When the Eclipse Company in Cleveland, Ohio, purchased HCSS HeavyJob to add to their suite of construction software, Vice President Tom Agresta was a bit skeptical.
The excavation contractor already had HeavyBid to help their estimators improve bidding efficiency and win more work, but they added HeavyJob job costing software to complete the cycle by helping the field meet the budgets from the estimate.
“I will be the first to admit that I didn’t think we’d see the ROI that we were shown during the sales cycle that quick,” Agresta said. “I felt it was pretty aggressive. However, we beat all the numbers they estimated, which was great.”
When the company is awarded a new job, Eclipse project managers copy the HeavyBid estimate and “conform” the estimate by turning all of the bid items and activities into cost codes that the field can understand and track. They then transmit it directly into HeavyJob, including any files, notes, and other details that the estimator used to compile the estimate.
“What’s great about it is the fact that if the estimator wasn’t able to be in the pre-construction meeting, we have all his thoughts basically in text,” Tom Agresta said. “Now we see whether they used custom calculators at bid time or notes or any correspondence they had with a vendor or a potential vendor. And having all that information now available to the foreman is basic transparency that they understand. He is able to look inside the mind of the estimator and understand what he was thinking. He can take those thoughts, put a process together to actually try to now out-produce even those thoughts, and that’s what affects our bottom line.”
Meeting the budget, or even out-producing the estimate, is what has helped Eclipse see an almost immediate return on investment in their HeavyJob software purchase.
Once the software was implemented and the field supervisors were shown how to use it, they were instantly able to enter time and production data and see where they’re in the black and where they need to improve at the end of each day.
“I think the most important thing is not that it’s helped us make money,” Agresta said. “What it does is it prevents us from spending too much money. It alerts us that when we have a problem on a job, because it’s real-time reporting. We know the next morning – or that afternoon – that we had a problem on a job, versus a traditional way of not understanding until 30 days later or the end of the job that you may be $10,000, $20,000, $100 thousand dollars going the wrong way against your bottom line.”
The implementation and adoption process also went more smoothly than expected.
Agresta said the foremen had heard rumors in the office that a big change was coming, and that the company would be essentially going paperless by switching to software on tablets.
“Any time you make a change, to foremen in particular, they’re not too receptive to it,” he said. “There were some rumblings, but within the first hour of implementation and showing them a few key components, the complaints were immediately gone. They realized immediately that we were there to save them time and that they were actually going to get the reporting they know we need and they need on a daily basis to make them better and us better.”
Agresta said the indicators that HeavyJob shows his crews about daily production and any potential concerns are the most impactful part of adding HeavyJob to their process.
HeavyJob will give alerts to any cost codes that aren’t matching the projected budget, allowing the foreman to adjust his crews or equipment or make any other changes to get back on track.
“When I open up our different dashboard reports, of course I want to see everything green, but my eyes immediately go to red, and that’s what we talk about each and every morning in our morning huddles,” he said. “‘Okay, we got a problem in the red. What’s the problem because we’ve got to get it to the green?’ Now, because of HeavyJob, we’re able to understand exactly where the problems are, and that’s what’s most important to me.”
HeavyJob allows crew leads to enter daily time and production data using an iPad or Android tablet and submit that data electronically to the office, eliminating the back and forth of paper time cards and the double entry in the office.
It also allows them to include notes for the day, take annotated photos, and all that information is stored electronically for easy access later.
“Our real time information – all the different aspects of the record keeping – it’s now always there,” Agresta said. “With paper, you’ve always got to go try to find it. Being able to access things back as far as we want and take different date ranges and analyze different things has been very beneficial for us. They can go back and take any of their stuff as far as past productions and see, ‘Why did things go so great on this particular day? Why’d things maybe not go so great on this particular day?’ And then they take that information, put it into a planner, and project the next task for the next day and, again, make us better.”
Agresta said the foremen know they’re being held to a higher standard and that each day – and every hour – counts on every job. And that helps them feel more confident in their role in the company and in getting the job done right.
“Knowing that we get the information in the office very quickly, they’re gonna get their answer that much quicker. Their frustration won’t have to grow over a day or two. The minute the information is in there, they can send it to the office through the manager system, and we can actually get on top of it. We can understand whether it’s an activity or it’s a cost code or there was a problem on the job, and we can actually get on it immediately and take some of the frustration out of their day as well.”
Agresta said before HeavyJob, Eclipse’s reporting was, at best, a week behind getting productions in the field. Paperwork would be turned into the office within a week if they were lucky, and then it had to be logged into different Excel sheets and other management systems to analyze costs.
At the same time, the accounting system was waiting on vendor invoices and other information to properly analyze the job against the budget, and it was typically a week before the company knew where the job stood.
With HeavyJob, the data is immediately available in the system and can be exported directly to Eclipse’s accounting software and the other programs they use to run their business.
“It’s about understanding where there is a problem and making sure it doesn’t happen again tomorrow,” Agresta said. “Now we know the next morning we had a problem the day before, and best case we actually will know that afternoon, by the time the time cards are in.”
HeavyJob allows The Eclipse Company to more easily understand their cash forecast by speeding up time and material changes or change orders on current projects.
Previously it could be cumbersome and time-consuming to write up and wait for replies or potential edits on paper T&M forms or change orders, taking up to 60 or 90 days.
“With HeavyJob’s Time and Material module, we can actually have the data submitted on a daily basis, have our costs loaded right in, and submit it right to the owner or our client,” Agresta said. “They’re able to sign for it right on our tablets now so that they have a signature and we have a signature. We email it to them immediately, pictures can be attached to it so that they have backup and documentation as well, and we take a 90-day process down to three or four days. Now it’s a positive effect on your cash forecast.”
Another benefit is the organization HeavyJob has given the company by not having to search through filing cabinets or boxes of old time cards and notes when they need to research something on a past job quickly. All the clutter is gone, and the information is easily searchable by key note, phrase, or date on the tablet or in the Manager system in the office.
“I can go right to it and find something in probably less than five minutes, versus traditionally, probably for the last hundreds of years, where it would take weeks to find it, if you can even find it at all.”
To learn more about how adding HeavyJob to your HeavyBid software process can help you build and bid more efficiently, contact the HCSS Sales team at 800-683-3196 or firstname.lastname@example.org.