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  • I need an easy way to see who is available to take on new projects.
    At my construction company we were doing about $35 million a year and had weekly operations meetings where the superintendents and project managers would come in and sit around the conference room table while each one would share status updates on their jobs. I found it difficult to visualize and understand how the timelines on different projects fit together and who was actually gonna be available to take on new projects I also found it difficult to pin down my team on expected dates of completion. And to track our substantial completion as compared to the contract completion dates to avoid liquidated damages All the dates changed and there was no really accurate way of keeping track of why dates changed, and what was the reason for the delay, was it somebody else’s fault? Are we entitled to a contract extension? Or are we liable for liquidated damages on this job We tried to use spreadsheets to visualize the projects as a timeline gantt view but most of our time was preparing or updating the Excel file, rather than discussions about projects. I couldn’t necessarily remember what people said And getting that information captured in a way that was able to be utilized in the next operations meeting was hard A lot of the time of the meeting was just people sharing information as opposed to discussing it A lot of time went into preparing the excel spreadsheet for each meeting Not everybody could actually use the same spreadsheet as people might change information or put it in the wrong spot. And that was problematic We took a fresh look at this situation and determined that the information needed to create the report already existed in other locations. If the information was in one central place, we could generate the report automatically. Solution is to use a centralized project database that tracks the contract dates AND the actual dates as reported from the team on a weekly basis, and then visually illustrate which projects might be in trouble and which ones are ok. Most importantly because we could see it in a chart format, I was able to to easily allocate which supers and project managers are available to take on the new jobs Automating the report saved time, and since it was always updated with the latest information, we were able to focus on details of project closeouts Our meetings were much more productive and took less time Information could be reviewed at the meeting instead of updating it there
  • Sometimes I have a hard time finding project information.
    I went from looking for tools on the jobsite to looking for information in the office. The office was a maze of silos of data, none of which had information about every project To find out about a job, it was like a scavenger hunt. Each software had pieces of information based on the status of the job but I sometimes did not know the status of a particular project It was hard for find information if you did not know which software to look into There wasn’t ONE place that I could go to find information about ANY project We created spreadsheets to track project stages, but since information was scattered in different spreadsheets, we had to manually look at each spreadsheet, and manually move project information from one spreadsheet to another as the project progressed. Spreadsheets that needed to me maintained included: new leads / invitations to bid bidding jobs pending bids active projects closed out projects projects in warranty lien periods Insurance certificates Hours were consumed daily updating these spreadsheets What we needed was a central database that would allow us to find information about any project, at any time, from anywhere, no matter what stage the project was in. Who are the stakeholders of the project What is the estimate or contract information Where is the project located and can i get directions When is the project scheduled to be completed How is the project going in terms of contract commitments Does the project potentially team need help Our solution retains project records forever in a central database whether it is a small project, large project, recent project, or project completed a long time ago. We can quickly locate the project, see who we worked on that project and the information about the project Mistakes sometimes made maintaining spreadsheets has been eliminated Double entry of data has been minimized Hours of manual updating has been eliminated
  • Commission payments are hard to calculate.
    As a contractor, we paid our business development people (sales people) based on the business they generated. Although the commission plan was simple, getting the data necessary to prepare commission reports was time consuming and required manual effort. The controller had to spend 5 hours per week compiling the information necessary to be able to calculate commissions. Justifying commission payments to the sales people necessitated back up which was not always clear, and left room for argument. Taking a fresh look, we were able to track the salespeople, and estimators per each time the job was bid. Creating commission reports is fast and easy Commission reports are accurate and comprehensive
  • Information necessary to qualify for performance bonds is not always immediately available and takes hours to create.
    With Command Post, automated reports streamline this process: Work in progress report - provides a company financial forecast based on your construction backlog and the time it will take to complete it, and that you have the management resources required. Bids penging report - provides bonding companies a list of the pending proposals your firm has submitted, and the potential impact to your capacity, if they are awarded to your firm. Bid due report - provides bonding companies a list of the projects your are currently bidding so they can assess new projects potential impact to your firm's capacity. Completed projects report - quickly search completed projects and provide a report to bonding companies that demonstrates your experience on a type of project. Particularly helpful if the bond you are seeking exceeds your current bonding line, and you are seeking an exception.
  • With over 100 projects on our WIP, I found it impossible to know if a project's profit is up or down.
