Case Study

MEP contractor Humphrey & Associates discovers Procore is not just a tool for general contractors.

Successful MEP Contractor Makes Operational Improvements After Purchasing Procore

The Challenge

MEP contractor Humphrey & Associates works on incredible and complex projects with some of the largest general contractors in the US. Throughout many of their projects with these key clients, they had the opportunity to collaborate with project teams through the client’s Procore account. As they did so, two themes emerged: First, they grew fond of the convenience and easy-to-use tools that automate processes such as RFIs, submittals, drawings management, observations, and punch lists. Second, as users within client accounts and not owning Procore themselves, they had minimal access and visibility to Procore’s full value. It was also imperative to Humphrey & Associates to own their project data so operational teams could recall it at any time, even long after the project ended.

The Solution

Humphrey & Associates decided to own their own data across all projects, end double entry, and minimize internal paper processes. Having first-hand knowledge of the value Procore provided as a user, it was clear that purchasing their own account would grant them access to solutions they needed to run their business on their terms.

The Results

“One way that I analyze the project manager's efficiency is based on the quantity of projects they can manage simultaneously. Where a project manager once managed on average $3.5 million a year––with Procore they can manage $5 million a year. That means we didn't have to bring another person onto the payroll, or assign an assistant to help them out. They can do that by themselves because of the efficiency of Procore.”

Jaeson Thornton

Vice President Dallas Electrical at Humphrey and Associates
 at&t building's plaza

Humphrey & Associates project: AT&T Discovery District, Dallas, TX.

Humphrey & Associates took notice of construction technology trends in construction.

Humphrey & Associates offer electrical, mechanical, engineering, design, design assistance, preventative, proactive, and lighting maintenance services. Since 1977, Humphrey & Associates has become the go-to for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing services in DFW.

As construction projects took a turn toward efficiency-boosting technologies, Humphrey & Associates increasingly found itself working with the given general contractor’s Procore construction management account. Many of these GC’s worked on large, complex projects and had nationwide footprints. Jaeson Thornton, VP of Dallas Electrical for Humphrey & Associates, breaks down just a few of those they worked with, “Some of the GCs that we dealt with in the past that were running Procore included Beck, Manhattan Construction, Adolfson & Peterson, Nedderman & Associates, McCarthy, Rogers-O'Brien, Rudick Construction Group and Turner Construction.” Spencer Cherry—Project Manager in Humphrey’s Mechanical Department—recalls his first Procore experience.

I discovered Procore on the Windrose Tower in Plano, Texas, under Manhattan Construction Group. It started as document management—with RFIs, submittals, and drawings. I got used to Procore from the contractor side.”

Humphrey & Associates realize the value of owning their own Procore account and project data.

Humphrey & Associates found working within their client's account when submitting RFIs, submittals, and punch lists to be easier and more intuitive for office staff and field superintendents. However, when they wanted to expand their overall adoption to match their internal processes, they hit limitations due to not having their own account.

“Not having full control of Procore from the subcontractor's point of view can be a challenge,” says Cherry. “If I wanted to send something out, I could only send it to a couple of contacts with our GC specifically. Creating documents under their templates—general contractors don't necessarily do everything the way we do.” Humphrey & Associates decided to take the plunge and purchase their own Procore account. They haven’t looked back. Thornton explains what they are getting out of Procore.

“By having our data housed in Procore’s environment, it allows our staff to access the project’s data on several different platforms, via phone, laptop or iPad®.  What’s the advantage? “All too often, offices lose power and connectivity,” Thornton says. “You lose access to all of your data, and if all of your project information  is either housed on your local machine or a server, you run the risk of one of those crashing and losing your data.” Humphrey & Associates’ project data is safely resident on Procore, and available 24/7.

“The guys in the field, whether a project manager like Spencer, the foreman running the job, or our safety team can all access everything, from anywhere, at any given time.”

Having quick and easy access to project information isn’t the only critical need Humphrey & Associates has for data. Thornton also places value in knowing the project's data is safe in case of security issues or internal mishaps.

“Knowing that our project data is secured and can be accessed by our operations team while we fight through a case of security breaches is priceless. Soft costs are at an all-time high right now, and having those resources unavailable and unable to perform their daily duties would impact the project's progress and the bottom line. In addition, there will always be employees within an organization that inadvertently erase content, but having Procore keep our project data at a remote location that is backed up and out of our standard file structure minimizes the accidental deletion or relocation of files from occurring.”

pipe system

Humphrey & Associates and Procore Take Streamlining to a New Level.

Procore’s software automatically standardizes processes across projects, even as the cloud-based platform allows Humphrey & Associates the customization to make it recognizably their own. With standardization, a specialty contractor can find savings in time and money. As a user in a general contractor's account, Humphrey & Associates did not have access to this level of customization.

“Previously, we would generate purchase orders on triplicate forms,” Thornton says. “The hard copy would be sent  to the office, and they would have to manually match it to the invoice. Now that process is standardized. We no longer have 15 AP people upstairs processing these POs, and it’s all standardized. You can have one person pushing lots of these invoices versus several people trying to figure out one invoice.”

In addition to developing efficiencies in processes through their own account, Humphrey and Associates have also seen firsthand how Procore is designed for specialty contractors. Thornton explains a situation unique to subcontractors that often results in margin loss which they have been able to solve with their own Procore account. “The ability to have live, current, real-time data is a huge benefit. When a design change is released, for instance, a large change of all HVAC units from top to bottom in a multi-story building, we have to provide cost impact in a timely manner. If we are delayed in receiving these documents and miss or overlook these changes, then we risk the chance of not being compensated for the additional work by submitting our pricing late. Typically when a pricing change is submitted late, it will create an unnecessary challenge with the General Contractor and or Owner to prove up why and where this change occurred.”

Humphrey & Associates' success is based on internal alignment.

At Humphrey & Associates, Procore has become an integral part of running their business and individual projects. One of the keys to their success has been the ability of team members to quickly and easily access project information, especially in the field. Administrative Assistant Jennifer Buss explains one of the ways this process has worked.

Buss explains, “I get calls from guys saying, "I need access to this project.” Or “I need access to drawings." They can just be added to a project quickly and access those drawings. It's as simple as that, versus them trying to find a place to connect to the VPN and then get onto our local servers to find those drawings. That saves an incredible amount of time for everyone.”

Buss and Cherry work hand in hand to ensure people, processes, reports, and documents are running the way they should through Procore. For example, Procore has automated processes at Humphrey & Associates that have allowed Cherry to take people off mundane paperwork and put them to work on more productive activities. Cherry estimates that the document management tools alone have given PMs back an entire day each week, resulting in 52 days saved per year per PM.

In addition to more efficient use of project management staff's time and focus, Humphrey & Associates has also seen tremendous benefits with better use of field leadership’s time.

“Having the most expensive guy on the job — our superintendent — sitting in the office typing on a keyboard; that’s not where his talent is. His talent and skill set are out there with the team. That's why he’s our superintendent. You've got to make those guys the most efficient that they can be; give them the tools and the resources in the field to be able to share that with the rest of the team.”

Going from working within a GC’s Procore account to purchasing their own account has been nothing but transformational to how this Dallas-based MEP contractor runs their business and their projects. To other specialty contractors considering Procore, Thornton has this message:

“How are you moving documents? What's your document management program? Do you feel efficient? Procore is more compatible with what the GCs are running, and leans towards what we do within our industry. We’ve seen a huge benefit from the tools we use, especially having real-time data, and being able to manage more work with fewer people.”

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