Capital & Contract Management

Take control of your projects and improve construction budgeting and estimating by combining benchmarking, budget management and project forecasting. With our capital and contract management solutions, you can facilitate contract and change management throughout the project, resulting in a 20% reduction in contract and change turnaround time.

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Connected Analytics

Make real-time decisions as you gain visibility into metrics, KPIs and trends, driving continuity in operations.

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Document Management

Our document management solution helps you streamline the capture, review, management and distribution of project documents. Because all your project documentation is stored in a centralized repository, you can reduce processing time by 30%.

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Estimating & Project Cost Management

Our project cost management solutions help you create more accurate and timely project estimates, increase your forecasting accuracy, and improve the anticipated project ROI.

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Field Execution Management

Manage work packages and daily crew plans to deliver and capture predictable results in the field, reducing project costs 10%.

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Integrated Project Controls Platform

Only InEight provides a complete portfolio of capital project management software that supports enterprise-wide digital transformation.

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Planning, Scheduling & Risk

Create, collaborate and risk-adjust plans to achieve more than 75% confidence in project execution.

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Safety, Quality & Commissioning

Capture and analyze safety, compliance and quality data directly from the field, reducing rework by 10%.

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Virtual Design & Construction

Use an aggregated 3D model as a common data environment, increasing clash resolution efficiency by more than 200%

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How Graycor Knows Tomorrow’s Productivity Today

Graycor Industrial is one of North America’s premier self-performing contractors. The company is digitally transforming its business by implementing the InEight platform of capital project management solutions.

In this candid conversation with Graycor Industrial’s Technology Manager Tom Baskind, you’ll hear how InEight solutions are helping the company achieve greater productivity and efficiency.

 

Originally aired on 1/31/20

22 Minutes

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Transcript

Rick Deans:

Well hi, this is Rick Deans with InEight. We’re here with Tom Baskind with Graycor Industrial and Tom is going to be talking to us a little bit about his experience with the InEight software platform. Tom, it’s great to see you again.

Tom Baskind:

Thank you. Great to see you.

Rick Deans:

It’s always a pleasure. So tell us a little bit about Graycor.

Tom Baskind:

So Graycor Industrial is a self-performing contractor that works nationally and self performs a majority of the work and only subcontracts out those specialty trades such as electrical and insulation. The company in general has about 1600 employees on a given day throughout the country and we’ve been around since 1921.

Rick Deans:

I saw that when I came in, the timeline on the wall there.

Tom Baskind:

Celebrating our hundredth anniversary next year.

Rick Deans:

That’s fantastic. Now I know from previous discussions with you Tom that safety is a key metric here at Graycor. Can you talk to us a little bit about that?

Tom Baskind:

Sure. The ownership of our company believes that safety is the most important thing of all, it’s more important than sales, production, profit, or anything else. Our statistics are very good. For the Graycor

company through November our recordable rate is 0.27 with 2.2 million man hours so we’re real proud of that. But every meeting starts with safety, everything that we do is all about how is it going to affect safety. It’s a culture shift that happened in the industry over the last few decades. So we want our employees to have a good day’s work, make a fair wage, and then come home just a little bit tired.

Rick Deans:

Tell us about your role in the organization please.

Tom Baskind:

So I’m the technology manager at Graycor Industrial and my main focus right now is implementing the InEight suite of products across the company.

Rick Deans:

And how long have you been with the firm?

Tom Baskind:

This is my 23rd year.

Rick Deans:

So I’m guessing when you came on 23 years ago they didn’t hire you on as a manager of technology, can you talk to us about some of the roles you’ve held within the organization?

Tom Baskind:

Sure I started out as a product engineer, I did that for three years and then after that I went into the estimating role for about 15. After that I went on a job assignment out of town and came back as director of pre-construction services. Did that for a few years, then ended up in a chief estimator role and finally now in my current role.

Rick Deans:

Okay so you came up through the ranks of the business and you’re steeped in the business processes?

Tom Baskind:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rick Deans:

Great. Fantastic. I understand you’re implementing the InEight platform. Can you talk to us a little bit about how you heard about InEight initially?

