Stilwell Construction needed to move away from a paper-based document management system. Manually filed paperwork led to lost receipts and difficulty finding subcontractors' contact information.
Procore's Contract and Change Management Tool has improved receipt and change order tracking and contact information is now maintained using Procore's Directory Tool, incorporating customized notifications for project progress.
Terri Ross, Office Manager
Stilwell Construction began using Procore in February 2014. "It was a godsend," said Terri Ross, Office Manager at Stilwell Construction. "Before, we only had an accounting system. We didn't really have a project management program."
The company learned about Procore from a civil engineer. Tom Stilwell, Owner of Stilwell Construction, visited the engineer's office and inquired about the project management software they had adopted. After a quick crash course on Procore, Stilwell decided that it was the optimal solution for their company.
"It's slowly but surely making our lives easier," Terri remarked. "We did a job for California Baptist University with an 88-unit apartment complex that we converted into student housing. Needless to say, the change orders were just unbelievable. We ran everything through the PCO program in Procore. It made it so easy. As soon as we got quotes or bills from people, we'd put it in there."
Stilwell now tracks all change orders directly with Procore, and the staff no longer has to search for receipts. "It makes life easier for me because I don't have 80,000 pieces of paper sitting on my desk. We can simply download and print them. Things grow legs on jobs around offices. You think, 'I have this receipt. It's sitting on my desk. But, where did it go?' We instantly scan it, put it in the system and it's there. It's tucked away nice and neat so you don't have to go looking for it later on. That's really simplified the workload."
Before adopting Procore, the company sorted through documents manually using filing cabinets. "I would give it to the boss and say, 'Is this a change order or is it part of their contract?' We'd put it in the possible pending change order folder. As we got ready to do change orders, we'd go through the folder and document what we were going to bill the owner. It was all just paper. Now, everything's in Procore. That's my new favorite saying: It's in Procore."
"One of my superintendents called me today and said, 'I don't have the civil engineer's phone number.' I said, 'Do you have your iPad?' He asks, 'Is it in Procore?' I said, 'What do you think?' I used to have to hand out typed contact sheets with the job site, owner, and permit number. As we added subs, I'd have to update it and print it out again. Every time it came to updating it, I would have to use more paper—I was killing trees left and right. Now it's all just tracked in Procore. I don't have to waste any more paper."
According to Terri, Procore saves time by reducing the potential for error. "As soon as I get a bill, I make a copy of it and stick it in Procore, and superintendents can easily attach pictures to change orders using Procore's mobile apps for smartphones and tablets. We make this running list and I know it's safe and sound in Procore," she said.
"I can take a picture with it and send it to an owner or an architect and ask, 'What do you want me to do with this?' or 'Look what we found in the ceiling.' We do that all the time and it goes to them immediately. You don't have to go back to the office. You don't have to sit at your computer and do something with it. It saves time, it saves money."
"We sent something to the architect and the architect said, 'That's not what the original drawing said it was supposed to look like.' We had everybody looking at it in 10 minutes. Everybody had a picture of it. We got it handled within 24 hours and created an RFI with pictures. If we had had to do that before Procore it would have taken triple the time."
Terri explained that Procore works in combination with Stilwell's accounting software. "We use my accounting program to set aside a group of numbers for PCOs. It works well with Procore and has made life so much easier. I code the payroll off to different phase codes and then it matches our PCO list. It's been phenomenal."
"It really helps keep the projects in line if you don't have a full-time accounting person. Procore makes it so that you don't have to be strapped to your office. You could be a one-man show, since you have everything right at your fingertips. That alone makes Procore invaluable."
Financially, Terri said that Stilwell has made up for its investment two to three times over. Employees save money by staying on schedule using Procore's notifications. "You don't have to search through the system. It says, immediately upon logging in, 'Pay attention! You were supposed to do this today.'"
Terri believes that instantly accessible project data with an iPad saves Stilwell ten hours per week. "We're demoing a shopping center and have two structural engineers because there are two different entities involved. The city is involved and we have go back almost 30 years to look at old drawings. But they're uploading drawings to us with Procore so everyone's on the same page. That right there has been priceless."
She continued, "Procore has probably moved this job along a good month in advance of where it would have been if we didn't have it. Nobody has to wait for anything. It's been phenomenal."
"Don't ever take Procore away from me. I will cry," said Terri. "Procore is 100% worth the investment. It's good whether you're big or small. I love that you can walk out of the office, look at your smartphone or tablet, and have all the data you need immediately in the palm of your hand. Instead of having Dropbox or another system that requires a lot of back and forth, all the information is in one spot."
Stilwell has seen success in using Procore as a selling point during the bidding process. For owners, having complete portfolio visibility makes it easier to gauge the health of their projects and forecast when they'll be able to open the doors.
"When my boss goes in to sit down with a potential owner he can bring his iPad, hold it up and say, ‘Here's one of our jobs. This is exactly the kind of quality you can expect when working with us," says Terri. "It's definitely an added benefit."
Above all else, Stilwell values their long relationships and deep ties to the community in Riverside, CA. For them, being able to establish unique relationships with their loyal clients is the key to retaining future business.
Terri boasts, "On our most recent build, the owners of a church exported pictures from Procore and created a video to display during the grand unveiling. They were able to show what the old building looked like, the demolition process, project milestones, and even the workers who put their time and effort into the building."
"They loved it. They even invited the subcontractors to come and dedicate the church. Because of the way the economy has been, people are a lot more emotionally invested in what they build. So with Procore, they get to see everyday progress."
In the beginning, Procore's user-centric software made it easy for the Stilwell team to easily adapt to new processes. Even the technology-averse–who originally thought it was easier to send a handwritten note by fax than to navigate a mobile device–got on board. After the past two years, Terri is still happy to say that bringing on new teams is an easy process.
"I think once a lot of people realize how easy Procore is to use, they feel comfortable with the workflow. Now they don't see documentation as a burden or a difficult process. Our teams are happy as clams."
As the office manager, Terri used to play intermediary for field teams and remote vendors. Now, Procore's Photos Tool is empowering collaborators to keep teams in the loop on her behalf.
"Right now we are working with a designer that isn't local. If we run into a dimension issue, Procore makes it easy to see where the problem originates. All we have to do is have someone on site take a picture, upload it to the drawings, and then she has everything that she needs."
Relieved, Terri says "If there's a problem, I don't have to go searching for an answer. I can say, ‘Here's everything you need. Run with it.' Especially when they're in the field and I'm not."
"As we grow we don't always have the luxury of getting everybody in the same room. So being able to have Procore pulled up and say ‘Here, look at this. This is what we ran into today', it keeps people connected" said Terri. "Whether it's an inspector, owner, or even the finance department I like the fact that we can all be on the same page."
Having more hands contributing to the process makes information readily available. So if someone is overwhelmed with work, another team member can step in and contribute to moving the project forward.