ENR magazine - May 23, 2016
With margin and competitive pressures intensifying, heavy civil contractors are stepping up from spreadsheets to specialized software applications. Paul McKeon, CEO at B2W Software, says establishing a unified platform is the best way to optimize collaboration, workflow efficiency and business intelligence.
“The time and effort that a construction company spends trying to integrate disparate software applications and to make them talk to each other can virtually offset the benefits of the individual applications,” McKeon cautions. “Prospective clients also tell us that they are frustrated by redundancy and inaccuracy that are inevitable when they have to enter and maintain data like employee, job and equipment lists in separate, siloed databases for each application.”
McKeon says independent software applications limit cross-functional collaboration and the mining of enterprise data, capabilities he says, that are increasingly vital to profitability. In response, his team developed a unique approach called the ONE (Operational Networked Elements) Platform. The key concepts are networked B2W applications, or elements, and unified data that flow logically and is shared across the applications in real time through a single SQL operations database.
An example, McKeon explains, is a unified equipment database that allows repair requests made on the job site using B2W’s field tracking application to go directly to mechanics using B2W’s equipment maintenance application. “The B2W scheduling software is also unified. The scheduling, field, maintenance and management teams can all see the status of that piece of equipment in real time and make adjustments accordingly,” he adds.
Michigan based bridge and heavy civil construction specialist C.A. Hull is one of the companies running all of the B2W applications. Vice president Dave Turner says B2W Estimate has standardized the estimating process, while the single operational database supporting B2W Track, Maintain and Dispatch adds accuracy, efficiency and real-time visibility.