Sometimes innovation arises in seemingly unlikely, occasionally overlooked places. The operations team of Bundesliga club Bayer 04 Leverkusen offers the perfect example that it’s sometimes the small details that make a big difference. Leverkusen, sandwiched between Cologne to the South and Düsseldorf to the North, provides the humble backdrop for such an innovative achievement. It’s here, less than 2 miles from the famous River Rhine’s banks, that Bayer 04 has found a way to significantly improve in-stadium procedures and workflow – by developing a remarkable Matchday app that has Bayer 04 staff raving.
The initial idea was to simplify and speed up in-stadium information flow between the Head of Organisation and all staff, many of whom are spread out across the sprawling BayArena stadium area. Approximately 2,000 people make up the workforce at any given matchday; covering a range of positions ranging from team personnel and office staff to technicians, catering, security and many more. Keeping everybody in the loop of crucial developments as well as being kept in the loop has proven to be a true challenge, and until recently, all the information largely used to be coordinated by juggling radio communications, phone calls, personal conversations, and sending emails or faxes. It’s easy to see how transmitting time-sensitive information to various positions at a time bordered on the impossible. Enter the Bayer 04 Orga App.
With the new application that runs on both Android and iOS operating systems, Leverkusen has streamlined crucial aspects of event execution communications by adapting or creating checklists for various tasks that are now transmitted easily via smartphones.
Bayer 04 Head of Organisation, Stephan Rehm, explains how the procedure has changed. A total of 25 checklists across 13 functional areas can be accessed through the app. Within these checklists, tasks are assigned to specific people, and once each task has been taken care of, the task owner checks a box, so the task shows as completed. For instance, the greenkeeper confirms that all the lines have been drawn or that the goal has been installed. Task owners receive reminders, if they haven’t completed an assignment within a certain time frame, and reminders of incomplete tasks can be escalated to supervisors.
The checks and balances provide an overview of the status quo at any given time before and during matchdays. However, it’s not just the run-down of regular tasks that has effectively been unscrambled, but it’s also unforeseen events that can now be communicated more quickly and more efficiently. Several weeks ago, for example, some visitors had set paper on fire in a bathroom thereby triggering the smoke detectors. Firefighters were present at the scene in an instant and immediately had the situation under control. Rehm sent an according push message to all personnel, assuring staff that there was no need to be worried, while preventing many calls to his phone, allowing him to focus on his tasks at hand. Peace of mind, with the swipe of a thumb.
After less than 20 weeks of development, in conjunction with German start-up company “Software-Pioniere”, Bayer 04 initially started testing the Orga App in December 2017. After completing a provisional test period, the app was rolled out in full this past January, and the staff have provided overwhelmingly positive feedback. About 350 registered users already have access to the app. There are also plans to expand access to members of external organisations on stand-by at the BayArena on matchdays. The potential even goes beyond football – sports as well as entertainment organisers may soon be adapting Leverkusen’s app concept.