ABLe Communications, Inc., has been providing secure solutions for companies' communications, audio, and video needs since 1994. They specialize in copper, optical, and wireless information transport systems and AV systems integration.
For years, ABLe Communications had been managing their payroll process manually. However, these pen-and-paper processes were not only time-consuming, but a lack of visibility, disjointed systems, and delayed data made it difficult to accurately monitor project budget and schedule.
With Procore's Labor Tracking tools, ABLe Communications eliminated manual paper processes and gained valuable insight into field team productivity. This saved both time and money—let alone headache. Teams had access to real-time data, greater visibility, and more accurate forecasting—allowing them to better protect margins.
Since the company's inception in 1994, ABLe Communications relied on manual, pen-and paper processes. Chief Operations Officer - VP of Production Brandon Lopez explains, "Almost everything we did was manually on paper. Back when I was in the field, I would take notes on cardboard that I would rip off of box lids. Or I'd have four or five Sharpies stuffed into my shirt, and I would literally have notes up and down my arm. That's the only way I could get my information into the office."
Similar manual processes also extended to managing timesheets, making it a painstakingly long process. In fact, it took upwards of six hours to complete. With payroll rolling out weekly, it was taking up too much of Lopez's valuable time. Furthermore, he didn't have an efficient way to split up cost codes. This meant managing the budget from one "big bucket"—making it difficult to fully understand how it was allocated.
"With paper processes, I didn't have time to split everybody's time out on manual timesheets and then manually enter each little thing. We had to guess how much we had left in that big bucket. The problem with that is that when the bucket's too low, you can't really tell how much water you have left until you don't have any left. You don't see it coming. All of a sudden, it's just empty. There was no visibility behind the data," Lopez explains.
To make matters worse, manual processes made it impossible to manage his team's productivity. All he could do was relay the number of hours needed to complete the job to his crew. He had to wait until payroll was completed and data was entered into the accounting system before he could view where costs had been applied. Only then could he determine if his team had exceeded their hours.
Using data that was a week behind to make real-time decisions was a bit like driving while looking through the rearview mirror; he could only catch problems after it was already too late.
With larger and more complex projects on the horizon, Lopez soon realized that their paper processes could not support their scope of work.
Something had to change.
Lopez began searching for a time management tool that could digitize their timesheets process and eliminate the need for slow, manual entry both on-site and off.
"We stumbled upon Procore, and after looking at it we started saying, 'Man, this is a whole lot more than timesheets,'" Lopez recalls.
Procore offered various products including Project Management, Quality & Safety, Construction Financials, and—the one that caught his eye—Field Productivity. This product line offered Labor Tracking tools (such as Crews and Timesheets), which were simple, integrated, and provided realtime data.
In November of 2017, ABLe Communications decided to partner with Procore and implemented all four product lines. Field Productivity proved to be especially impactful for Lopez and his team. Its Labor Tracking tools enabled him to easily track crew time in the field with teams entering data on their mobile devices. With instantaneous data input, teams could view the real-time labor budget against actual reporting and gain insights to spot trends or inefficiencies.
"Field Productivity was probably the first thing that everybody bought into. Especially the Timesheets Tool—we would have bought Procore for that alone. It gives me a way to look at a direct cost against a budget, which is really, really important to us in our line of work."
With an unlimited user license, ABLe Communications rolled out Procore companywide—a move that was met with an overwhelmingly high employee adoption rate. Lopez notes that perhaps one factor in their success was that the tools were intuitive and easy to use.
"Implementation went as smooth as I could have ever expected—if not more smooth. I love Procore and the way they've labeled things because it's so easy. They call their menu a 'toolbox.' Every person in our industry opens a toolbox every single day. It's simple and self-explanatory to say, 'You need a tool? Look in the toolbox.' Implementation was great. And we can't get enough of the field productivity stuff. As fast as Procore can roll out new features, we're eating it up."
Lopez says that during the implementation process, what also struck him was Procore's commitment to helping them solve their biggest challenges.
"We were looking for help with timesheets first and foremost. And man, did Procore deliver. The software delivered on every single thing that we asked it to do. And the Procore team jumped through all the hoops we needed—they stuck with us and helped us work through all the hang ups we ran into. Procore delivered a product that really checked every box I had—and even some I didn't know I needed."
With Procore, Lopez and his team not only save days of work, but are also pleased to find that the platform has essentially paid for itself.
"With just the Timesheets Tool alone, I'm able to save 6 different project managers 6 hours a week. I assure you that amount is well over the price I pay for Procore in totality."
With real-time data, Lopez and his team can now make data-driven decisions and better monitor the completion of a job, resulting in more accurate forecasting and more consistent margins.
"What Procore's Labor Tracking tools have done is give us visibility into where the field team is at with their hours, and I get the data instantaneously. I've also gained the ability to view their hours against specific cost codes rather than in one big bucket. They can watch those numbers throughout the project and say, 'I only have this many hours left. I really have to push it here.'"
Lopez notes that Procore has also bolstered the company's commitment to high project quality. He explains, "I'm now able to hold my guys to a higher quality standard because of the data that Procore provides; I don't have to physically be onsite for every job. Those guys can share the information with me in real time, even if I'm not at the jobsite."
Yet when it comes to ROI, Lopez says that the results are "more tangible than just slapping a dollar amount on it." He explains, "What I mean by that is, the headaches that we dealt with in regards to organizing time—they're gone."
With Procore, Lopez can now easily and effectively manage his field team's productivity, helping projects stay on time and in budget.
"Construction companies are like battleships—they just don't turn very fast," Lopez jokes. "But Field Productivity has really updated our processes so that we're smarter and more efficient than our competitors."
From previous outdated manual processes to real-time paperless workflows, this battleship, to be sure, is now faster than the rest.
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