Headquartered in Fort McMurray, with future subsidiary offices planned for Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver, Heavy North Construction Ltd. is focused on delivering practical, cost-effective solutions to the civil infrastructure and heavy industrial sectors.
Integration of all business units gives us a one-stop shop solution, increasing our productivity and allowing easy access to information.— Tom Wilson, CFO, Heavy North
Established with a veteran team of construction industry professionals, the company is active in the oil sands, transportation, oil & gas, utility, and building markets. Providing solutions that range from pre-construction, bidding, and design, to final commissioning, Heavy North offers multiple contract alternatives to meet client requirements including Construction Management, Project Management, Design-Build, Cost- Plus, and Stipulated Price agreements. The hallmark of Heavy North is a commitment to safety; innovative problem solving; and an energetic drive to see projects through to completion.
Setting Expectations for Success
“Heavy North began as a start-up company not long ago and used an outside bookkeeper to help manage financials. The company was very small then but as management realized the growth pattern, I was brought into the team,” says Tom Wilson, CFO at Heavy North. “With lots of previous experience in leveraging technology to improve management and operations, I knew what we were looking for as we compared a lot of software options out there – providers considered were Explorer, Jonas, and Viewpoint.”
There was a clear choice for Heavy North right from the start, Wilson explains. “We could see how ProContractor by Viewpoint is able to meet our expectations and ways we could leverage the solution to fit our processes. Integration of all business units – estimating, project management, accounting/financial, document control, vendor management, and more – gives us a one-stop shop solution, increasing our productivity and allowing easy access to information. I’m not sure we could have that kind of fit with any of the other products we reviewed.”
Better Estimating to Compete
A better solution for estimating was also a critical element in Heavy North’s search and ultimate selection of ProContractor, as Wilson explains: “Estimating software is a fundamental of any civil construction contractor. The ability to produce high quality and accurate estimates drives the success of the business. Estimating software must be logical and easy to use to increase the speed and efficiency at which we can complete estimates; but it also must be versatile and comprehensive to meet the more complicated and technical estimating needs. Not having a top-notch estimating system decreases competitiveness in an already extremely competitive market and can be detrimental to the success of an organization. The powerful Estimating module in ProContractor increases our accuracy and decreases the chance of making errors. It’s great and we like how it pushes information directly into the Financial module.”
The Right-Fit for Growth
The right fit on many levels is exactly what Heavy North found with ProContractor. “All in all, the versatility of the program suits our specific business needs,” Wilson says. “Our growth goal is to reach $100M annually in revenue. In our first two years of doing business, we have achieved a level of just under $40M annually. ProContractor helps us achieve our revenue goal by giving us the tools to prepare strong and accurate financial statements, cash forecasts, and project reporting. All of these increase our understanding of where we are doing things right and where we need to focus our attention, while gaining good credibility with our vendors and lenders alike.”
Single Solution Streamlines Processes
Ultimately, Heavy North derives great benefit from having a single solution to manage the entire bid-to-cash process. “Having the entire package – integration of Estimating, Accounting, and Project Management in a single solution – was clearly so valuable,” says Wilson. “We’ve been able to set up fantastic business processes! We also received really good customer service right off the bat. We are able to make ProContractor fit the way we work; that right fit allows us to easily modify reports to be the way we want to see things.”
He explains: “We adopted processes we all learned at a previous company and hit the ground running with ProContractor. Some applications fit like a glove right from the go, and other things we were able to simply modify to best fit what we wanted to do with our processes. From project management to cost and forecasting to percent complete to WIP, we generate a company operations report, which dissects the financial statements by project, by percentage, and by margin. That’s under each project, including what our equipment and overheads are. It’s all there for us to easily see and know where we stand.”
Wilson recommends other contractors take a good look at ProContractor as the right-fit total solution for construction management, and offers some advice: “I suggest other businesses have a solid understanding of expectations before exploring technology options. Having firm expectations helped us know what we wanted the software to do, and so form our ultimate decision. Only with a clear vision should a company move forward with evaluating and choosing a solutio