In today’s world, consistency isn’t always considered exciting. The predictability of having everything work the same way every time might seem mundane. However, in the construction industry, maintaining uniformity in operations, processes, and schedules is a key factor in achieving excellence.
Rodgers Builders, recognized as one of the nation’s top contractors, has been an early adopter of new technology in the industry and is constantly seeking ways to work smarter to provide their clients with the best possible product. Part of doing so is what led Rodgers to seek out scheduling solutions that would keep them ahead of deadlines and their competition.
Josh Schlechty, senior vice president and regional general superintendent at Rodgers, explains, “We wanted to ensure that our project teams followed a consistent approach when creating and updating schedules. While our in-house experts and consultants were proficient, there were varying skill levels among people working with the schedules.”
Rodgers is known for completing projects on time, with their teams going above and beyond to ensure deadlines are met. This level of commitment often requires adjusting the schedule frequently and identifying projects that require more time than initially allocated. Schlechty and his team began searching for a solution to address this challenge. That’s when they discovered SmartPM, a leading project-data analysis tool. Before committing, they rigorously evaluated the product. Schlechty recalls, “We put SmartPM to the test by having them analyze an 18-month project we had just completed. The analysis aligned perfectly with the project’s progress, and in December 2020, we decided to partner with SmartPM.”
FIVE LEADS TO 10
Initially, Rodgers started with five project slots but quickly expanded to 10, reflecting their diverse customer base. These projects encompassed a diverse portfolio of structures, ranging from football stadiums and high schools to parking garages. Project teams became the primary users, including project managers, superintendents, assistant superintendents, and system project managers.
One of SmartPM’s key features that Rodgers quickly embraced was the Quality Checker. The quality checker scores the initial schedule and provides a grade. These grades led to Rodgers “recognizing the need for improvement, fostering healthy competition among team members,” says Schlechty. While the initial grade applies exclusively to the initial schedule, Rodgers’ project teams delve deeper into SmartPM’s extensive array of performance analytics, graphs, and trends. The platform empowers them to gain a comprehensive understanding of schedule performance, encompassing subcontractor performance, compression, float, and various other critical areas.
Schlechty emphasizes, “Our teams now have the capacity to delve beyond mere schedule deviations. They can take comprehensive dives into data, facilitating a more profound comprehension of schedule performance and enabling proactive decision-making. For example, there are various popups in the program that explain why a certain item was a negative. That’s the kind of ‘beneath the surface’ perspective we want our teams to have.”
As project teams grow more comfortable with the platform, they proactively initiate discussions about schedules, promoting productive dialogue. C-suite executives also benefit significantly from SmartPM’s insights. The platform provides real-time project and schedule overviews, eliminating the need for time-consuming micromanagement.
Schlechty stresses the importance of maintaining a balanced approach, assuring team members that SmartPM isn’t used as a tool for unwarranted scrutiny. Instead, it’s meant to initiate meaningful conversations. While it’s too early to quantify the financial return, Schlechty acknowledges the value of SmartPM. It streamlines schedule logic validation, reducing the need for executives to micromanage teams. The goal is to use SmartPM to identify opportunities to minimize overtime and weekend work. “You can look at the SmartPM dashboard and get a solid understanding of the project and the schedule with just a quick, five-minute review,” says Schlechty. “It’s made a huge difference.”
To accommodate their diverse vertical markets, Rodgers Builders customized the Quality Checker. This initiative has been particularly beneficial for campus projects characterized by multiple buildings and intricate construction timelines. They plan to create exclusive profiles for healthcare, higher education, and other sectors based on the success of this approach.
Looking ahead, Schlechty envisions a future where their clients might also use SmartPM. In that scenario, Rodgers aims to be the foremost expert, ensuring they make the best use of the data. “Many of our clients—some working directly with their GCs—are now asking their contractors to submit a schedule from a previously completed job to look at the quality,” says Schlechty. With SmartPM, Rodgers can confidently explain their schedules to owners, aligning expectations and helping them prepare for success.
Alongside SmartPM, Rodgers has reached a new level of consistency and efficiency in their scheduling, setting the stage for even greater success in the future.
For More Information:
For more about SmartPM, visit smartpmtech.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, January 2024
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