    As a contractor, I had to review our WIP report each month. With over 100 projects on our WIP, it was impossible for me to recall what any particular project’s profit was in the prior WIP report, which prevented me from seeing trouble. I did not have time to dig into every project, so I needed a way to understand which projects needed attention and which ones were doing well Have profits gone up or down compared to previous estimates and reports? My accounting software tracked job costs but did not track profit trends We started to track profit trends in a spreadsheet but it was problematic because New projects were always coming online and other projects were closing out creating a misalignment from one WIP to another It was a tedious and time consuming task By uploading WIP reports monthly into our solution, we can see month over month profit trends, and receive automated notifications if profits on any job varies more than a specified amount. We are able to see profit changes from the original estimated profit, anticipated profits after buyout, and progress updates through the project lifecycle We are able to assess which teams are better at estimating costs to complete We are not caught off guard when job profits drop, and end up making less
  • Plan vs actual results
    When I was a contractor, the more projects we did, the less profitable my company became. I soon realized that doing more projects might not be the answer. We were doing more work than ever, but making less net profit I wanted to increase the profitability of my construction business We realized that some projects, customers, and teams were better for our bottom line than others, but which ones were they? All I had was my gut instinct to help me decide but over time I realized that going with my gut was not good enough. Being OCD, we identified some potential factors and created a plan, but we struggled with not having the data we needed to make intelligent decisions about which projects were good and which ones we should walk away from and why. What we needed was a way to analyze the sources of revenue and profit by customer, team, and the type of building such as a medical, office, or retail space, compared to our plan. Our solution provided one central place that could track these attributes and other factors on projects that could help us identify the best projects, and compare the actual results with our plan. Automated reports provide real time information and eliminated the time and drudgery of manually preparing analytical reports The granular nature of the automated analysis allowed us to identify the best projects. Focusing on our project “sweet spot” allowed us to increase profits without adding personnel
  • I spent too much time on spreadsheets.
    As a contractor, I found myself needing to use spreadsheets to track information and fill in the gaps that my estimating, accounting and project management software did not support. It was an easy and quick solution, however there were often mistakes made so I had to be careful who had access to the spreadsheets and make sure they knew how to use the spreadsheet. The spreadsheet process was fragile and prone to errors Furthermore, as information changed, I found myself adding the same information over and over again into different spreadsheets, which was time-wasting I knew there had to be a better way With Command Post, I was able to eliminate the spreadsheets and track all the information that was not tracked in other systems in one place. And since it’s a database, information only needed to be entered once, and it was automatically shared with all of the reports instantaneously.
  • Tracking re-bidding was critical when negotiating with clients.
    One customer explained to us that often they have to rebid projects numerous times as plans are developed and they’re not sure which customers are worth doing that for or not. They need a way to keep track of the individual bids on a project, not just the final bid itself. With command post each bit as a separate object containing the bid information the project team that prepared that bid and the bid itself such as an excel spreadsheet for back up. This allows them to determine the performance of specific estimating teams, and which customers are worth doing the rebating for and which ones they may need to decline helping improve profitability
  • Job numbering.
    Doug, President of a major electrical contracting firm, explained to me that they use Excel to assign job members for projects and the problem is that sometimes people use the next job number but without recording it on the spreadsheet, setting up the next person to use the same number for a different project. They often don’t figure this out until there’s questions from accounting as to which project they should be charging invoices to Separating accounting entries takes a lot of time because they have to go through and manually and individually split out all of the expenses charged to each project, Assign a new job number for the second job Change storage folder and file names and locations, etc. (file locations are sometimes based on job numbers) Our solution automatically assigns job numbers to all bidding projects and also provides a place to store alternate numbers for contracts. Eliminates any questions or confusion related to job numbers Our numbering protocol allows you to use a prefix, such as the calendar year, and a automated sequential job number Use system created job numbers to identify documents, and for naming file folders in SharePoint
  • File storage.
    Contractors need a place to store project plans and specs so that they are accessible to estimators and project managers, as well as long-term storage after the project is completed. Doug, President of a major electrical contracting firm, explained to me that they use SharePoint for storing plans and documents, however they have to manually create folders in SharePoint for each project. Since they win 1 out of 10 projects they wound up with thousands of project folders in their SharePoint storing plans and project information for projects they never even won Lost project folders were commingled with folders of projects that they did win so it was difficult to know if folders could be deleted or not They found that sometimes people would put files in the wrong project folder and it became virtually impossible to find the files thereafter Taking a fresh look at the situation, our team was able to automatically create folders in SharePoint to store bid documents, original contracts, and change orders Automatically created folders in SharePoint saves hours each week A link to the files in our software eliminates the possibility of people going to the wrong place to retrieve project files from SharePoint
  • Wrong phone numbers.
    A major contractor had a problem turning over a project on time because the person that had the cell phone number for the fire inspector was on vacation, and his replacement did not have have it, therefore the project could not get signed off by fire, therefore was unable to get a certificate of occupancy, therefore they were unable to get an electric meter, and therefore the tenant was not able to move in on time. This created significant disruption to the client and contractor The contractor suffered losses from liquidated damages and lost some credibility Project lists need to be prepared manually for projects and we’re not updated as new subcontractors were awarded Contractors need to have the correct phone number for people that they need to get in touch with, or unexpected project delays could occur Furthermore, when people update a phone number, not everybody in the company will have that updated information Our solution addresses this by providing a smart contact database that synchronizes contact information across all connected apps. Current contact information is available to everyone in the company including business development, estimating, operations, and finance You can send requests to your contacts to review and update their contact information
  • Is a lot of extra data entry required to benefit from using Command Post?
    No! The data entered into Command Post is already being entered somewhere else today. So employees will enter the data into Command Post where it can be used over and over in many reports instead of needing to re-enter it.
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