boycott. Seven years later, when Guild of Amsterdam became defunct, 53 sawmills were operational in the Zaan district.

Don’t become a hand-sawyer

Nowadays, we live in a time in which our world is even more inundated by technical innovations. The drivers of the modern changes are a number of clusters of disruptive techniques which will be applied in the near future. For example: Big Data, Internet of Things, Human Machine Interfacing and Data Analytics. Organizations which apply the new technology successfully will gain significant efficiency advantages compared to their competitors who do not do so. Do you make optimum use of the opportunities new technology has to offer? Do you organize your company in such a way that you can flexibly respond to new developments? If you don’t, the alternative is that you become a hand-sawyer. You run the risk of becoming outcompeted within 5 years by companies that will work 30 times faster.

Do you want to know more about the way your organization can make optimum use of new technology? Please contact us for an exploratory conversation.
Also watch this knowledge session free of charge!

Are you ready for a wave of new technology?

Are you ready for a wave of new technology?

Are you allowing your construction related organization to be engulfed by new technology or do you use its power? Are you ready for the next step within the digital era? How will you deal with these new developments as a company? To put it even more strongly, how do you profit from new technology? In our articles we delve into these and other issues regarding the digital transformation of construction related companies.

This article is about the why of Xeelas, your committed partner during your digital transformation process.

Technology should serve people

We believe in digital technology with a social value. Our service is based on the vision that work must provide meaning and that there is more than just a commercial goal. As human beings we are all part of a bigger picture. Our team strongly feels this connection. In our world everyone must fight for the right to exist, however, unfortunately not everyone can do that for themselves. Technology must serve people. Therefore, our technological pioneers use their knowledge of new technology to assist organizations and people. This attitude of commitment is expressed in our service to construction related companies.

Issues of innovation and organizational change

We live in a time in which digital techniques have a significant impact on the way we work and the way we organize our businesses. This does not only entail issues of innovation, but also one of organizational changes. From this perspective, construction related companies can come to us for: technological solutions, adequate assistance in case of organizational changes that involve digital transformation, and guidance of their employees and management.

Will you switch to the new digital era?

As an organization you are engulfed by new technology or you use its power by building a digital foundation on which you can grow over the next 20 years.

Xeelas helps companies to switch to the new digital era. Do you think the digital transformation of your organization is crucial for the continued existence of your organization? Do you have questions such as: How can I innovate digitally and where do I start?
Please contact us for an exploratory conversation.