41 North needed an easier way to manage their submittals, RFIs, and project updates. They wanted to find an alternative to manually tracking changes through Excel spreadsheets and Word documents via email.
Procore helped the Chicago-based construction firm track every aspect of its business and revolutionized how they handled submittals, RFIs, and project updates.
Mike Bender, Partner
41 North Contractors
"We got involved in restaurants as a kind of niche," said Mike Bender, Partner at 41 North. "We prefer working on office spaces and museums, like the The Museum of Science and Industry and the Shedd Aquarium." Notably, the company recently completed construction of the 'Numbers in Nature' exhibit at The Museum of Science and Industry.
Mike said that 41 North has grown rapidly over the past year. He foresees sustainable progress in the company's future as well. The firm is currently working on several projects in various stages of completion: Formento's, a 13,000 square foot Italian restaurant; remodel of the BellyQ restaurant; Frontera, owned by Rick Bayless; a project for an architectural firm; an office/catering facility called Blue Plate; and Dream Dry, co-owned by Rachel Zoe from New York.
Prior to adopting Procore's cloud-based construction management software, 41 North managed Excel spreadsheets and Word documents sent via email. Compared to Procore, Mike remarked, "It was very elementary and brutal. There were many occasions where a document had changed by the time the recipient had read their email." Because of the company's rapid growth, the entire team needed to adopt a scalable solution that would improve overall organization.
41 North was first introduced to Procore in 2009 by The Burns Company, a professional construction management firm out of the Boston area. "They approached us a while back and said there's a company they work with that does a great job with submittals and organization and that they wanted us to reconsider our submittal process," Mike recalled. "They recommended Procore, sent us a link, and a few weeks later we were contacting them and getting involved."
Mike explained how the shift to Procore made the company more efficient. "Procore has been wonderful at holding people accountable, and everyone can see who's holding up the job. It makes work simpler."
When Mike first used Procore, he was surprised by how easy the software was to navigate. "That is the best part of Procore," he said. "It's very, very simple to use."
Construction professionals are not IT professionals, so they could be forgiven for taking a little time to warm up to Procore. "We're probably the ones that were thinking, oh man, what did we get ourselves into? But no, it ended up being fine. The entire team at 41 North picked it up quicker than anybody," Mike said. "They really ran with it. They love it."
Sixteen people on the 41 North team currently have access to Procore, ranging in age from 24 to 55 years old. When the software was adopted, the team acclimated to it very quickly, according to Mike. It's just a matter of having that initial meeting explaining to everyone what Procore is and moving from there. Everyone has to be introduced to it," he said.
"The implementation process was so simple—you don't have to download anything. People can even use Procore on their mobile devices." Some clients were so curious about what their new restaurants would look like that they decided to access their documents in Procore.
"Our architects, engineers, restaurant owners, building owners, and tenants really like it," Mike said.
41 North occasionally travels outside of the Chicago area for some of their clients. When they do leave their home city, they use Procore on every aspect of the job. "Procore works well regardless of location," says Mike. "There's no difference at all.
"It was the whole endgame," said Mike, discussing the adoption of Procore. "It was pretty much the tracking of our business. The majority of it was submittals, but then we got into RFIs and project updates. We're really utilizing it more and more as the months go on."
"I think it's easier to use Procore on an iPad or an iPhone than it is on the computer, and I think our team really utilizes that more than anything," Mike explained. Along with providing instant collaboration, Procore's mobile application has made accountability more immediate for 41 North's entire team.
41 North's employees and project managers value having access to company documents out in the field. Mike said that Procore's mobile accessibility has made the company more organized, saving time and money. "We're able to track things quicker and stay more involved with the project."
The company's staff also regularly monitors jobs using their iPads. "Adam, one of the partners, can open up his iPad and scroll to a job and figure out the status of a submittal. He's able to immediately see what's going on with a job if an owner requests the status. It's a much better way of finding things out than what we were doing before."
"Little things have helped us out immensely," said Mike.
Mike spoke about the features that 41 North uses most: "It's definitely submittals, RFIs, and tracking documents. We've been exploring it and growing with it day by day."
In terms of articulating how much money Procore has saved the company overall, "I would say 'a lot' with like five exclamation points behind it," Mike beamed.
Regarding 41 North's future, Mike said, "I feel that we've made a big jump this year for growth and I would like to slowly but surely continue to grow, and keep building these good clients and relationships. I plan to stay on track, organized, and keep on creating a safe, good company."
"Yeah, absolutely," Mike said. "When we're on a job, Procore benefits the client as well as the construction manager and the architect, so they count on us to bring Procore to the table. As far as my architects, construction managers, and owners go, I know they're considering implementing the platform, because I know they love it."
"We're very happy with Procore. It's a must," Mike proclaimed. "You could say that we're kind of married to it."