Tom Baskind:

Sure. The company decided that it was time to go for a digital solution. The cloud was big and fast, the speeds were adequate and the cost of tablets were coming down so it was probably the right time to do it. So I was put together on a committee to look for the best solution we could find. So we looked at the internet, we made phone calls, we looked at organizations to find out what software was out there that could solve our problems. We ended up with a list of about 15 different ones and then researched them

extensively, narrowed it down to a group of three, had them come in and present and ultimately made our decision to go with InEight.

Rick Deans:

What were some of the things that stood out about InEight in your mind Tom?

Tom Baskind:

Well when they came to the company and presented we noticed that they were construction folks that understood our needs and our problems and explained it more as a construction solution than as more of a software solution. The other thing is that it satisfied key priorities that we had. Did it have a time sheet? Does it have work packaging and productivities? Is it going to work for a self-performing contractor? And it fulfilled all the boxes that we had for those items. The way that the software works is that you make your plan for tomorrow today. So before you leave for the day you already know what’s happening tomorrow. And when you have that plan you can already tell if you’re going to be in productivity tomorrow or out of your productivity.

Rick Deans:

So let’s talk about that for a little bit. I know historically folks in the field have really felt squeezed, right? Like you mentioned earlier we kicked off the discussion with the discussion on safety. They’re out there, they’re trying to get work done, they’re trying to keep their people safe so they can go home at night and spend time with their families. It seems like historically we’ve asked by the folks in the field to really take a disproportionate share of responsibility for these types of tools without really giving them any meaningful feedback at least in a real-time perspective. Can you talk to us a little bit about maybe how their lives are made a little easier with these tools?

Tom Baskind:

Sure. It’s definitely a paradigm shift because they’re used to doing paper time sheets and filling them out after the fact. This is more of a proactive planning ahead of time that they’re going to be involved with. They’re also going to get instantaneous feedback that they never got before. So before you’d have a crew that would go out there and they would know what they have to do, they would know how many hours they’re going to spend that day, but they wouldn’t know the impact of how that relates to the bid and how many hours were put in there, man-hours per piece of item.

Tom Baskind:

And they’re going to get feedback at the end of the day and they’re going to know if they made productivity or were out of it. It may be a little challenging at first when they try to figure out that I need to cut a couple of people from my crew but ultimately we are going to save money. If you think about it five people over the course of one year is $1 million so if we can save money and make these jobs more profitable all of us will be better off.

Rick Deans:

You mentioned something interesting and that is the added element of the productivity and the quantities within the time sheets. Historically we think of time sheets just as you said, of names and hours, maybe a cost code they’re working on, but to combine that quantity capture, are you feeding that information into other systems downstream? You’re collecting data at the source in the field, is that data then seamlessly being transferred to other applications or?

Tom Baskind:

Yeah, absolutely. So the way the InEight works, the man-hours are going into control and the quantities as well. It’s also going into our ERP system, which is different than what InEight uses. But because we use InEight Estimate as well, all the cost history goes back through benchmarking so we’re able to capture the cost history on our jobs and be able to better estimate it in the future as well.

Rick Deans:

So we talked about the impact and the immediacy of the information to the folks in the field, what decisions can you in the office make based on the collection of this data across multiple projects?

Tom Baskind:

Sure. With current tools they probably can only see productivity is at the end of the week or really even the end of the month. With InEight we’re going to be able to see the productivities before the work even starts, this is what is planned for tomorrow. And the people from the home and back office can then go in and research how the performance is going from the comfort of their desk since it’s a cloud-based solution. And with the dashboards that are involved, the managers will be able to see a snapshot of each project at more of a higher level, not so much in the weeds.

Rick Deans:

So what does that mean for you? Do you foresee that you’re going to be spending less time collecting this data and putting it together in meaningful reports and distributing that data? Do you see them more pulling that data off of these dashboards to be able to answer their own questions?

Tom Baskind:

Absolutely. I think they’re going to be able to go in and for themselves see the various data that they want with various levels of complexity and the reporting that automatically will be generated. Through the use of power BI and the Explorer tools on the dashboard we’re going to be able to have information at their fingertips updated every week.

Rick Deans:

You talked about productivity analysis in the field, what about trend analysis, forecasting, how do you see that impacting the business, Tom?

