Mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) contractors are discovering the value of connecting everything from design and fabrication to office and field operations through cloud-based, construction-specific project management solutions.
We caught up recently with Melissa Goodwin, a project manager with United HVAC in Rockland, Mass., on how ProjectSight has helped the sheet metal design-build-install company more efficiently manage its growth.
Q. What led you to go with ProjectSight?
A. We had some very antiquated processes and systems previously – a lot of paper, a lot of phone calls, emails, text messages – a lot of miscommunication.
And then as we began to experience some accelerated growth in the last few years, that caused a lot of growing pains and we needed to find ways to do things faster and better.
We also need to be able to bring on and train new people on a system that makes sense. So one of the main reasons we selected ProjectSight was to improve communication between the office and the field and eliminate those paper processes and make the jobs flow more efficiently. And I think we've accomplished that.
Q. How has it improved your day-to-day work?
A. What's improved the most is working with our vendors on submittals: being able to manage different versions and the back and forth between the subcontractor and the general contractor to get the submittals to go through—so that our coordination team can get their work done on modeling and getting their drawings out to the field.
I've also noticed that there's been a huge improvement in being able to identify mistakes before they happen because you're able to get that full, instant insight to your data so you can identify any RFIs on the drawings or any clashes early on.
You can communicate and address them before you get so far down the road with a project where it really becomes very costly. So I think that is a huge advantage of using ProjectSight.
Q. How does ProjectSight fit in with your workflows?
So from start to finish, the office can communicate with the field in real time.
It's working fantastic for us because, whether you're in the office, the field, the shop, or you're designing and building the models internally, you have that view into your project status.
And now it also empowers our field workers to be part of the conversation and the process of delivering quality products to our customers, which is really at the end of the day what we all want. So from the field, they're able to view the model right from their iPad, they can mark it up, they can create their spools and send it back to the office for fabrication and delivery.
We're also now able to also track that, which is huge because then we know where a project is instead of having to make phone calls or look up data on a server or dig through a bunch of emails. It’s really improved the overall process by having that connected workflow across all aspects of our operation.
Q. What is an example of a project you are using ProjectSight on?
A. Currently we’re doing a tenant fit-out project in Boston, and we've been using ProjectSight to manage everything – the drawings, the submittals, purchase orders, you name it.
The project managers enter their purchase orders and change orders, they work with their vendors on their submittals, and everything's right there in ProjectSight. It's real-time, it's instantaneous, so you can instantly communicate with your partners or your team members the data that they need in order to get their job done.
Our VDC department is using it to review the drawings in identifying clashes, give progress, and we're really able to see through all phases of the project from the time we bid the job and get the work to the time the project kicks off through coordination, modeling, going down to the shop for building the product and fabrication, and right out to the field for install.
Throughout that process, every step of the way, the communications are instant and there's no question as to where any issues with the project are.
Everybody's on the same page: regardless of whether they're in the office or in the field, they have instant access to the data they need to make decisions and get the job done efficiently.
In addition to everything I’ve talked about, I would recommend ProjectSight because it brings everything into the cloud. It gives you instant access and the ability to communicate across your organization in real-time to be so much more productive with so much more visibility.
On top of that, ProjectSight gives you the ability to track all the data on a project so that you can go back and compare projects, use it to do better on your next project, or to help out with a project in another area that may have an issue.
I think that's really valuable and has helped make us be much more successful.