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The construction industry is at a critical juncture when it comes to how contractors run their projects and business. Technology has enabled companies in all industries around the world to become more agile and data driven — working smarter, faster and easier to achieve higher quality, more profitable outcomes.
Many contractors have already embraced these technologies, making the move to modern, cloud-based solutions and mobile applications to connect their people, projects and processes in real time. However, you may be among the more than half of construction companies that are still relying on older, legacy processes and systems. Why? Your reasons might vary, ranging from concerns about data security and privacy in the cloud to implementation strategies to fears of workforce technology buy-in to, of course, costs.
With technology’s rapid development and acceptance, however, time may be running out on the sustainability of your older legacy processes and technologies. Perhaps then, the stories of some of their industry peers about successful modernization transformations, can help move the needle toward your own successful technology shift.
Here are five stories to consider:
Georgia-based Precision Concrete Construction is a full-service concrete contractor for industrial and manufacturing, as well as multi-family residential, sports, commercial and institutions. Bogged down by manual processes and disconnected software systems, the company decided to transform its business by hosting its data and workflows in the cloud with the ViewpointOne suite of connected, cloud-based solutions.
“We were drawn to a single source of truth for all data and information, no APIs, connectors or imports, as well as quite a bit of cost savings too,” said accounting specialist Juliana Ferrara.
ViewpointOne’s role-based flexibility enabled Precision to select the right mix of office, project management, field and employee users and bundle access to the information and workflows required by their teams. This has saved the company significant time and money.
“It’s a single system, from a single vendor, that’s natively integrated for seamless accounting and operations data flow,” said Jeff Jayne, Precision’s IT manager. “The expectation is a six-figure saving by moving to ViewpointOne.”
After undergoing its digital transformation, Precision is also looking to further its data transformation using Viewpoint Analytics™ (part of the ViewpointOne suite) to drill deeper into project data, unlocking further gains in profitability and efficiency.
Advanced Technology Group (ATG) is an Oregon-based architectural and mechanical union contractor with regional offices in Washington and Arizona. The company aspired to become a data-driven company but its current systems and processes were standing in the way.
Teams in both the back office and the field were spending countless hours re-entering data between systems, chasing down paper entries or trying to make sense of data reports. In addition to a loss of productivity, manually facilitating data between systems resulted in errors and made it difficult, if not impossible for key decision makers and stakeholders to gain a clear picture of exactly how well or poorly their jobs were progressing.
“The lack of automation and integration between systems was causing a tremendous amount of manual work and frustration across our company,” said Jim Voss, the company’s CFO.
Migrating to the cloud then, was an easy choice. ViewpointOne replaced ATG’s ERP and nine other systems that were purchased or built in-house. In place of disconnected systems and spreadsheets, real-time data now flows through a single connected platform. With easy access to live data, reliable workflows and powerful data analytic tools at its fingertips, ATG is set up to gain intelligence on how projects are performing and dive deeper into data.
“Becoming a data-driven company in construction right now is really important,” Voss said. “Now we have a complete set of data, stored in one place that is really easy to access, which is huge for our company. It has elevated the quality of our project accounting and analysis.”
Stetner Electric delivers a broad range of projects throughout Washington State. These range from data centers and security systems to public and private construction projects to wastewater treatment facilities to roadway lighting and maintenance. Through strong relationship building and quality results, Stetner has experienced explosive growth over the last three decades. That growth made it hard for the company’s off-the-shelf accounting solution, Quickbooks, and manual accounts payable processes to keep up.
Stetner Electric moved its operations to the cloud with the connected ViewpointOne suite in 2020 in order to take advantage of real-time data and workflows and stronger data and business continuity protections. “We’ve embraced the concept that we’re constantly going to be changing, we’re constantly going to need to improve,” said CFO Travis Stetner of the reasons for moving to the cloud.
The company also implemented the Viewpoint ePayments solution to digitize and streamline its accounts payable processes, allowing the company to go truly paperless and process payments quicker. By leveraging the cloud for credit card and electronic payments, Stetner is now also able to benefit from a rebate program that has turned its AP processes into a revenue generator.
“I’m anticipating at least $30,000 in savings this year, and that’s without all of our vendors on board yet,” Wittman said. “I’m talking to all kinds of contractors and telling them that this is a no-brainer.”
Dave Steel Company has been fabricating structural steel for American industry since 1929, and was a major player in steel production during World War II. Today, the privately-held steel construction company — with the help of its sister companies within the Walters Group — works on a variety of projects throughout North America, including estimating, design-build and design-assist projects, steel fabrication, detailing, coatings and steel erection.
A key need for Dave Steel Company was better control over its prefabrication processes — specifically sharing data between its Viewpoint and Tekla PowerFab solutions quicker and more accurately in order to reduce risks and make real-time project and business management decisions.
“The more we handle and touch material, the more expensive it becomes to fabricate. As our VP of operations and production says, ‘we don’t get paid to move material.’ The same is true of data — the more we have to touch data, the more susceptible the data becomes to error and expense, “ said Dave Steel Company Executive Vice President Babette Freund.
In upgrading its operations to ViewpointOne, Dave Steel Company saw clear opportunities to address this challenge head on. Real-time data capabilities, robust data security and storage features, automated workflows and cross-functional collaboration applications have allowed the company’s users to operate with the most current and accurate information at their fingertips, empowering them to make more informed decisions and effectively scale to future needs rather than making sense of data and decisions after the fact.
With Viewpoint also now under the Trimble umbrella, Dave Steel Company also now has a connected data experience across its entire operations. Now, the company can connect much more data from Tekla PowerFab — a suite of software solutions designed to help steel fabricators achieve greater control and visibility throughout structural steel workflows — to its back office ViewpointOne solutions with far less manual administrative efforts or data rekeying.
“With this connected data experience, the import is relatively seamless,” Freund said. “Now that we have a production software that communicates with the accounting software, we are able to better analyze, course correct and evaluate potential efficiencies.”
Even though Atlanta, Ga.-based heavy highway and civil contractor E.R. Snell had anti-virus software, cyber insurance and other protections in place, the company still saw it’s on-premise servers and data fall victim to a costly ransomware attack.
Hackers were able to delete backups and hold data — and ultimately the company’s work — hostage. Through a chat service, hackers demanded a hefty ransom. Though E.R. Snell was able to work quickly and avoid paying the ransom itself, the company spent more than $800,000 during the incident in insurance and betterment fees, while the company still lost multiple days of work. An outside IT firm was brought in for a project to rebuild five months of data from more than 200 computers. It took three months for E.R. Snell to fully recover from the attack.
The company wanted to implement a stronger cybersecurity strategy and decided to move the bulk of its data from on-premise hosting to the cloud with ViewpointOne. Now, a single vendor provides the cloud-based data security needed to thwart cyber attacks Today, with Viewpoint solutions’ SOC 2 Type 2 certification, multi-factor authentication, active directory, best-in-class disaster recovery, 24/7/365 security monitoring, continual data backups and more, E.R. Snell has the peace of mind it needs to focus on its core business.
Watch E.R. Snell’s full story below:
Want to learn more about how to modernize your own construction operations and become a data-driven, agile, modern contractor? Connect with us today to find out how.