Tom Baskind:

So one of my favorite features of InEight is the fact that the forecasting is done automatically. It knows the hours on the time sheets and the quantities. And the estimating program which is sent to control also knows the forecasted final quantities so it can calculate the forecast of man-hours automatically. So when you go and you get your actual hours and when you get your quantities all the forecasting is automatically calculated. So it’s going to make it a lot easier to forecast these projects with less training and to be able to analyze how they’re doing.

Rick Deans:

And the old adage I would assume holds true if there is going to be a problem I’d rather know about it sooner rather than later?

Tom Baskind:

Absolutely. And we’ll be able to see and if anyone’s manually forecasting something we’ll be able to check that real easily and see what they’re doing.

Rick Deans:

Excellent. So Tom, can you give us an idea of some of the benefits that you’re seeing or you anticipate seeing from the digital capture of time and quantity information in the field?

Tom Baskind:

Sure. I think that’s the most powerful weapon here that this software gives us, and that is the ability that we make our plans the day before for tomorrow. We know what the productivity is going to be because we know what quantities we’re putting in. So we make the plan, we know the components we’re going to install, we know who’s going to be in that crew and we know what our productivity is going to be before the work even starts, very proactive. So when the next day the foreman comes in, reads a daily plan, sees what he’s got to do, and then they execute that work. They then at the end of the day put in the actual quantities that they did and we can compare what was planned and what was executed and compare that to what was estimated and immediately know if we made productivity that day.

Rick Deans:

Many of our customers tell us that because the system flows through from the original scope documents through the field execution that it’s fairly easy for them to identify items of work that are out of scope and project changes, have you had any such experience there?

Tom Baskind:

Sure. So on the daily plan module there is a note page which gives us the ability to have an issue. When an issue is raised it then gets put into InEight change and it can be tracked and an issue can lead to a PCO or Potential Change Order which can lead to an OCO or Owner Change Order. And so we’re able to have a much more complex system to be able to monitor these changes and track them and make sure that the field’s aware when something’s out of scope.

Rick Deans:

Can you explain how you’re seeing some organizational benefit from automating the process of work packaging?

Tom Baskind:

So we’re putting our work packages together once we have our components made and we’re telling our people to create the plans from the work package directly, as opposed to listing the work package within the plan after the fact. So we’ll go into a work package, we’ll select the components that we’re doing that day from that work package and then create the plan directly from there. So as we finish that work it’ll update that work package for a percent complete as well.

Rick Deans:

How have the folks in the field responded to that approach?

Tom Baskind:

With the requirement for advanced work packaging and all the work that we have to do to make sure that it’s done properly everybody’s embracing that, this is only going to make us better.

Rick Deans:

Excellent. Help us understand how the InEight platform might integrate with some of the other software that Graycor is using.

Tom Baskind:

So it definitely integrates with our ERP system. So the project is estimated, it’s then published and sent over to control and then we send it from InEight control to our ERP. So all the information is generated InEight and the ERP just receives the cost codes, man hours and quantities. We execute the project all through InEight and then we forecast through InEight and when we’re ready we send that information and sync it over to our ERP system. So, the ERP system that we use is very difficult to learn. It has worked for many years but with InEight it’s a graphical-user interface. It’s on the internet, it’s cloud based, it’s so much easier to teach, much more intuitive to use and so we’re very eager to be able to teach people how to use this in a much more functional way.

Rick Deans:

You mentioned the impact to the field personnel as well as the people executing the projects that you’ve even touched on. You’re educating your business development and sales people about the InEight platform. Talk to us a little bit about company leadership and the senior managers. What expectations have they got in terms of the value that the tool is going to bring to the organization and how they might benefit from some of the data that’s surfaced up?

Tom Baskind:

Sure. The senior leadership is going to be able to benefit greatly by being able to have access to all that information. We certainly have the access now but it’s a little bit more challenging to get out of the system. This being dashboard-based is going to be a simple click of a button. As opposed to making all kinds of tracking documents and monitoring documents they’re going to be able to see the information that they need on a very quick basis.

Rick Deans:

So Tom can you give us an example of any metrics that you can share on any projects in terms of savings or additional productivity that you’ve seen?

