Headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah, Big-D Construction is an industry leader, providing construction management, general contracting, and design-build services for more than 50 years.
With employee satisfaction as a key driver of Big-D Construction's success, they wanted to find a way to make their employees' lives easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable.
In an effort to reinforce their employee-centric mindset, Big-D Construction decided to partner with Procore. In doing so, they not only enhanced their employees' well-being, but they also streamlined their project management processes.
In 2017, the Board of Directors at Big-D Construction made a strategic shift that would enhance the way they managed their organization. Revisiting their core values, they made an executive decision to prioritize and champion their most valuable asset: their people. While employee satisfaction had always been a key driver of Big-D's success, the decision reinforced their goal of making their employees' jobs easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable. As part of this companywide initiative, they decided to partner with Procore. This strategic move not only helped reiterate their dedication to employees' well-being, but it also helped improve their project management processes and streamline their projects.
At the 2017 annual retreat, Big-D's Board of Directors decided that instead of focusing on the typical number-crunching metrics, like revenue, they would reinforce their core values through a company-wide, employee-focused initiative. As one of Utah Business' "Best Companies to Work For," Big-D had always made employee satisfaction a top priority. However, the decision helped bolster the decades-long mission by investing in ways to help make their employees' lives easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable.
Big-D's COO, Troy Thompson, saw the retreat as a perfect opportunity to reiterate the potential benefits the company could experience by switching to Procore. Just a few months prior to the meeting, Big-D had engaged Procore's team and set up five test projects with the goal of measuring the direct benefits of using the software. He told the Board that as part of their employee-centric mindset, he wanted to help streamline their employees' workloads so that they could enjoy more time with family and friends. While the suggestion was largely driven by the desire to improve employees' lives, Troy also hoped that it would help improve operational inefficiencies as well.
"I was looking at how we could improve productivity, how we could make our employees' lives more manageable, more enjoyable, less hours at work, how we could get them home to their families earlier. I was looking at how they could not feel so much of a workload on a daily basis because of the ease of getting that work done through a different tool," explained Troy.
Troy's role in the operations of all nine Big-D offices gave him the unique opportunity to hear firsthand how team members in various regions were interacting with their current project management software. This was before Big-D had partnered with Procore, and the reality was, their previous software was causing more headache than help. Team members readily told Troy about their lost productivity due to the software's "clunky" interface. They had found it difficult to input and submit information, so data was often late or never entered at all. As a result, forecasting reports were frequently inaccurate and out-of-date, and the team would often spend hours after their forecasting meetings trying to reconcile the monetary discrepancies.
Employees explained that if they were equipped with a more user-friendly system, it would be easier to submit items like change orders and submittals. This, in turn, would help facilitate more accurate forecasting, benefiting both accounting and project management teams.
Troy began searching for a system that was "more intuitive" for employees.
"I wanted something that was much faster and easier to use that would benefit us in a big way when it came to our monthly forecasting meeting because the items would be in there, we could run a report, see the information, and close the gaps between accounting and project managers," said Troy.
This search, Troy explained, led him to Procore. To learn more about the product, he spent hours speaking with current Procore users and observing how they used the interface. He recalls how easy it was for them to enter information into the system and how quickly they completed their work with Procore's tools. His own knowledge, having spent years in the project management ranks, gave him a unique perspective regarding the daily tasks each member of a project team went through over the life of a project. He set up a trial account and soon realized that it was a much more user-friendly interface than their previous software.
"After dabbling in Procore's test project for no more than 20-30 minutes, it was obvious to me how intuitive the software really was and how our people could be easily trained and switched over to a new project management system. So I became very excited about how it could affect the lives of our people," Troy said.
His research led him to speak with Procore's President, Steve Zahm, where he remembers three conversations in particular that left a notable impression on him. The first was that when he asked Steve what Procore's retention rate was, his reply was that it was nearly 100%.
"It blew me away because I knew that anyone who had nearly 100% retention had a really good product," Troy recalled.
Later, he asked how long it would take an average Project Manager to learn Procore's software. "Again, I was blown away by the answer because it was an average of two weeks. I asked if he meant eight hours every day for two weeks. He told me no, only two to three hours a day, two days a week, for two weeks. I thought, you've got to be kidding."
Then, when Troy heard that Procore was spending $30M a year on Research & Development to continue to improve the product, he knew that he would be partnering with a company that was not simply keeping pace with the industry, but leading it. In a separate webinar with Procore developers, Troy experienced this level of dedication firsthand where they were demonstrating the new forecasting model—a feature that was of particular interest to Troy and his team.
"That hit me really hard because I saw a whole lot of developers working really hard on the product, like a really cool forecasting model, to get that out to folks signed up with Procore."
Troy knew that Procore was the solution Big-D's team had been looking for and even professes that they needed it "from the very beginning." But, he also understood that he still needed the support of those who would actually be using the software on a daily basis—Big-D's employees. He soon added other users to the trial account to get feedback. Their response was staggering.
"We got nearly 100% positive feedback from the users' side. I started to hear things like 'I can do this job without a PE,' 'This saves me 10 hours a week that I could shave off my weekly schedule,' 'I can get my stuff turned into the owner faster and easier,' and 'The reporting is much better.' The folks that were using it were getting more and more excited," recalled Troy.
The simplicity and accessibility of entering data into Procore encouraged employees to more readily submit information such as new sets of drawings, RFIs, and ASIs. This allowed his team to view up-to-date values so that they could more accurately forecast data in real time. This, in turn, helped reduce the likelihood of discovering any surprises at the end of the project.
Troy explains that before Procore, "What almost always ended up happening was all of that got cleaned up at the end of the project which was never discussed in a forecast and then we have a big write-down at the end of the project."
In contrast, with Procore's user-friendly platform, it was easier for employees to submit information, allowing for more accurate data and better forecasting. It had no doubt improved Big-D's processes, yet what Troy saw in switching to Procore was much greater than simply metrics. It had also dramatically improved the lives of Big-D's employees.
"Because without our people being happy, or having the tools to be productive, then we could lose them. We wanted to do everything in our power to cause change, and we feel like we've done that now by making the decision to go with Procore. We think our employees are now seeing that the most important thing to the company is our people and we really value them as an asset," said Troy.
In the end, what began as an employee-centric initiative for Big-D turned out to offer a much more holistic solution for their team. Ultimately, it led them to switch to Procore, helping them improve employee satisfaction while also streamlining their project management processes. For Big-D Construction, happy employees means a happy business.