By Karli Langner
In most construction businesses, paper is everywhere – invoices, requisitions, purchase orders, notes, and drawings scattered around the office and sprinkled everywhere at the jobsite.
Not only is locating and retrieving all that paper slowing you down, the cost of things like storage space, paper supplies, and printing can add up fast. Not to mention the impact that all of that paper has on the environment. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, of all trees harvested for industrial use, 42 percent go to making paper. Unfortunately, the degradation of forests is only part of the story. The pulp and paper industry is also the largest industrial user of water, the biggest water polluter, and the third largest emitter of global warming pollution in most industrialized nations. Paper also accounts for 25 percent of landfill waste and 33 percent of municipal waste.
HCSS and Command Alkon have teamed up to streamline heavy materials management by eliminating paper tickets, removing manual tasks, and automating data flows so that inter-company operations are easier and much more friction-free on the jobsite. Early adopters of this integration, like BOND Civil & Utility Construction, Inc., have reaped the benefits by getting rid of those paper documents and simplifying communication and value chain orchestration.
BOND Civil & Utility Construction Inc.
Founded in 1907, BOND Brothers Inc. is a family-owned company based in Medford, Massachusetts. They offer a depth of experience in construction management services and general contracting with a network of qualified experts in the horizontal and vertical market sectors. The BOND family of companies includes – BOND Civil & Utility Construction, Inc. and BOND Building Construction, Inc. Their scope of work encompasses civil infrastructure, power & energy, electric transmission & distribution, gas & oil, academic, civic, healthcare, and life sciences. With offices in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey, their geographic reach extends throughout the Northeast.
As HCSS users, BOND Civil & Utility was extremely interested in the integration of HCSS’ field and project management solutions with Command Alkon’s CONNEX Platform. They piloted eTicketing via the CONNEX Platform on a project they landed at Bristol Community College and saw many benefits from the integration.
Electronic construction initiatives like eTicketing automate business processes to reduce the use of paper. There are many opportunities to save when paper-based processes become a thing of the past, such as printing costs, time, postage and document storage, and adding communication efficiencies.
Aside from getting away from boxes of paper, BOND Civil & Utility was drawn to CONNEX Jobsite after reading about a case study on the DFW Connector project where it was highlighted how a single paper ticket can cost you about 15 minutes. In the New England Union environment, just 15 minutes of a superintendent’s time is extremely expensive. If BOND Civil & Utility could digitize tickets, it could vastly improve their efficiencies and their bottom line.
BOND Civil & Utility currently has two suppliers sending eTickets through the CONNEX Platform: PJ Keating for a community college in Massachusetts, and Boston Sand & Gravel for the Harvard Station MBTA project. Jarrod LaRocco, Project Controls Manager at BOND Civil & Utility, also knows that as they connect more of their suppliers to the platform, they can begin taking advantage of even more features delivered by the CONNEX platform experience.
Paper Can’t Do That
One of the primary goals that Jarrod LaRocco attains with the solution is getting the cost of materials accrued into their project management system, which is why the integration of HCSS’ solutions with the CONNEX platform is so important.
Jarrod outlines how BOND Civil & Utility had a power plant project with a large volume of concrete. It had been months since they received concrete for the job and they assumed all of the costs were in their systems, so they began to drop their accruals. Unfortunately, at the end of the job, they received a $125,000 invoice from their ready mix supplier, but the accrual had already been dropped. They reported that they made a certain percentage from the job, and then had to backtrack because the invoice came in. With CONNEX, this scenario is a thing of the past.
“Our costs have to be accrued for accuracy,” says Jarrod. “We don’t want to wait until the end of the month and have $100,000 worth of concrete hit and then realize that we’re way over budget. The way that we can see if we’re over budget on a daily basis is by accruing daily. We’re excited that the Command Alkon and HCSS integration can automatically perform that work.”
It’s estimated that a paper ticket is touched 43 times in the course of its life before it’s put in a box and thrown in storage – with 22 touches being on the jobsite alone. Jarrod says that if they could cut those touchpoints in half, it could save them tremendously. Luckily, CONNEX Jobsite can cut it down more than half – going from 22 to just 4 – a 82 percent improvement.
Another piece of CONNEX Jobsite that Jarrod finds unique is the amount of information that can be added in the system that would otherwise be lost on a paper ticket. From Jarrod’s experience, notes written on a paper ticket usually end up being looked over or not entered at all. If that information is digital, it can more easily be found – but on a paper ticket, it is essentially useless.
“What’s really cool about CONNEX is how easy it is to get suppliers connected,” says Jarrod. “The fact that Command Alkon’s batching software is in 80 percent of the country’s batch plants makes getting supplier companies to onboard the platform an easy sell. The ease of connectivity really sets Command Alkon apart.”
Time to Digitize
There was a time when paper was a rare and precious commodity. Now it fills our planet. It was initially invented as a tool for communication, but today, paper is used more for packaging.
Paper tickets may be familiar in this industry, but they contribute heavily to the pollution problems of today; on top of that, the delays associated with paper processes end up hurting decision makers. An information lag can delay understanding of the costs of a project, as well as if it’s running on schedule. Any delay limits the ability to make decisions to change the course of a project.
Paper processes are holding you back from greater success – follow BOND Civil & Utility’s lead and step into the future to digitally transform your supply chain. There is still a long way to go before we completely lose our dependence on paper tickets, but connecting the dots digitally across systems will take the far-too-many paper ticket touches required today down to a limited few or even just one.
Karli Langner has been with Command Alkon since 2017 and currently serves as a Media Relations and Content Marketing Specialist. She graduated from Jacksonville State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications and a concentration in public relations.