Known for undertaking large, complex projects, Turner Construction Company fosters innovation and embraces emerging technologies. With 46 offices throughout North America and in 18 countries, the construction management services company offers clients the accessibility and support of a local firm with the stability and resources of a multinational organization.
Based out of the San Diego office of Turner, the Otay-Tijuana Cross Border Facility project team was looking for one innovative construction management solution to streamline engineering processes, eliminate large email transactions, easily share information with field staff, and increase the collaboration between internal and external project team members.
Procore allows all team members—including owners, the lending group, architects, engineers, and subcontractors—to access and immediately share project data and documentation, eliminating the need for time-consuming document-transfer tasks. What is more, Procore's mobile apps ensure information sharing can take place anywhere.
"We no longer have to spend time pushing documents around, so we can focus more on our work. We're more efficient, our clients are happier, and our morale has improved in ways it couldn't before."
There is no longer a need for rows of filing cabinets in the jobsite office, and employees couldn't be happier. "Everything is stored online. We don't need to keep hard copies of anything—and that's a good thing," says Cicero Rodriguez, a project engineer.
"In the past, our time was gobbled up by the process of getting everything into 'the system'," says Rodriguez. Engineers felt that they were spending too much time at the office processing documents and not enough time in the field.
Through a simple switch in project management software, the small team of construction professionals has gone from paper-pushing to paperless. The team is now more productive than ever, saving an exponential amount of money in printing costs and spending more time outside of the office, resolving issues.
On previous projects, one software program was used for project management, including requests for information (RFIs) and submittals, and another was required to store documents and drawings. More often than not, external partners could not access those programs, so Turner staff needed to use yet another software solution to share documentation with project owners, architects, and subcontractors. Using separate software platforms meant team members had to spend significant amounts of time downloading large files from one system and then uploading them into another. Touching the same information several times led to inefficiencies and, at times, incorrect information being sent to the field.
"Our previous project management software worked well as a glorified file cabinet, but it was not so good at sharing data," explains Jason Falco, a project manager with Turner. "The collaboration component of the software was very difficult to set up."
Because the previous project management software charged licensing fees for each user, it was too expensive to grant access to project owners, architects, subcontractors, and even some internal team members. "When the number of users is limited, the project team is not able to share information efficiently and truly collaborate," says Falco.
Two years ago, the Turner team at the Otay-Tijuana Cross Border Facility project began visiting other projects to learn which project management systems were being used, searching for a better solution. "We needed a software platform that would allow us to complete all of our project management activities in one tool, and also fix our collaboration issues," says Falco. After several visits and a couple weeks of research, the project team was introduced to Procore, and a demonstration was arranged.
It took less than three weeks to deploy the Procore software and train staff. Viry Martino, a project engineer, credits the software provider's training program for getting everyone on board so quickly.
"Our account manager created a 'sandbox' project in Procore so we could play around with the program and get to know the system without affecting our real projects," says Martino. "We tested the workflow by sending emails through the software and receiving notifications. We were also able to see how our external project partners, with different permission levels, would see project data.
"It was very helpful, and we've used that sandbox project to show off Procore to other Turner projects interested in using the software," she says. As a result, a number of them have taken the lessons learned from the Otay-Tijuana Cross Border Facility team, and implemented Procore on their projects with great success.
Getting field staff and external partners to use Procore turned out to be surprisingly simple. And, after becoming users, many became champions of the platform.
"Our senior superintendent had a bad experience in the past trying to use mobile project management applications in the field. After we showed him how easy it was to use the tool for his Daily Reports, he liked it so much that he began convincing all the other field tradesmen to use it," says Falco. When Martino adds a user to the system—which she says takes about 30 seconds—the superintendent performs a quick demo on a smart device. By the time team members have user accounts in the software, they already know how to use the Daily Log function, which includes photo and voice-to-text features so they can record issues in real time while walking a jobsite.
Now, since staff members no longer have to spend time pushing documents around, they can focus more on their work. "Overall, we're more efficient, our clients are happier, and our morale has improved in ways it couldn't before because we were never able to catch up with the paperwork," says Martino.
By solving the project team's initial challenges, Procore has proven to be the "way to go" and has become the foundation of the team's strong culture of collaboration. It wouldn't be far-fetched to say that their only paper-related challenge now is what to do with all those empty filing cabinets!