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Case Study

Commodore Builders

Commodore Builders is a mid-size construction management firm based in Boston.

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Challenge

Boston’s Commodore Builders had employee training issues. Their Procedures Manual—4 inches of paper in a three-ring binder— resisted easy updating. Changes to in-house forms required company-wide emails with attachments, and their Director of Internal Ops was producing lots and lots of hand- typed documentation–much of it made quickly obsolete by changing processes.

Solution

Training Center integrated Procore’s powerful online support tutorials and documentation with Commodore’s training and SOP content in an intuitive, cloud- based instance powered by Commodore’s brand. Commodore’s collaborative new training solution puts training and support documentation in one common “room” accessible to all.

"Ease of use in maintaining and disbursing new information; about 8 hours a month. Better communication throughout the organization, money, and time saved by everyone using the correct docs the first time every time; that’s at least another 8 hours every month. Consistency of SOPs and processes across the organization? Priceless."

Amanda Finnerty
Commodore Builders

Commodore Builders is restlessly innovative. The Boston area construction management firm has a large family of clients throughout New England, and a vibrant portfolio whose projects include commercial, institutional, healthcare, and life science builds. Like any corporate conqueror worth its salt, Commodore’s public-facing mastery conceals a tightly managed storm back at headquarters.

Someone is in the middle of Commodore’s controlled hurricane of internal activity, minding the fort, training the workers, overseeing the SOPs, and generally mellowing the vibe, as they say in Boston (do they still say that in Boston?). That someone is Amanda Finnerty, Commodore’s Director of Internal Operations. She does a lot. Here she is explaining things. Without pause. That’s how Finnerty rolls.

“I’m responsible for consistent standard operating procedures,” she says with a vocal assurance that briefly distorts the interviewer’s sad little laptop speakers. “So…making sure that we’re consistent throughout the organization, that’s very important to us. In my role, I also implement all of the software. For Procore, I was doing all of the training.”

Procore’s platform takes all the whirling parts of your complex project and presents them as an orderly and comprehensible whole. You have to learn how to use it, of course. As implementation manager, Amanda spearheaded that Procore training effort for Commodore.

Chasing the Train

Chasing the Train

“Procore training is excellent,” Amanda says emphatically. “They have engaging videos, they have excellent tutorials on their Support Center. And Procore is really easy to use. If you wanted to, you could send someone an invitation in Procore and say, ‘Please do the Procore certification and start using it,’ and they would be able to. And that’s great…”

But?

“But we do believe in having a consistent process and standard operating procedures in our organization. As do other companies, we have a lot of repeat clients. They don’t necessarily work with the same teams on every project, but we want them to have the same experience from Commodore Builders.

Finnerty also wanted to make sure the full scope of Procore was available to every Commodore user. As deep-diving Implementation Manager and Procore enthusiast, she knew stuff about Procore nobody else knew. There is much discoverable productivity-boosting magic in the Procore platform. Like what, for instance?

“Here’s a really simple example. Sometimes you’ll need to call a subcontractor or a team member, and you may want a record of having called. When you end the call, the app will ask, ‘Do you want to save this in the call log?’ You can say yes, and you can add a comment. So if you have a series of calls with someone related to a specific project issue—maybe in some cases you’ve called repeatedly and are waiting for them to call back—you can document that, and it feeds right into the daily log.”

Finnerty is what one could call a completist, so she did what anyone would do—she typed up 36 pages worth of Procore super-features to share with Commodore’s Procore-using community. It felt good. Her sense of exhausted celebration was short-lived. “That document was great for about 3 months, tops. Then I found out Procore is constantly improving their product. Constantly. It was impossible to keep up.”

Documentation. Certification. Zero Frustration.

Documentation. Certification. Zero Frustration.

Enter Dean Onishi, Procore’s Director of Documentation and Certification. “Dean reached out to me from Training Center,” Amanda says. “They asked me, ‘Hey, would you want to do this? You’d be able to build your own Commodore training center, leveraging Procore’s content and adding your own Commodore customizations to it.’ I said, ‘Wow. Yeah, I’m all in!’”

