Utility Contractor

JUL-AUG 2018

As the official magazine of NUCA, Utility Contractor presents the latest information affecting every aspect of the utility construction industry, including technological advancements, safety issues, legislative developments and instructional advice.

Issue link: http://digital.utilitycontractoronline.com/i/1002275

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Page 20 of 43

July/August 2018 | Utility Contractor 21 " We need technology to attract the younger, tech-savvy employees to grow the workforce industry-wide. Young people don't want to work in the dark ages. " -Brandie Meisner from the field to the shop presented a significant challenge," Meisner recalls. "B2W Maintain appeared to be an excellent so- lution. We also realized immediately that B2W Track, a more robust field tracking application than the one we were using at the time, would allow us to fully leverage Maintain in the field." Considering B2W Estimate to round out the solutions suite was next. "We were generally satisfied with our estimating soft- ware, but the deficiencies became more apparent as we saw what B2W Estimate offered, and the value of a unified approach," Meisner says. M&M saw a drop in responsiveness when its previous estimating software provider was acquired by a larger, accounting-focused company, and Meisner sensed that the sup- plier was moving away from its focus on the specialized needs of heavy construction contractors. M&M was founded in the early 1970s, prior to wide-spread computing. "We were, of course, a pen and paper kind of com- pany for years," Meisner says, recalling a "dreaded, day-long Monday ritual" with two or three employees tracking down and entering field and payroll data manually into the Foundation ac- counting system. The smooth integration between B2W and Foundation was an essential requirement for M&M, and has made that Monday data-entry scramble a thing of the past. Data now flows directly, with only minor validation required. "We're gaining so much time, and the foremen are taking more ownership of the process while gaining a greater appreciation for what goes into job costing and accounting," she adds. Outside of the office, B2W Track and Estimate together provide those M&M foremen and field crews with complete visibility into their daily work items, as well as other areas of the company. "The process of communication between the field and office, and field and shop, is so critically important, but can be so easily broken because everyone is doing their respective work," Meis- ner explains. "The B2W platform is a facilitator: it provides the technology and communication tools to help us work together as a team." Equipment maintenance software presented a unique chal- lenge for Meisner's father, Mark Nowicki, who founded M&M Excavating with his brother, Matthew. A mechanic by trade, No- wicki makes keeping the fleet in top condition a personal mis- sion. His own expertise guided the initial maintenance program, which was supplemented by meter readings collected every Monday and entered manually into spreadsheets. Meisner says B2W Maintain is allowing a smooth transition toward a more automated and systematic solution to help the next generation manage a growing fleet. "Maintain, along with Track and Estimate, were a big step for us," Meisner says. "People, with the help of equipment, make our company successful, but we realize there is no way we can be competitive without software to optimize both. Implement- ing this technology allows us to easily collect data and collabo- rate on the routine items, the day-to-day work; it also affords us the resources needed to identify and overcome the inevitable challenges that arise. "B2W focuses on our industry and has the full range of ancil- lary products to solve our problems. The buy-in from our crews and personnel has been great, because the platform of software tools allows them to see the bigger picture. Crews are able to see how each task and jobsite fits into the overall puzzle." Additionally, using state-of-the-art digital solutions can help construction companies attract and retain top-notch talent. "We need technology to attract the younger, tech-savvy em- ployees to grow the workforce industry-wide," Meisner says. "Young people don't want to work in the dark ages. They've lived with technology all of their lives; it's an inherent part of nearly every interaction in their day. We can't expect to hand them a piece of paper and a pen when they come to work for a construc- tion company." Her advice to anyone on the fence about software adoption and B2W? "Put in the time on the front end, align your pro- cesses, and it's absolutely worth it." This article was submitted by B2W Software.

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