By Jenny Lescohier - February 23, 2021
Dan Vallencourt, vice president, Vallencourt Construction
It’s pretty hard to imagine operating a business today without using some form of management software, but many construction firms have been slow to adopt these tools. Others have embraced the advantages modern software can provide and are finding new benefits all the time.
Since 1945, the Vallencourt family has grown its construction business on the simple concepts of fair pricing, on-time quality and strong relationships. They’ve also kept a constant eye on new opportunities and the latest innovations.
The 400-plus employees at Vallencourt Construction Co. Inc., based in Green Cove Springs, Fla., provide comprehensive site development services including land clearing, earth work, storm drain installation, underground utilities and road construction.
The company prides itself on what it calls its vertical integration. “Our job sites are not littered with subcontractors,” its website states. “This gives our customers the ability to make one call and get answers quickly. From our customers to our suppliers, everyone knows Vallencourt demands quality and performance. Our team always works hard and takes pride in a job well done.
New possibilities with ONE Platform
Just as it promotes itself as a one-top shop, Vallencourt Construction was interested in finding one integrated software solution and looked to B2W for help. According to the Portsmouth, NH-based software company, it “focuses on helping heavy civil construction companies win more work and complete it more profitably with unified software for estimating, operations and business insight.”
Vallencourt’s path to such a solution began in 2019 with B2W Maintain. “Our big challenge, and biggest opportunity, at the time was to improve how we tracked and managed equipment maintenance,” explained Dan Vallencourt, vice president.
The maintenance element exposed the company to the B2W estimating, field tracking and scheduling applications and a more unified approach to technology. “We were doing pretty well with existing systems for those individual workflows,”
Said Vallencourt. “B2W opened our eyes to new possibilities and made it obvious that a full, unified platform was what we really needed.”
B2W’s ONE Platform is designed to deliver a differentiating approach for managing estimating and operations in heavy construction. Instead of fighting the limitation and liabilities of using various software programs at once, contractors can establish one all-encompassing platform. With unified construction management tools, the goal is to win more bids at better margins, schedule resources, track performance, maintain equipment and leverage data to make more informed decisions.
Enhanced estimating and field tracking
At Vallencourt, B2W Estimate and Track followed Maintain, replacing another estimating software and a system developed in-house for field tracking.
A need to update the estimating database and the chance to unify with field tracking prompted the move to B2W Estimate. Estimators and project managers prefer the features and the ease of use of the B2W system, according to Vallencourt.
The same is true for B2W Track. “The capabilities and functionality beat those of the previous system by a lot,” he said. “It’s faster and easier to use, the guys love it, and we’re getting more real-time data.” Sending repair requests directly from the field through Track is also a big plus, and payroll processing effort and errors have dropped significantly,” he added.
More collaborative and data-driven decisions
Up to 70 B2W field logs recording productivity and labor hours along with equipment and material utilization for active jobs are submitted daily at Vallencourt. The management team and project managers spend about 45 minutes reviewing them as a group at 6 am every morning.
“Every job impacts other jobs, and our group review approach allows us to strategize together about actions, resources and equipment,” explained Vallencourt.
B2W field logs also drive weekly equipment utilization reports, helping the company optimize its fleet and minimize idle assets on job sites. Foremen get similar reports each week on labor hours to help them manage crews.
Better equipment management
Throughout its history, Vallencourt has purchased and replaced equipment to stay on the cutting edge of technology. The company is now fully utilizing B2W Maintain to drive a preventive maintenance program that has cut costs and downtime. The system tells the maintenance team when preventive work is due and what needs to be done. Close to 500 pieces of equipment are managed through a central shop and by four field techs.
“Now I have the accurate repair history at my fingertips and I know what every piece is costing us,” said Vallencourt. Management of the parts inventory is tied into the software. The warranty tracking feature has also paid off, helping the company track repairs or replacement parts that should be covered to recoup the costs.
Online scheduling and electronic forms
Using B2W Schedule for scheduling and dispatching resources is the next step at Vallencourt Construction.
The contractor also adopted B2W Inform for electronic forms and reporting. Vallencourt said he envisions converting “almost anything that is on paper.” Safety forms and toolbox talks came first. The next priority will be equipment inspections, with the e-forms tied to B2W Maintain to support the preventive maintenance program.
“In hindsight, we could have actually implemented Inform first,” said Vallencourt. “It’s easy to use and can be phased in as slowly or as quickly as you like to replace paper-based processes.”
Gaining a competitive advantage
Vallencourt said he is confident the ONE Platform gives his company competitive advantages.
“We feel it’s important to embrace this kind of technology to operate more efficiently, more cost effectively and to grow,” he concluded. “We need to know what’s going on across the company in real time and we’ve got that right on our screens with the ONE Platform.”