Tom Baskind:

Sure. I’ll give you an example on InEight Document. The current system that we were using before we switched to InEight Document was a system that was a little bit more cumbersome than what we have in InEight Document and it was very difficult on jobs that had over 10,000 drawings that were very complex to manage those drawings. So on those large drives we would go to the market and purchase a document management software. Very expensive on a job-by-job basis but it worked very well for those jobs. So with InEight Document we’re getting that type of robust software on every job that we have and so it’s a lot more efficient saving us quite a bit of money.

Rick Deans:

What about keeping everybody on the same page in terms of revisions and iterations of documents?

Tom Baskind:

Absolutely. It’s the same system everywhere we go. And one of my favorite parts about InEight document is that it has this feature called pending transmittals. So if you had a thousand drawings come in and 700 of them were new revisions it would make a list of everybody that needs that new revision because it knows what old revisions they have so no more scouring through all the internal documents you can figure it all out very quickly.

Rick Deans:

So we can keep everybody on the same page as design engineering changes occur?

Tom Baskind:

Absolutely yes.

Rick Deans:

So prior to implementing the InEight platform Tom what were some of the solutions that you were using? I’m guessing maybe Excel spreadsheets, paper time sheets, which is fairly typical that we see?

Tom Baskind:

Yes, we were using both of those but we also had some homemade software that we had created over the years. We have an IT department that has full-time developers, so we sat with them a few years ago and made software that handled the solutions that we needed. But over time those solutions modified and people made requests to expand them and they became very large, a little bit difficult to maintain and so it started to become a monster and monsters have to be fed. And so we wanted to get something that was already premade.

Rick Deans:

Sure fit for purpose perhaps and something for the industry?

Tom Baskind:

Sure.

Rick Deans:

And that’s always the toughest part, right? Internally-developed software is great because it addresses all of your needs but then like you say going forward, the maintenance of that is that really the core competency of a construction company. So I’m just curious the folks that worked on those internal tools are they involved in this implementation then? Have their roles morphed to support the commercially-available software that you’re bringing in?

Tom Baskind:

Absolutely. So our internal IT staff has moved a little bit from creating brand new software to implementing this new software. There’s a lot of touch points between our accounting system and the software and they’ve been working on that as well as others. While we’ve upgraded and moved down to

InEight for our company, the company’s also made a number of changes in other software. We’ve moved on to different software for expense reporting, for sales.

Rick Deans:

That’s fantastic. Can you talk to us a little bit about the implementation process and did you meet with any resistance and maybe what were some of the things that you did when you were rolling this set of tools out to ease that adoption rate?

Tom Baskind:

Sure. The most important thing we had to do is convince the employees that this was going to help them. This was going to make them more successful, it was going to make their life easier, it was going to make them more into data analysts and less than to data entry and ultimately it was going to save us time and productivity. So we had to convince them that this was going to be a good thing for them and we had to make sure that we could take the people that resisted and convince them otherwise.

Tom Baskind:

So I was recently in a webinar where we talked about resistance to organizational change and in that the subject came up that in any organizational change we have 20% of the people that are change friendly, 50% are neutral and 30% are resistors. We have to make sure we take that 20% and have them work with us to help make this thing a success and bring that 50% over to be the change friendly people. One of the things we did to keep them engaged and involved is to make them part of the process, make them part of the planning, the flowcharts, how we’re going to do this so they have some ownership in this. So when we roll it out they have a vested interest as well.

Rick Deans:

It’s almost like a two-prong approach. You’ve got the tool itself, the set of tools, but you’ve also overlaid that with your organizational business processes.

Tom Baskind:

Yes. When we were laying this all out on the board we listed our current processes, we listed how InEight does things and we merged them together.

Rick Deans:

Were you met with any challenges or obstacles that you did not foresee when you began on this journey?

Tom Baskind:

I think the hardest part was keeping a core team together of people that were part of this implementation process. Life, business gets in the way, sometimes people get sent to remote job sites, sometimes people leave for other assignments and we had to bring people in later that weren’t as familiar with how it works so we had to catch them up. So if I could go back in time I would do everything I could to keep that core team together for this investment.

Rick Deans:

Philosophically was this project in addition to or instead of some of their other day-to-day responsibilities?

