PORTSMOUTH -- A local company specializing in construction management software is celebrating its 25th anniversary, highlighted by the introduction of new tools for heavy construction contractors.
Paul McKeon developed his idea for his B2W Software business in the living room of his Stratham home on a card table with an old computer. His idea was to provide a specialized software tool, which he called B2W Estimate, to replace pencil and paper in estimating the cost of jobs before bidding for a project.
He and two other people moved into an office condominium on Greenleaf Woods Drive in Portsmouth in 1993 with the official creation of the company.
Growth of the business, meant growth in the number of employees, prompting office moves, first to 2 International Place at the Pease International Tradeport then to its current location at 99 Bow St. in downtown Portsmouth, occupying the entire fifth floor and a portion of the fourth floor and employing 100 people at that location.
“The 25th anniversary is a significant milestone. The company has come a long way from the card table in my den where we started,” said McKeon, founder and CEO. “We have grown significantly, but our formula has been consistent. We’ve listened to what our clients in heavy construction sectors need, we’ve developed a unique vision for meeting those needs, and we’ve maintained an outstanding team to execute on that vision.”
He added: “I think the fact that we have reached this point as a private company, without debt is significant. This puts us in a strong position to focus on the market and our clients.”
The B2W Estimate application McKeon and his growing team initially developed became part of a suite of products contained within the company’s ONE Platform.
“Our ONE Platform works the way heavy construction works and integrates seamlessly with leading ERP (enterprise resource planning) and accounting systems,” McKeon said. “This is a model our clients are leveraging to accelerate software advantages in the field as well as the office, unify their workflows and improve profitability.”
The ONE - operational network elements - platform estimate, dispatch, data tracking and maintenance elements into a single unit. Other software companies offer construction management software, but in a piecemeal, disconnected way, according to McKeon.
The ONE suite’s newest addition is B2W Production Targets, which gives heavy construction contractors access to a job’s progress more accurately in real time.
Without this ability, daily targets are typically set by averaging projected productivity from the original estimate evenly over the duration of a job or a particular phase. These averaged targets of progress, according to the company, can present a distorted impression of job progress on a given day or series of days when compared to actual production data.
“Contractors are pushing for better data to make more informed decisions in the field, and this kind of accurate, timely data on job progress versus plan is at the top of their list,” McKeon said. “Using B2W Production Targets and electronic field logs, they get the right data every day, so they can make timely adjustments to keep jobs on schedule and budget.”
Among the users of B2W products are companies that have actively engaged in the current project to widen the Spaulding Turnpike from four to eight lanes - R.S. Audley, which did the bridges, Alvin J. Coleman & Son, which is responsible for the widening work, and Continental Paving.
The work managed by the B2W software ranges from highways and bridges to energy generation facilities, underground utilities and power transmission, according to the company.
Like others in the technology sector in this region, a challenge that McKeon has faced over the years is hiring to the level of experience he needs.
The quality of life and robust technology sector make this an attractive, but also a very competitive, area for employees and employers,” he said. “Being a well-established company in the area with a compelling technology platform and proven market leadership have certainly helped us in attracting and retaining the talented team we have now.”
Even with the 25th anniversary, McKeon still looks at his business as a startup, still today requiring the ability to innovate and respond quickly to his market’s needs.
“The anniversary and the growth over the past 25 years are important, but we’re really focused on and excited about the opportunities ahead of us,” McKeon said. “We have a great team, and contractors are really beginning to see the value of our unified platform approach, which is something no other supplier offers.”