How Bridgit Bench helps Harper General Contractors increase visibility into their workforce plan

How Bridgit Bench helps Harper General Contractors increase visibility into their workforce plan

Previous tools: Whiteboards, Microsoft Excel

Founded in 1950, Harper General Contractors is headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina and serves the Carolinas as well as parts of Georgia and Tennessee. The firm’s markets include industrial, water & waste water treatment, education, mixed-use, healthcare, municipal, and historic renovation.

The family owned business is focused on making their clients’ vision come to life. One way Harper ensures its clients are happy is by keeping the employees happy. Through keeping each of these groups happy, Harper has been able to stay true to its vision of building trust into everything they do.

It has also allowed them to continue to thrive.

THE CHALLENGE

Over the last five years, Harper has experienced tremendous growth. The growth can be traced back to multiple factors, including pivoting the organization’s strategy and approach. During this period, the firm took on larger projects, added industries to its repertoire, and went into more markets. 

“Our goal is to get better every day – not bigger,” says Tim Lewis, Director of Virtual Building and Asheville Office Commercial Operations at Harper. Lewis wears multiple hats for the company including being a regional manager and being the lead technical liaison. “When clients demand you get bigger, you get bigger.”

As Harper has grown, a challenge they’ve had is finding good people. Their goal is to find people of high moral character who are driven to succeed. Once these employees are part of the firm, they need to be kept happy, so they’ll stay.

A second challenge is leveraging technology to help get the right people on a team, so that they align with the client demands.

THE SOLUTION

To be more effective at resource management, Lewis says the company needed a resource management tool.

In the past, the company used a whiteboard to track individual people and projects in the vice president’s office. This brought up multiple issues for Lewis and his colleagues. “You had to be in the room to know what the plan was, and it was owned and controlled by one person,” says Lewis.

On top of that, the whiteboard only supported one division. The other division used Microsoft Excel. Of course, the two resource planning tools could not communicate.

When Lewis discovered Bridgit Bench, after meeting the Bridgit team at a construction conference, he saw it was right for Harper. “I had looked at other tools, but few that do exactly what we looked for it to,” says Lewis. “Bridgit Bench does one thing extremely well, and it solves a specific problem.”

With Bridgit Bench, Harper has a workforce management tool that helps their resource planning to ensure people are in the right place.

“We don’t want people to feel overstaffed,” says Lewis, “and to be able to come home and be happy.” This reflects Harper’s philosophy that when you build around your staff and take care of them, they will care for the clients and the firm will grow.

Since turning to Bridgit Bench, which is viewed as a valuable member of the team, Lewis and his colleagues have been particularly pleased with the visibility it offers. In the past, stakeholders, other than the VP, couldn’t easily update resources. Workforce planning required multiple steps, and this created barriers and ultimately left some stakeholders out of the process.

Harper which is tracking 150 people (and will soon be tracking more as they add on another group) and 75 projects per year, now has more people engaged in resource planning. “We are having conversations amongst all the stakeholders on one tool that everyone can see,” says Lewis.

“We’re able to use our resources better and make better teams.”

Tim Lewis, Director of Virtual Building and Asheville Office Commercial Operations at Harper General Contractors

Adjustments are happening more often and more easily. One of Lewis’ favorite elements of the resource management tool is its transportability.

“You can get to it from wherever you are, and it doesn’t take an arduous amount of time like the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet.”

Tim Lewis, Director of Virtual Building and Asheville Office Commercial Operations at Harper General Contractors

Because of this, Harper didn’t lose a step because of COVID-19. “Our productive value actually increased during COVID-19,” says Lewis “because people could spend more time on their computer to develop optimal plans.”

In Lewis’ role as tech liaison, he sees all kinds of tech products. One thing he particularly appreciates about Bridgit Bench is its simplicity “which drives people’s ability to be interactive.” After all, tech is only effective if it is being used. “Bridgit Bench is a well-designed tool that people can figure out without losing a bunch of time.”

Harper is sensitive about its investment in technology and makes careful decisions.

“Investing in Bridgit Bench has been a no brainer,” says Lewis. “It’s one of the technologies we’ve invested in that is a driving factor to our growth.”

Tim Lewis, Director of Virtual Building and Asheville Office Commercial Operations at Harper General Contractors

Harper General Contractors can continue to make its clients’ vision come to life because they have a workforce management tool that helps them assemble the right team for each project. With more stakeholders engaged in resource planning, the company is poised to continue its growth spurt.

Workforce intelligence for construction.

Put more time back in your day and make informed decisions.

Get a demo