Case Study

W. L. French

W. L. French Consolidates to One System and Doubles Efficiency

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About W. L. French

W. L. French Excavating Corporation is a union site contractor and soil and waste management firm. Established in 1972, the family-owned specialty contractor provides a wide range of construction services including mass excavation, site remediation, heavy utility installation, contract trucking services, soil management, aggregate material supply, snow services, and more. In an effort to find a one-stop shop for all project information to ensure all collaborators were working off the most updated information, the team turned to Procore.

2x Boosted Efficiency

With more efficient processes, W. L. French can do at least two inspections in the time it would have taken to do one.

95% Increased Accountability

With Procore, 95% of paperwork is turned in properly and on time with automated workflows.

One Streamlined Solution

Instead of using three separate systems, the team consolidated project data into one comprehensive platform.

"As a subcontractor, having Procore is a huge benefit. To say that we use Procore, I know we are aligned with the best in the industry."

Jessica French Goyette
W. L. French Excavating Corporation

The Challenge

W. L. French Excavating Corporation was using three separate systems to manage project information, making it difficult to stay up-to-date with the most recent set of drawings and safety plans. Not to mention their software’s per-seat licensing model limited the number of collaborators—creating even more isolated information. They wanted to find a solution that would not only boost communication, but also track purchase orders, contracts, and other project details.

The Solution

Real-Time Updates

Teams could view, update, and share documents instantly, from any device— eliminating any confusion about which was the most recent set of drawings.

One Centralized Platform

Instead of having information scattered across different systems, W. L. French consolidated data into one platform resulting in increased efficiency, improved safety, and higher margins.

Unlimited User License Model

With Procore’s unlimited user license, W. L. French ensured collaborators had the information they needed at all times.

Construction works using a tablet with Procore on build site

The Story

As with most specialty contractors, W. L. French’s set of drawings were frequently changing. However, without a single repository for all project documents, it was cumbersome to find the most recent version. The team wanted to find a way to ensure all collaborators were working off the same documents. 

Vice President, Jessica French Goyette, says they had previous experience using Procore in their clients’ accounts. “When we understood how we could maintain updated plans and drawings and have changes updated immediately—rather than having somebody spend hours trying to delineate what the changes were—that in itself was a huge selling point for us.” 

The team began to research project management software and ended up deciding between three or four options. “Procore had the best reputation out of all the software we explored,” Goyette explains. “When we did our research, the return on investment was off the charts. It was something like 900% when the program is fully utilized. But even if we were only using 25%, the investment was going to pay for itself in short order. Now, after purchasing the software and as we use the product more and see what it can do, we’re more productive, more efficient, have less mistakes and less room for error. It’s just bringing out internal communication and processes to a higher level. It has also provided us many opportunities to improve our current processes.”

Excavation of a construction site

Easy to Use, Easy to Adopt

During implementation, Procore’s intuitive and user-friendly interface made it easy to use, which was especially welcomed by the field team. After implementing Procore they became more engaged, proactively inputting information in the platform. They especially liked the Drawings Tool which helped ensure the foreman, project manager, and the rest of the field team were all working off the most recent set of drawings. 

Goyette recalls, “The drawings change so frequently. With Procore, we know we are all on the same version—the latest version—and what changes have been made to the plans. That in itself could cover someone’s salary. That ROI right there alone paid for the software.” 

The team also used Procore to ensure commitments were getting signed and executed completely. Leveraging the DocuSign integration, they were able to send, receive, review, and return signed documents and contracts online—all within Procore.

Goyette says, “The DocuSign integration was seamless. After sending out our purchase orders or subcontractor work orders, we now know if they’re in a pending status and whose signature we are waiting on. It is saving a significant amount of time. Instead of emailing, printing, signing, scanning, and emailing it back—the documents are sent off through DocuSign. The entire process has been simplified, to the point that people can execute documents from their phone. It’s a massive time saver, hugely efficient, and there’s traceability in tracking documents in place that was not there before.” 

In addition to having a record of signed documents, W. L. French was also able to track items using Procore’s Photos Tool. Instead of having photos stored on individual devices, teams had access to all photos in one location. In doing so, they had an internal history of what was installed and proof of completed work for the general contractor. 

