BW: Workplace Experts is a London-based office fit out and refurbishment expert who has built a reputation on high-quality work aimed at delivering a defect-free completion.
BW: Workplace Experts had grown rapidly, and while this attested to the success of the business, it also brought new challenges. New employees were using different workflows and systems which led to siloed data and made collaboration difficult.
Procore provided one centralised platform for standardisation and consistency. It also boosted visibility, accountability, and offered one source of truth. In doing so, Procore both supported and enhanced the company's growth, helping it double in size in just two years.
BW: Workplace Experts
With headquarters in London, BW: Workplace Experts is one of the leading fit out and refurbishment contractors in the UK. Its clients range from Amazon to Coca-Cola, and it has built a reputation on high-quality work aimed at delivering a Defect Free completion. With increasingly large projects and a rapidly growing company, the team decided to turn to a premier project management solution to help standardise processes and ensure projects ran as efficiently as possible.
Around the same time that Head of IT Steve Buchanan joined BW: Workplace Experts, the company had recently acquired a new Board that was focused on enhancing BW's IT capabilities. Buchanan was tasked with the maintenance and expansion of IT solutions, and as the company grew, he was also responsible for ensuring that those solutions would be able to scale appropriately. To be sure, BW's rapid growth had come with its own unique challenges.
"The business had grown rapidly with new employees coming from a number of competitors, each with their different ways of doing things—they used different systems, different approaches, and different processes," explains Buchanan.
Without a standardised system, team members used programs according to their own preferences and workflows. That meant they employed a combination of Dropbox, OneDrive, Excel and email to manage projects. Consequently, this led to siloed data and disjointed systems that hindered collaboration.
"If someone was delivering a project on their personal OneDrive and they went on holiday for two weeks, other teams could not access those files. They wouldn't know where the files were stored or where the drawing issue sheet was for that project. So, you couldn't hop from one job to another," recalls Buchanan.
Buchanan set out to find a solution that would standardise processes across the organisation and consolidate data into one centralised location. He explains that about ten years prior, he had built a proprietary project management solution at another firm, and he weighed the option of building another one at BW.
"The Board and I looked at the ‘build' options versus the ‘buy' options. We knew we could be running our first job on Procore in 4-6 weeks. Actually, we were running our first job on Procore 2 weeks after we signed. But if we had written something ourselves, it was 9-12 months before we would have had something reasonably usable."
The other factor that set Procore apart in the decision-making process was that it offered a comprehensive solution with robust tools for project management, quality, and safety.
"We wanted a one-stop shop. We wanted something that could do our snagging, document control, and health and safety. All those elements we could do in Procore," Buchanan says.
After extensive research, BW partnered with Procore in July 2016 and decided to try the software on two pilot projects. Both projects were completed successfully, and after receiving overwhelmingly positive feedback from employees, they decided to transition all new and existing projects to the platform that November. Buchanan recalls that BW employees weren't the only ones who noticed the immediate value of Procore.
"We had a £35+ million project that was being delivered using a product from a competitor of Procore, as written in our contract. Halfway through, the client was so disillusioned with the system, they authorised a change to our master contract allowing us to migrate the project to Procore. The upheaval of this process was vastly offset by the advantages offered by delivering the remainder of the project with Procore."
Using multiple Procore products including Project Management and Quality & Safety, BW successfully streamlined workflows across teams. With integrations such as ConstructionBI, they also had powerful insight into trends that enabled them to make better data-driven decisions.
Perhaps most importantly, however, Procore had helped standardise processes companywide. "Procore allows us to have a consistent approach on every project. The digital communication is the same. All our employees are trained the same way. Now we have standard files, formats, and processes we use for every communication," says Buchanan.
With Procore, all data is located in a single centralised location, providing collaborators with one source of truth. With its unlimited user license model, Procore ensures that documents are easily accessible to all teams and that employees are working from the most up-to-date drawings. All users—from employees in the field to the owner—have full visibility of project information at any moment, helping keep teams accountable for oversight and delays.
"It's the carrot and stick," Buchanan explains. "The carrot is that we are more efficient, we make more profit, we pay the bonuses. The stick is that we can see if they're not doing it properly. For example, it provides us with the ability to report on subcontractors that take a long time to close out. We can assess whether we should use them in the future. You can start to have those conversations earlier as well. Procore provides that sort of visibility so we can have much more data-fueled conversations with irrefutable proof."
With enhanced software and a growing team, BW is now one of the three tier one contractors in the UK office fit out market today. In just two years, the company has continued to grow both its revenue and the number of employees (from 110 to about 270).
"We've nearly doubled in size since Procore was introduced—that's part of our plan for rapid growth," Buchanan explains.
He also says that BW's decision to implement Procore, which helped drive its success, is echoed by other leading general contractors in the fit out and refurbishment space across the world.
"As BW continued to deepen the knowledge-sharing partnerships with SHAPE (Australia) and HITT (US), further alignments became apparent. Other than our shared culture and customerfocused delivery, we had all independently selected the same project delivery platform on which to grow our businesses: Procore."
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