CASE STUDY: Resource planning in real time
What would you do with extra time? With so many businesses short on time, anything that can save time and simplify processes is treasured.
Compass Construction, located in Kirkland, Washington, just outside of Seattle, was established in 1988. The company specializes in delivering mixed-use, multi-family, and student housing and assisted living facilities in high density neighborhoods and urban settings.
And they do it well, as evidenced by the tremendous amount of repeat business (85% of their projects come from repeat clients). Earning repeat business and transitioning from one project to another require good organization and management of resources, including personnel.
This is where David Diltz, operations manager at Compass Construction, excels. Diltz, whose experience includes a stint in the military, integrated tech into the construction process at Compass, among other objectives.
Diltz believes a project is won and lost in the pre-construction process. He says, “I’m really passionate about scheduling, building, unique builds, site conditions, and subcontractor pools, but I get especially excited about getting that perfect schedule at the onset of the project.”
Besides being time consuming, determining a perfect schedule requires reinventing the wheel with each project. Diltz, however, wanted to come up with a repeatable process.
To organize and schedule personnel, Diltz used Microsoft Project, where he laid out jobs by personnel rather than tasks. Doing so was time consuming, eating up two to three hours per day before he even met with labor. Updating information was also tedious, taking up to 30 minutes for each change.
Yet, the biggest challenge that Diltz and Compass had with the software was obtaining feedback on documents. “We work with lots of documents. that are sent in PDF format,” says Diltz. “Getting the correct adjustments and disseminating the updates was tough.”
Finally, some users found Microsoft Project challenging to use. This made personnel meetings difficult.
Something had to change. Diltz and Compass turned to Bridgit Bench to help manage their workforce. The tool helps companies improve their bottom line by increasing efficiency and enabling seamless project planning and workforce management.
Bridgit Bench features centralized views of past, current, and future projects, which help users easily identify conflicts and open roles on projects to ensure staff is efficiently used. With real-time customizable dashboards, users can visualize the workload around each project and allocate staff for future start dates.
From the first time Diltz used the Bridgit Bench, he was taken by the cool dashboard and the simplicity of the user interface. Just as importantly, he was confident he could get others on board. “I knew I could show everyone how to use the tool,” says Diltz.
And Bridgit Bench, Diltz notes, “fits in extremely well” with Compass’ current suite of construction tech, and it has been embraced by the team. Its compatibility and acceptance are evidenced by the positive changes in the personnel meetings.
The length of personnel meetings has been cut nearly in half, yet they are more productive. “Before Bridgit Bench, everyone would leave personnel meetings exhausted because we were dealing with relatively fixed resources,” says Diltz. “Now, everyone is more engaged.” There has also been an increase in pre-meeting activity from the staff and a decrease in planning fatigue.
So, how exactly does Diltz use Bridgit Bench? Diltz is very focused on contract development and the pre-construction process, so he is the sole administrator on Bridgit Bench. Yet, he allows other members of the team to have some autonomy based on criteria he’s created. Ultimately, the tool has increased efficiencies for both those in the field and in the office.
One aspect of Brigit Bench that Diltz uses particularly often is the expanded GANTT view. The 12-month layout enables Diltz to easily compare schedules and adjust his workforce as needed.
Other custom fields that Diltz uses include the details section, which he finds helpful for storing contractual information. Of the notes section, another favorite, he says, “I use it often while creating estimates in pre-construction, making comments that pertain to contractual paperwork, and notetaking on performance or the potential need to replace an employee. It’s great for making subtle adjustments.”
Utilizing Bridgit Bench has had multiple positives for Compass and Diltz. It has eased resource dissemination and resource coordination and made future resourcing and workload management simpler and smoother. Because the tool is accessible via an app, it allows for quick adjustments in communication with clients
The system’s simplicity and ease of use has also given Diltz something invaluable: more time. And how does Diltz use the extra time? “I’m able to give more attention to administrative duties, conflict resolution, and everything else driven by the project life cycle.” He’s also able to dedicate more attention to perfecting the aggregate/repeatable process so his staff always know where they fit, what to look for, what milestones are on the horizon, and what’s important to accomplish now.
“Bridgit Bench is a simple, cost-effective way to align resources that every mid-sized GC can benefit from. It simplifies the work that often gets forgotten, is left to the last second, and falls on one or two people. It’s imperative to understand each department in order to be effective in resource planning,” says Diltz.
At Compass Construction, Brigit Bench is helping management use time and resources more effectively, leading to an improvement in the bottom line.
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