As True North Group's Director of Preconstruction, Dennis Campbell's mission is singular; build a construction plan that eliminates any and all financial surprises that might sneak into the job. From the mundane to the elegant—that is,from a finger slip while re-keying figures, to misunderstanding materials costs—even the slightest wrong turn during "precon" can lead to a widening, budgetbusting disaster as the job unfolds.
Procore's seamless integration of an accounting environment with its project management platform means the end of tiresome, often error-filled double-entries, and the beginning of Project Manager decision-making autonomy in the field.
True North Construction
Is there anything more complex, more multi-layered, more fraught with possible missteps than a construction project? Cranial surgery on roller skates comes in a close second. But a lot of mid-project construction sorrow can be mitigated with a tightly wound Preconstruction phase. In fact, that's the whole idea of a Preconstruction phase. Carefully count your chickens, then hatch them. Pretty simple.
Yes, accidents can and do happen during "precon" itself; some of them small human errors that slip by unnoticed and later come roaring back home to roost. Just ask Dennis Campbell. He is True North Group's Director of Preconstruction, and sums the issue up nicely. "If you're keying in 200 direct cost line items, you can bet a good 5 - 10% of the keystrokes are missing the mark," he says. Yeah, and? That doesn't sound so bad. "An extra zero gets put in, or a decimal lands in the wrong place. All of a sudden your $40,000 budget is a $400 budget." Ouch.
Procore's cloud-based financial integrations mean, among other things, the end of tiresome and mistake-riddled double entries. Figures are entered once for all parties, and made available through a real-time interface that connects stakeholders in the field to the project's financials. The alternative? "When reporting, checkbook management, and financials go through a separate accounting software interface, project managers and superintendents have limited access to that information," Campbell says. "To do their jobs in the field they actually need access to financial information in real time."
Procore now provides that real-time access to True North by merging the PM and accounting environments onto a single platform. What an idea. The time and money saved by eliminating multiple manual entries in separate systems? Sweet. Giving the PM real-time access to cost management tools right there on the jobsite? All-Conquering.
"The efficiencies come from the PM being able to immediately retrieve and use the information on site," says Campbell. "That provides the PM more autonomy in the field. Add to that a confidence in the figures—data that haven't been hurriedly keyed in multiple times."
Because Procore seamlessly integrates True North's accounting tools with their project management platform in one cloud-based environment, the PM can make decisions based on solid, trusted financials without having to hit pause to pivot to a separate accounting system. At long last, the jobsite and accounting are on the same ledger. So to speak.
True North's Dennis Campbell tells a story about leveraging a new tool. Or watching a new tool leverage itself. "We bid our first project after switching to Procore, and we walk in for our pre-construction meeting with the owner and the architect. We all introduce ourselves, and these are the first words out of the architect's mouth; ‘Are you guys going to be using Procore for this project?'" Campbell pauses for effect. "It couldn't have been a week after we'd signed with Procore!"
One can almost picture the scene, Campbell and his team sneaking sideways glances. "Yes," Campbell calmly answers. "As a matter of fact, we are using Procore. We're excited about streamlining the process between the architect and the project." Campbell steps out of the anecdote and speaks to the way Procore rewards both the Architect and Subcontractor work relationships.
"Being able to offer more and easier access to information is also key to procuring your subcontract team and keeping them on board. You want them to like the work environment you offer. At the end of the day for us, it's always about, ‘Can I help my subs make money?' Because if they don't make money on jobs with us— well, they're not going to work with us anymore. Procore is the differentiator by providing access to information for everybody on the team."