OE Construction is an excavation contractor in Golden, Colorado. We have fully embraced the use of Assignar as a field reporting tool and have found that the benefits of the platform extend to our clients, as well.
Like many contractors and subcontractors, OE Construction is required to provide reporting on the work that was accomplished each day, as well as additional documentation related to pre-task planning and safety. “There’s a litany of reports and pieces of information that we have to capture,” says Terri Olson, Owner/CFO, who’s been with the company since it started in 2006.
We started out doing reports on paper. “Doing it the paper-based way … is very time-consuming. And then you’ve got to figure out a way to get that information back and forth [to the office].” Using this method, we found that we weren’t getting the quality of information we needed.
“Many people were waiting until Friday to fill their timesheet out. And then they’d all huddle together and try to decide, ‘What were we doing on Tuesday? What were we doing on Thursday?’ We were losing real data,” Olson says.
We tried to fix the problem by implementing our own solution, taking an existing platform, and creating our own forms. Reports included daily job reports and equipment maintenance requests. However, after using it for four years, we found that the system wasn’t able to provide the depth of information we were ultimately looking for. “The robustness of the system just wasn’t there, but that was the extent of that particular piece of software and what we could get out of it,” Olson explains.
The buying process
OE began looking for another solution. Our top priorities were that the system was customizable and that there was local support. We don’t have a full-time IT department, which made the availability of support even more important. We also wanted the ability to provide feedback and have the software company listen to our concerns and help us address them head-on, so a local contact was key. “No one was listening to us and that’s a big deal. So, I felt, and I still feel like Assignar stepped up,” says Olson.
We began Assignar implementation and had a few tools and reports working by January 2020. “When COVID hit, now there’s a whole other layer of complexity and reporting and information flow.” We immediately developed a COVID questionnaire and had the form up and running within a few hours and pushed it out to all the field staff on their devices.
The flexibility of the platform allows employees to choose how they want to do their reporting, on a tablet or smartphone. Our previous system was only available on tablets. Now we’re able to share that information to whatever device is readily available and makes the most sense for each employee.
“Assignar is solution-oriented and if you’re solution-oriented, you’ll figure it out. You don’t walk away from problems, you don’t walk away from challenges, you’re all working towards this common goal.”
OE Construction has been able to quantify the savings we’ve realized by implementing Assignar. “We can prove that we have been able to save, just in the timesheet reporting alone, over $30,000 a year. And then you take that and add on all the other data that we’re collecting in the forms, and that translates to savings of $50,000 or $60,000 for a coordinator position, that we’re now able to accomplish with technology. These were immediate benefits we saw in the first year.”
“We can now take that same person that’s more of a coordinator and turn them into an estimator. Then we can put out additional proposals and bids. That’s how you grow a company,” Olson says.
Assignar provides “just in time data analysis.” The platform automatically pulls the information from the reports together and gives us a snapshot of where we’re at on our 15-20 active projects. “That’s part of what it’s brought us, is this ability to better monitor data, and get more readily available data.”
We’ve now added over 13 different forms that we utilize in the field to the platform. Everything can be completed using a phone or tablet, and all of the data is accessible from those platforms, as well. The information is now available online, “versus digging in your truck and trying to find a form.”
Assignar has also improved communication with the office and our clients. Some reports have to be submitted on a daily or weekly basis to the project owner, and we use the platform to expedite that submission. “Instead of gathering up pieces of paper and scanning them, we’re able to take the data and immediately communicate that back to the client.”
The improved communication extends to internal processes like equipment maintenance. “We have all of our equipment checklist forms automated. The data is going to maintenance as well. Every operator using the Assignar forms is checking off if there’s an error code or other maintenance issue. That data is really critical because it has to go to other departments to figure out if we need to do field service or what’s our next step in getting this problem resolved.”
Assignar is another tool in OE Construction’s toolbox. “Now we have better communication going on between the office and the field, and also our clients. We can offer that up as another tool to make their projects better.”
The future looks bright for OE Construction. “We hope to be around in 20 years. And I think we will continue to grow, as integrity and reputation are everything to us.”