The Porter Company needed a system to manage workflows and standardize processes. They needed the ability to centralize and distribute documents from the field and the office to nearly 100 people.
Procore's Document Management Tool gives The Porter Co. the power to collaborate as a team on a cloud-based platform with an unlimited number of contributors.
"The shorter communication time is probably the biggest piece of savings."
Kyle Smith, LEED AP
The Porter Company
Working with the people at Procore, Porter successfully beta-tested the software on a project at the JW Marriot hotel in downtown Austin for about six months. It was going so well that Porter rolled it out for the rest of the company. They now use Procore for all their projects ranging from two million dollars to thirty million dollars.
We asked Kyle, a manager with the The Porter Company, to explain why Procore is working so well for them, and to compare Procore with the old way of doing things.
"It's a universal platform that standardizes a lot of our workflow. We do a lot of documentation in terms of RFIs and submittals. So that's now a standardized process: how that information gets entered, distributed, and relayed to our various groups within the company. It's also a central place for our folks to get ahold of the documents they need - being a specialty contractor, we've got folks in the office, but also some on the job site, in our fabrication facilities, and so on. So it helps us standardize how we store, gather, and distribute that information."
Before Procore, Porter employees had to use different servers for document storage. Each department had a scratch pad and its own server. They would transfer data, information requests, and job-related submittals by email or FTP, track it all on Excel sheets, and update them at random intervals among the different departments. According to Kyle, "It was just tedious before Procore."
"Now it's a more real time process because everybody's got access to Procore. They go online, they get the information they need. It's current value, nothing but the correct piece. There's no question of how it has been updated, or if it's the latest file version, et cetera."
Before adopting Procore, Porter did take a look at three or four of the alternatives out there - such as Prolog Manager, and the Vista-era Viewpoint - but they chose Procore because it was simple, purely cloud based, and easy to use.
"Our employees have varying levels of computer savvy, from field guys to CAD detailers. So, being able to quickly get somebody on board and let them know how to use the product and get moving with it was a big piece for us. The guys in the field like it because it's pretty intuitive. For things like knowing where to get current RFIs and current submittals, or tracking delivery dates and on-site rental equipment delivery dates, they've all quickly adapted to where to go find that information."
Kyle also approves of the fact that Procore allows many seats at the table. Porter has close to 100 people using Procore for a flat fee that covers external users outside of the Porter team, so Porter doesn't worry about paying for each one and tracking those costs.
"That's part of what sold us on Procore, just the flat-fee structure. Some out there are cheaper up front, but there's other infrastructure costs. We didn't want to spend a lot of money on servers. We didn't want to go put infrastructure around it and then buy the software. The ability just to flip a switch, turn it on, roll it out, and be able to add projects and people as you need them was a huge benefit."
We asked Kyle to tell us more about which Procore features Porter's employees use daily.
"The RFIs and submittals are the biggest piece. The document-storage function is another, for storing various shop drawings, various stuff that we transmit internally between our different groups. The drawing feature has been well adopted. We use the schedule on some projects, not all, depending on size. We also set up another log that tracks delivery dates and when different pieces and components are coming onto the job site."
Kyle also told us Procore saves time for his company.
"The prime savings come from how quick and easy it is to get information in and out of the system. Prior to Procore, we were using several folks to update logs and make sure stuff got distributed, and there were always numerous phone calls back and forth, just looking for information. Now that we've run a few projects through Procore, everybody knows where to go to get each piece of information. The shorter communication time is probably the biggest piece of savings."
Porter employees mainly use a desktop platform to run Procore, says Kyle. "Although we've got a few iPads that we use in the field with Procore as a kind of punch-list tool and for other things, it's primarily used on the desktop."
For other managers like himself, Kyle sums up the ways Procore has helped him.
"Procore is more consistent and easy to use compared to the other options out there. Procore is a lot more logical, transparent, and fast. We've all got a ton of information we have to track and a myriad of ways to use it. It's the best for streamlining the process. Everybody picks up how to use it pretty quick. And external users have access, which is not always the case with other applications. Don't forget that advantage: we've got flexible contractors that want to look at our equipment, so they need to get on Procore. There's just a simple login, they can take all the information they need, and we're not having to piece out stuff to give to them."
"You know, somewhere in the majority of people like me, 80 or 90 percent of us, are just still using the old Excel-based stuff, just not knowing there's something like Procore for the subcontractor community. You should avoid buying a software suite made for general contractors, because there's maybe just one or two modules in it that subcontractors use. It's a waste of your money to go buy a product that's got 80 options and you use two of them. Just understand that what you need is something like Procore, which can be scaled to the size of your subcontracting operations and needs. If you do, you're going to get a great rep for having an efficient, up-to-date business, and you're going to get great feedback from your general contractor customers."