Having robust documentation not only helped mitigate risk and liability, it also bolstered the business’s reputation for high standards of quality and safety. “We put our pre-excavation checklists and job hazard analysis—which were in our previous software—into Procore,” Goyette explains. “Our inspections of our projects and our equipment can be easily provided to our clients or our GCs with a click of a button. There is a level of comfort knowing we have these capabilities to share our information in real time. It speaks volumes about our efficiencies and how we can bring those efficiencies to our projects.” 

She adds, “Clients as well as subcontractors are impressed by Procore and the capabilities that come along with it. It lends itself to building our company’s brand and credibility.”

Construction workers meeting together on build site

Reinforcing the Highest Standards of Quality and Safety

With Procore’s unlimited user license model, Safety Director Tim Hunt says that it has helped improve their existing quality and safety programs. “We’re able to assign negative observations on our inspections to people, and they are able to follow up, which we weren’t able to do before because we didn’t have licensing for everybody. Procore has given us better accountability for negative observations in the field. Everyone, including our subcontractors have access. There has been a demonstrated decrease in at-risk observations,” says Hunt.

Plus, he says, having unlimited users ensures full collaboration and communication across teams. Before Procore, only he and another team member had software licenses, which meant they couldn’t send a daily inspections report. He recalls, “We had to email the actual inspections, and that got tedious. Now we just have an auto report generated at the end of the day that says, ‘Here’s the inspection we did.’ Someone can click on it and look at the full inspection. It has really helped us communicate safety throughout the company a lot faster and a lot more thoroughly.”

Hunt says now they have all safety plans in Procore which users can view at any time, from any device. He says, “We have actually put up a lot of reference documentation. Everyone can access information on the fly which is really helpful. When we’re doing our inspections, we go back and forth between the forms and our inspection, and we don’t get logged out. It’s very easy to switch between screens, so that helps us when we’re doing our inspections on the paperwork side as well.” Procore’s Forms Tool has also relieved paperwork pains. Hunt estimates that before, about 75% of paperwork was properly turned in on time. Now, Procore has pushed that to about 95%. Additionally, his team is able to do at least two inspections in the time it would have taken to do one before.

With more streamlined processes, they have become more productive, giving them more time to focus on the work that matters the most. “Procore is invaluable. So far, we have saved at least the salary of a single person,” Goyette says, noting that by using Procore at its fullest capacity, they could save close to $900,000 a year. “We have reduced risk exposure in multiple areas. We have reduced risk and exposure by ensuring my field staff is not installing a utility that was moved or taken off the plans. We have reduced and reduced; it goes on and on.”

She adds, “We have also increased productivity, improved communication between departments, and improved processes. I would highly recommend Procore to contractors, subcontractors, and second tier subs. As is the case with any purchase and implementation of software, you have to invest the time to get it up and running. It is an investment of time but if you are committed to doing what it takes, the benefits are well worth it. The process is not that difficult once you have allocated the time to implement it.”

"Procore is a single solution for us. We’re going to continue toward utilizing it to its fullest capacity because the benefits are tremendous."

Jessica French Goyette
W. L. French Excavating Corporation

Procore for Specialty Contractors

Ultimately, Procore has given W. L. French a one-stop shop for all project needs, from ensuring safety on the jobsite to keeping everyone working off the most upto-date documents.

Goyette says, “We are constantly pulling back the layers on how many things Procore can do—every week, every month. In the beginning it was like an iceberg, and as time goes on we can see more of the possibilities for continued improvement and how we can utilize and benefit from it.”

But having a best-in-class platform that also offers key integrations, from accounting to scheduling, has proved invaluable. “Procore is a single solution for us. It integrates with SmartBid, it integrates with DocuSign, and integrates with our accounting system, Foundation for Construction. We’re going to continue toward utilizing it to its fullest capacity because the benefits are tremendous,” says Goyette.

Tremendous, she says, especially for specialty contractors. She says, “As a subcontractor, having Procore is a huge benefit. To say that I have Procore, I know we are aligned with the best in the industry, and I know that it’s only going to continue to get better. The world of technology is constantly changing. I know that the product is going to continue to evolve. They are rolling out new modules and new developments on a regular basis. As a subcontractor, it has been a great investment.”

But for Goyette, the benefits extend beyond that; it’s a platform that supports everyone and every trade. “It’s a tool for every component of the construction industry. Everybody can utilize it—the GCs, the subs, the owners. It works for everyone, and there’s an abundance of tools and other incredible benefits that subcontractors can utilize,” she says. “A project that is utilizing Procore is a job equipped with the tools and potential to be a better managed project than a job without it—no matter who you are on the job or what level you may be.”