Lennar Multifamily's project teams found difficulty in accessing the most recent project information and wanted to transition from an internal accounting-centric software to a hosted collaborative project-centric software.
By moving project costs and data from an internal system and into the cloud via Procore, Lennar Multifamily is providing all team members with real-time access to the most current project information without having to wait for data to be batched and posted. What's more, Lennar utilized Procore Connect to plug into Sage accounting software for immediate viewing of vendors, jobs, cost codes, and categories.
Raymond Dobbins, Information Technology Project Manager
In the case of Lennar Multifamily Communities, small issues with their internal software were turning into huge time-eaters on the company's large-scale construction projects.
“We were having issues with our in-house software,” says Raymond Dobbins, Information Technology Project Manager with Lennar Multifamily. In the past, our field team members had trouble remotely accessing the software. In addition, time was wasted trying to run custom project cost reports that didn't always reflect the most recent project information.
To eliminate those time consuming problems, Lennar Multifamily needed to move to a web-based project management software. “We needed something web-based, so we could pull information from the field without having to remotely connect to our system,” he says. “We also wanted architects and other external team members to have access so we could encourage a higher level of collaboration.”
Procore's cloud-based project management software and mobile app platform was the obvious choice. The software acts as a one-stop-shop for storing and sharing project data, drawings, and documentation—without being tied to an in-house server.
“Most of the programs we looked had a web-based application or module, but still needed to be installed internally. With Procore, we can access information via PC, laptop, iPad® or other mobile device,” says Raymond.
Another deciding factor was Procore's ability to integrate with Timberline's Sage 300 Construction & Real Estate accounting software. “We are very much tied to Sage,“ says Raymond. “All of the financial information that we want to track is in that software.”
Lennar previously used Sage 300 for both financial tracking and project management. “We used [Sage 300] for requests for information (RFIs), submittals, and financials,” explains Raymond. “But we couldn't pull or store information from certain network locations. We had to use separate mobile solutions to access field tools and send multiple emails with attachments as workarounds to retrieve and share information.”
Raymond and his colleagues also had difficulties gaining access to timely project cost reports. If they entered the basic information of a financial document, such as a subcontract or invoice into the system, it wouldn't show up in a report until the information was batched and posted. Another drawback to working directly within an accounting-centric program was that any corrections needed after a transaction had been posted typically required a change order or someone from the accounting department to make the requested change.
With Procore, team members can enter that same information, and it shows immediately in the budget detail reports. “We can see jobs, vendors, cost codes, categories and JTD cost from Sage inside of Procore. Everything that's related to a project is right there.”
Raymond found that making corrections became fast and easy with the right project software solution, but the transformation in work flow did not happen overnight. “We had some big requests [for Procore]. Challenging requests,” says Raymond. Those requests included customized formats and reports within the actual software. Procore met the challenges head on and delivered the right solution for Lennar. “Now that we're up and running, our directors and project managers can see financial data as soon as it is entered,” says Raymond. “They're getting earlier access to the numbers they need.”
Sam Gaither, a Lennar Multifamily Project Manager in Nashville, and his team began using Procore in January 2015. Sam's team used a 320-unit project to test Procore's financial tools, alongside coordinating RFIs, submittals, and drawings with subcontractors.
“It was a simple process. The software is simple to operate and there are videos to watch to help with training,” he says. “And, for the most part, the subcontractors like it—they already have tablets so they can easily access the drawings. There are some old-school guys who were resistant, but once they started using it, it became pretty simple for them.”
Procore's mobile apps enable Sam to look up drawings on his tablet when walking a job site instead of having to shuffle through print drawings or log onto a laptop in the trailer. But Sam especially likes Procore's time-saving elements when communicating project details to team members.
“In the old days, we had to manually type names into emails,” Sam explains. “Now you can set up the architect and other team members in a distribution list. Plus, everybody who's on the distribution list is automatically copied on replies, which makes it that much harder to forget somebody.”
Chris Bell, a Lennar Project Engineer in Phoenix, agrees. “When sending RFIs, we used to have to log onto our server and sometimes get disconnected and try again. Now we just hop online from a tablet. It's about five times faster.”
Another huge time-saver, says Chris, is having all project information—including financial data—organized in one location that's accessible by everybody. “It's a big jump, especially for the field guys, to have that real time connection to the office and even to accounting. A subcontractor can put something in for billing, and the office team or field team can immediately look at it and approve it. It's solved a lot of issues and brought more clarity and transparency to projects.”
Lennar Multifamily's project teams are experiencing huge time-management savings over the course of multi-year projects with Procore helping to power their construction project management.