Tom Baskind:

It was in addition to and so that was a challenge too is to bring them in for two-day sessions and have them put their regular work down, but ultimately with the end goal in sight they knew that it was going to be best for the company.

Rick Deans:

One of the things that I see a lot of times in organizations, especially large organizations with multiple divisions, maybe you’ve got a person that’s been there 10, 15, 20 years, they have built some tools, maybe some Excel spreadsheets, they work fine for them. What sort of communications are you offering to help them see the bigger corporate picture? I understand you can do your job just fine with the tools you’ve built but what sort of messaging are you giving them to see how that, maybe a movement to a new software platform might help the lattice of the entire organization for instance?

Tom Baskind:

Sure. So we’ve talked to some of the engineers that are making these analysis tools out of Excel and they’re very proud of them. But what happens to those tools unfortunately is they grow and they become monsters and they become so in need of data. And then what happens sometimes is that they get too big and people abandon them and then they scramble to figure out how to track costs and the job’s already halfway done. So what I’ve tried to explain to them is that you won’t have to use any of that, that it’s all going to be done through the system automatically and there’ll be again less time with data entry more time with analysis. Everything that they enter is going to automatically get put in the cloud and put in the solutions.

Rick Deans:

Well Tom you talked about the rollout of the solutions throughout the organization, have you attended any training classes?

Tom Baskind:

Yeah, I have attended classes when InEight has come to our office and trained us directly in our building with a group of people. All throughout the whole implementation process between the various modules we’d have various visits. I also was part of some training with our own people. I’ve trained a lot of our own people in the software. I’ve been working on the manuals as well. So InEight has very robust manuals, very thick, two, three hundred pages and I’ve tried to convert them into say 25 quick user references guides.

Rick Deans:

Paint by numbers approach of this is what you need to do.

Tom Baskind:

Yeah this is what you need to know of the 300 pages.

Rick Deans:

And that’s always a challenge, it is a fairly robust set of capabilities and every organization sometimes with our help decides which elements of the tools they want to use and how they’re going to use those. And do you find these manuals are well received then by your user population?

Tom Baskind:

Yeah, and also there’s InEight U which is their online training and it’s really nice because you get to see it, you get to hear it, and then you get to practice it. So it really helps train people. So we start off people by having them go through InEight U and then once they’ve been familiar with the screenshots and somehow it works we then train them ourselves in how we’re going to use the software with our nuances.

Rick Deans:

Excellent. Talk to us a little bit about the installation process and maybe your engagement with our professional services team.

Tom Baskind:

It’s been an excellent relationship throughout this whole process. Whenever there’s an issue or a problem we call and try to get it solved, if we can’t solve it ourselves. And they will create a ticket and they’ll make sure that it’s solved and follow up with a phone call or an email and make sure that everything is working the way it should be. There are certainly going to be bumps in the road when you do this kind of major implementational change but you have to just fix them when they come up and when they come up and you fix the problem it’s probably not going to happen again because you know how to do it.

Rick Deans:

So Tom as you implement a set of tools like this what challenges do you think the industry might face in terms of adoption and getting people to accept a new solution like this?

Tom Baskind:

So the organizational change is one of the hardest things for a business to do. However, if you don’t change there’s a chance we might not be around. For example imagine a writer that didn’t want to use a word processor and wanted to do everything with an old fashioned typewriter or a company that wouldn’t switch to CAD and wanted to draw everything by hand. Imagine an airline that wouldn’t have an online presence to buy tickets and you had to call them to buy tickets. They wouldn’t survive. So you need to transform digitally and you need to transform for these cloud-based modern solutions that are going to solve a lot of problems and make you more productive and better equipped to handle the complex challenges.

Rick Deans:

Well Tom it has been great chatting with you. Is there anything else you’d like to mention about your experience with InEight at this point?

Tom Baskind:

Just that it’s been a very smooth process and we appreciate all the help that we’ve been given by InEight.

Rick Deans:

Well, we certainly appreciate you, it’s always a pleasure doing business and we look forward to many, many years of providing a mutually beneficial business relationship with Graycor.

Tom Baskind:

Thank you. As do we.

Rick Deans: Thanks for joining us today. We hope you learned a lot. For a complete list of all of our archived and upcoming webinars, click here.