He says Heavy Job allows a contractor to do “what if” scenarios on daily costs. Suppose a pipe-laying crew is not meeting budget. They decide they need another excavator, so they plug another crew scenario into Heavy Job. They could get maybe 25 percent more production for 15 percent higher costs, Okelberry says. Heavy Job will tell the project manager what the projected unit cost would be. “They would try it out the next day, or the next week, and see what difference the added excavator makes,” Okelberry says.
Does Heavy Job help Clyde make more money?
“We try to give projects the information they need every day about whether they’re meeting budget or not,” Okelberry says. “And we expect them to use that information to make decisions to improve.
“So I would say it helps us to either make more money than we might have, or to lose less,” he says. “If you can figure it out early then you can turn it around early. It may mean that you’re losing less money, but it’s a change for the better overall.”
He says Clyde uses a junior office/field engineer to make sure that the data entered into Heavy Job is accurate and put into the right cost codes. “We get a more accurate daily cost with fewer mistakes by having an engineer do that — a graduate engineer who’s been out of school, say, less than five years,” Okelberry says. “He or she is learning the job, learning project cost accounting; it’s a training ground.”
When that field engineer has made the comparison of costs to the budget, he gives that information to the foreman, the superintendent, and the project manager. “At every daily foremen’s meeting, where all the superintendents and foremen come together, that field engineer can hand them a report that says, ‘Here’s what your operations cost yesterday,’” Okelberry says.
Woodford says Trumbull’s job personnel report labor and equipment costs using laptops, desktop computers in the field office, or even from home computers. Any Internet connection will work, and the software is not Web-based. Instead, Trumbull people tie into a remote connectivity program called Citrix, and use it to gain access to the company’s servers.
“It can be a very poor Internet connection, but the guys can still connect from wherever because the processing isn’t happening back and forth across the Internet connection,” Woodford says. “It’s happening here in our office.”
He likes the uniformity of the Heavy Job reporting process. All jobs report costs the same way; before, they used spreadsheets that were different for every manager. And sometimes they were not properly set up.
W.W. Clyde also uses weekly job status reports to compare actual total costs to the budget. Those reports come from Viewpoint. They incorporate costs for materials, subcontractors, and other costs that are not counted daily. Plus, every month W.W. Clyde does a job cost projection that presents a detailed look at what the firm expects costs to be for the entire project. “If it’s projected to be over budget or under budget, then we claim profitability based on those projections,” Okelberry says.
Gorman Brothers Inc., a paving contractor based in Albany, N.Y., does business a little differently. Gorman performs approximately 600 projects per year and many of them last only a few days.
MORE FROM Featured Articles
- Obama signs memorandum to expedite infrastructure projects666 Views
- Florida’s Red Light Camera Game: G R E E N orange R E D392 Views
- Sydney uses water curtains to alert drivers to stop (VIDEO)389 Views
- Seattle tests bikes as disaster relief (VIDEO)330 Views
- FHWA deploys bridge-inspecting robots295 Views