The ENTECCOgroup is an owner-managed, independent group of companies that operates sites in five countries in the field of air pollution control. Its headquarters are in Lahr in the Black Forest. Since its foundation in 2010, the company has made a name for itself with its innovative technologies. Under the buy-and-build strategy, the ENTECCOgroup united well-known brands such as GARANT-Filter, LHS-Clean Air Systems and Turbofilter under one roof. New companies were also founded, for example in the USA in 2016. Their product range includes solutions for air pollution control, ranging from product filtration to the binding and disposal of toxic dust.

With a clear focus on protecting the environment and taking into account strict climate protection regulations, the ENTECCOgroup has steadily expanded its global presence. With production facilities in Austria, the USA and India as well as a sales satellite in Poland, the company serves important markets in Europe, North America and beyond. The ENTECCOgroup, which now employs 115 people and achieved a turnover of 50 million euros in 2023, pursues a sustainable production and internationalisation strategy. With a sophisticated strategy and a clear commitment to environmental protection, the ENTECCOgroup is positioning itself as a key player in the global environmental technology market.

The ENTECCOgroup is characterised by its commitment to advanced technologies and sustainable practices. The company knows how to combine innovative solutions – also in IT – with environmental awareness. ENTECCOgroup customers benefit from customised solutions that are tailored specifically to their needs, making the company a valued partner in numerous industries.

The challenge: data chaos due to company mergers at the ENTECCOgroup

Formerly independent companies such as LHS and Turbofilter can look back on decades of history. The integration into the ENTECCOgroup presented the challenge of making the knowledge of the individual companies accessible to everyone in the group. Several terabytes of data distributed on different drives of the individual companies and systems, Excel lists, catalogues or drawings, sometimes even duplicated.

New employees in particular often did not realise where the most up-to-date information was located.
In order to ensure that the relevant information was up-to-date, it was therefore often necessary to ask colleagues. On the one hand, this took a lot of time, but on the other hand it also required that the employees were available or had the knowledge in the first place.

It was also a major challenge for new employees in particular to find their way around this confusing data structure. The fact that this was not just a perceived challenge was confirmed by the figures from internal surveys of employees.
Over 70% of employees stated that they had to spend more than 15 minutes a day searching for information. For over 25% of employees, this was even longer than 30 minutes a day.
The IT management recognised the potential of an AI-supported search at an early stage.
They therefore actively sought contact with amberSearch:

“We had previously met amberSearch at a filter industry trade fair in 2022, where we got a good first impression of what makes them tick. When the need for better information management was brought to us by the workforce, it was clear that amberSearch was on the shortlist.”

Frederik Mussler, Head of IT, ENTECCOgroup

What were ENTECCOgroup’s requirements?

The IT team at ENTECCOgroup quickly realised that an AI-based search is not entirely trivial. The following requirements were therefore defined:

  • Access rights should be taken into account based on the existing access rights management system
  • They wanted a managed service solution that would nevertheless be able to process local systems such as drives intelligently.
  • The software solution should be able to function independently of location and system.
  • Intuitive intelligence built into the software that understands what is being searched for, even if the wording or storage location is unclear.
  • The solution sought should be GDPR-compliant and integrate seamlessly into the existing IT infrastructure.
  • Scanned documents should be searchable.
  • For IT in particular, it was important to have a solution that was independent of any software provider and that favoured neither one software system nor another, thus avoiding a vendor lock-in

With amberSearch, a solution was found that could successfully fulfil this requirement as well as several other functions. The aim was to reduce the search time and the resulting inefficiencies at work. In addition, the company wanted to gain hands-on experience in the field of AI together with amberSearch.
This is why the decision was made in spring 2023 to work together with amberSearch.

“I believe that the ENTECCOgroup has requirements and challenges that affect most medium-sized companies. We are delighted that they have approached us at the right time to use our expertise to solve these challenges.”

Bastian Maiworm, co-founder of amberSearch

The implementation and collaboration between the ENTECCOgroup and amberSearch

The first phase of the collaboration was to demonstrate the feasibility and benefits of amberSearch in the ENTECCOgroup’s productive environment. With the aim of solving inefficiencies and ensuring better access to internal expertise, amberSearch was introduced as a cross-system AI tool for employees. In addition to various drives, online systems such as Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint and OneNote were also integrated.
After an initial test by the key users revealed that further public Outlook folders should be integrated, amberSearch also implemented this request within a week. The system was then released to other departments of the ENTECCOgroup. This smooth expansion of the user base demonstrated not only the user-friendliness of amberSearch, but also Entecco’s agility in adapting new technologies throughout the company.

“The technical implementation effort was surprisingly low and delivered on amberSearch’s promise of seamless integration in less than half a day.”

Frederik Mussler, Head of IT ENTECCOgroup

Some team members of the ENTECCOgroup

This uncomplicated start laid the foundation for an effective and efficient collaboration. To this day, the close collaboration between the two companies ensures that feedback was quickly translated into functional improvements, proving the adaptability and scalability of amberSearch.

Introduction of generative AI at ENTECCOgroup in August 2023

In August 2023, amberSearch activated another function with amberAI. In addition to intelligent search, amberAI was used to summarise answers and chat with documents. The big advantage for IT:
There were some employees who had engaged with these technologies early on and were keen to use such tools in the company. However, the problem was that they initially had to be uploaded to tools that were not always GDPR-compliant and it was unclear what should happen to the data. With the introduction of amberAI, ENTECCOgroup IT is able to provide employees with a GDPR-compliant tool that gives them a secure environment to gain experience with AI.

Added value & use cases of amberSearch at the ENTECCOgroup

Now that amberSearch has been in use for several months, the following use cases have crystallised:

  • Searching for calculation bases or templates
  • Old contracts in which, for example, only numbers, names etc. are known
  • Information on older projects where the employees themselves were not yet with the ENTECCOgroup
  • Quick comparison of documents, especially when it comes to part numbers
  • Finding images

Thanks to the introduction of amberSearch, information that was previously scattered across different systems and locations is now centralised and intelligently searchable. This has led to a significant reduction in the time spent searching and managing documents.

Another significant added value is the improved data quality. By prioritising more recent documents over older documents in amberSearch, you can be sure that the most up-to-date data will be found. This enables ENTECCOgroup colleagues to make decisions based on up-to-date and accurate information.

“The feedback from our employees about amberSearch is consistently positive. They particularly appreciate how intuitive and time-saving the search for documents and information has become.”

Frederik Mussler, Head of IT, ENTECCOgroup

Thanks to amberSearch’s OCR functionality, content from scanned documents can also be searched, extending the range of accessible information. In addition, the platform helps ENTECCOgroup to fulfil compliance requirements more easily, as relevant documents and guidelines can be found and applied more quickly [as a general example, ISO9001, where our solution helps to comply with the requirements of ISO chapters 7.1.6, 7.5 and 9.2].

Photo credits: ENTECCOgroup