Procore’s Training Center service lets the client host the complete range of Procore Support documentation, and on a beautifully designed and functional micro-site that wholly reflects the client’s brand. The client—Commodore in the present case—can then add to their branded Training Center its own inhouse custom training material; its best practices and procedures and SOPs. For Amanda, the timing was fortuitous—and came with a small hitch.

“What I needed to do first was build the framework and then add my Commodore content. But I didn’t know where to start with my framework, my sitemap.” Amanda attended a Training Center session at Procore’s annual construction technology gathering Groundbreak in 2017, where a couple Training Center early adopters demoed how they’d built their own Training Centers. “The Procore Training Center staff helped me build it.” Amanda recounts how, in the process, Procore got a dose of her fervor for thoroughness.

“It’s funny. I sent the Procore Training Center team this draft, because I wanted everything. Training Center allows you to produce what they call hybrid tutorials—Procore’s information shares a page with your own company’s custom content. I took that approach. I put together my sitemap, and my list of all the tutorials I wanted to customize was probably 3 single-spaced pages long. I sent it off to Procore. They said, ‘Really?!’” She laughs.

The End of the Lamentable Procedures Manual

The End of the Lamentable Procedures Manual

There is no question that the invention of paper in the year 100 B.C. (or thereabouts) was a bullet-train to the civilized world. These days, though, that grand invention can be made a little unwieldy. Amanda explains how Commodore got around that with the invaluable help of Procore Training Center.

“We have a procedures manual. Or, well, we had a procedures manual. It was paper. It was 4 inches thick. There were 50 plus procedures in there, and they were all out of date. I’ve been with the company for 14 years. Working with the staff to write Commodore’s procedures manual was one of the first projects I had when I started here. So we would issue updates along the way, and we would email out those updates. But no one ever read the updates. So it was kind of useless, right?”

“Well, I – “

“The senior leadership would expect people to be following these procedures. But they’re not going to look in a book!” Finnerty sounds irritated. “They’re just not going to pull this fat book off the shelf! Making copies of a four-inch binder and handing it out to every new hire was just ridiculous! So that’s one of the things I loved about the Training Center. Not only was it Procore content, it was Commodore SOPs and processes, and I added our procedures manual. Now we’re able to easily update that, and everyone can view Commodore procedures with just a couple clicks.”

Some of Commodore’s dynamic inhouse form templates also found a home in Training Center. “We have different templates that people have to use. Before Training Center we would update a form and send out an email blast to everybody saying, ‘Here’s this new template. Please use it going forward’. The minute we had sent that email, the document was out of date.” The exasperation in her voice is unmistakable. Then came Procore’s Training Center, and the synchronous glories of the Cloud. New template? Critically updated form? These changes are immediately available for community-wide viewing.

Counting the Ways

Finnerty worked hard with the Procore team to build Commodore’s all-powerful, completely customized Training Center, and couldn’t be happier with the result. How did Training Center help Commodore? Amanda aggregates the ways (to paraphrase Shakespeare).

“Time savings in updating training materials; 8 hours a month. Time saved by the user not having to seek out information; 4 hours a month per user. Complete autonomy–users don’t have to send an email or make a call or otherwise wait for someone to get back to them with info; that’s another 4 hours a month per user. Ease of use in maintaining and disbursing new information; about 8 hours a month. Better communication throughout the organization, money and time saved by everyone using the correct docs the first time every time; that’s at least another 8 hours every month. Consistency of SOPs and processes across the organization? Priceless.”

Commodore’s Director of Internal Operations has calculated the yearly cash saved by leveraging Training Center. The figure comes in at right around $1,945,200. But who’s counting? Amanda Finnerty takes a breath and neatly summarizes. Her tone is matter-of-fact.

“I have to say, my Training Center is amazing.”

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