A few years ago, BBE management recognized that they needed to take advantage of new methods, techniques, and technologies to help project managers and project teams consistently use best practices in their work.
One factor that sets BBE apart from other firms in the construction industry is extraordinarily low staff turnover. Because of the long average tenure of its employees, BBE enjoys significant customer loyalty and repeat business. The company has long-standing relationships with many large, "blue chip" corporations headquartered in Connecticut and the Northeast.
Technology was also needed to make it simple for employees to work together. BBE had used some construction management software in their headquarters operations, but management realized that the firm needed a tool that could be used by all employees, and not only by people working in the company's back offices. The company's superintendents—the employees "in the field"—manage a lot of documentation. BBE's executives realized that it was essential to have consistency from job-to-job, for both the paperwork and the construction project management processes.
In short, BBE's senior management recognized that they needed an information management tool that would help them to standardize business processes and provide all BBE employees with the ability to collaborate on project tasks.
"We evaluated over a dozen different systems. Procore was the system that met most of our needs."
"We evaluated over a dozen different systems," says Eacott-Comer. "Procore was the system that met most of our needs. We've been using Procore for over a year now, and we're delighted that we continue to find different ways we can use the system that we haven't even realized at first!"
The quality of technical support and training the company received from Procore was the second most important reason for BBE's decision to adopt Procore. Although most of the construction project management software vendors offered training for their products, Eacott-Comer and Gerry Holland, BBE's Chief Estimators, knew that it would be critical to have reliable, ongoing user support once the training was completed.
"The latest systems are so integrated, and there is so much to learn about them, that it would take many of us years before we'd be able to understand them completely," notes Eacott-Comer. "Procore's support staff consistently answers our questions 'with a smile' and with the same enthusiasm with which they answered the questions the first time we asked them! We also get the sense that Procore understands our business and not just the project management software business."
"Procore may not always agree with our approach," says Eacott-Comer, "but they're very open and willing to listen to how we do business, and people at Procore who we deal with are very pleasant and helpful. We are continuously refining how we use Procore, and the construction project management software is also becoming better over time.
"To put it simply, we want to get in and drive the car; we don't really care how the car is built," adds Holland. "The support that Procore gives us makes it really easy for us to 'get in and drive.'"
Procore's cost-effective licensing model was another important deciding factor. After conducting an analysis of several systems, management identified the "pay per user" licensing model of the other construction project management software applications as a barrier to adoption by trade partners and externally-employed members of the various construction project teams.
"A lot of our project owners want to log in to the system, and once they see what they can do, they want other project team members, including trade partners, to use Procore… and if we had to pay by the user, it would cost us a small fortune!" exclaims Eacott-Comer.
BBE is now using Procore across-the-board for their projects on a daily basis: project owners, project managers and design teams, subcontractors, superintendents, and everyone in the field. The project owners appreciate having access to photos through the system, functionality that is especially useful for the company's out-of-state projects and owners. Instead of having to travel to the jobsite, owners simply log in to the system to review photographs, meeting minutes, and the latest set of project documents.
Procore makes it simple for senior management to track who has access to the information. Eacott-Comer explains, "Because we're able to post all the drawings, and they're accessible through Procore. Nobody on the project team has to say, 'I didn't get that.'"
Both Eacott-Comer and Holland remark on how Procore software facilitated an important change to BBE's business model, enabling the company's clients to become its partners.
"Our business paradigm has shifted from the days when we were primarily a general contractor with our client sitting across the table from us, to our current role in construction project management with our clients sitting right alongside of us," explains Holland. "Procore's software is inclusive and it's very reliable. It has features that we couldn't get in other construction project management software, such as allowing us to integrate a Microsoft Project schedule file and keeping that schedule updated over the web. These features allow us to improve our service to our clients, and that's not a little thing."
"We've started to think of Procore as a file cabinet that everybody's using," says Eacott-Comer. "Inside that file cabinet are a lot of things that we can use for our business and for our clients' projects as well."
During the day, the evening, or on a Sunday afternoon, any project team member can log in to the system and find every piece of information that he or she needs for a job. Just having all the project data—documents, changes, and financial information—at their fingertips, available to the right people at the right time, has proven to be invaluable.
"If BBE's design teams and the companies we work with everyday started using Procore, there wouldn't be any learning curves at the beginning of a project. In fact, the more that other companies use Procore too—the more universal Procore becomes—the better for all of us!"