Real Costs Vs. Budgeted Costs
Better Roads Staff
McKeon says that B2W Track creates the framework for one to enter field cost information. A foreman can collect, on a daily basis, the information that relates to job cost metrics. “Say that a subset of a large bid is grading,” says McKeon. “You can go into the field and enter in today’s labor, equipment, materials, subs, trucking – all costs related to grading – along with your production. By doing that with B2W Track, the foreman then has the ability, at the end of the day, to see how they performed against the estimates.”
A second benefit for B2W Track is that management can see live data for all of the work for which field logs have been created. “They are able to see across all of the work, which jobs and which parts of certain jobs are in trouble, the percentages of completion, how much money is left in the work, and so forth,” says McKeon. “So management gets instant feedback in terms of job cost analysis, not just for what happened today but for what has happened collectively on the jobs that are in process.”
McKeon says B2W’s solutions have digital dashboards that show summary information graphically on pie charts, bar charts, and other ways. “We have digital dashboards that allow managers to see the big picture first, then drill down to whatever level of finite detail they want to see,” says McKeon.
A third benefit of B2W Track is that once a foreman has entered labor time for a given job on that day, the information can be used for payroll by an office administrator. Labor hours are only entered once. No more do people fill out time cards to be typed manually in the office.
In May 2011, the company released B2W Dispatch, a scheduling program for workers and equipment. And B2W Maintain, a new module for managing equipment maintenance, is ready.
“With B2W Dispatch you schedule out where all of the crews and resources are going to go tomorrow, and the next day and so on,” says McKeon. “You plan for where the work is going to happen, which crews are going to work where, and you plan all of your equipment moves with a low bed.”
When B2W Maintain is complete, all three programs – Track, Dispatch and Maintain – will all work together as one unified operational solution. “Just assume somebody is using the Maintain module, which is designed to manage the process of repairing and maintaining all of your equipment,” says McKeon. “Let’s assume that a mechanic pulls a dozer out of the field for repair. The minute they pull that dozer out of action for repair, because it is all dynamically tied into an application, the person down the hall – who is using Dispatch – will know they cannot send that piece of equipment somewhere tomorrow because it is not available.”
McKeon says that the entire B2W operational suite is built on the latest Microsoft technology – the dot-net platform and the Microsoft SQL server. “So it is the most advanced, powerful, most scalable technology program that it can be on,” he says. “That is not the case with any other solution that we compete against.”
Paul Cianciarulo is the chief estimator at Pavex Construction Division of Graniterock, San Jose, Calif., and he says HCSS’s Heavy Bid greatly speeds up his estimating process. “Whereas before you might have 10 estimators, now you can do the same amount of estimating with five estimators,” says Cianciarulo.
He says the Heavy Bid program is very intuitive in its organization. “HCSS took a lot of time to work with professional estimators in developing the program, and they got it right,” says Cianciarulo.
He likes the Master Estimate feature of the program. With that, you set up a hypothetical project with standard crews and production rates, and then modify it to fit your specific project at hand. “You can very quickly get a job-specific estimate,” says Cianciarulo. “And it allows you to export information out to Excel, or you can export an estimate out to several different scheduling programs, such as Primavera.”
Pavex prepares well over 100 estimates every month, and the success rate varies. “Estimators would like to get 10 to 20 percent of the project estimates they turn in,” says Cianciarulo.
“If everything is in place, it takes probably less than 10 minutes to submit a bid.”
– Jesse McConnell, accounting manager, Dobson Brothers Construction
Milestone Contractors, a large Indianapolis-based heavy-highway contractor, has 110 supervisors reporting payroll for various crews, and runs 18 asphalt plants. Yet the company uses just four software vendors, says Curt Elliott, Information Systems Administrator. The four are:
• Viewpoint Construction Software for core accounting, project management, equipment management, plant material management and document management (scanning documents for archival records).
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