How Sellen elevated planning efficiencies and forecasting with a strategic shift to Bridgit Bench

Company Sellen Construction
ENR Ranking 180
Location Seattle, WA
Years on Bridgit Bench 3.5+ years
Previous Tools Legacy data management software
Sellen crane

How Sellen elevated planning efficiencies and forecasting with a strategic shift to Bridgit Bench

Centralized workforce planningEnhanced strategic focusBuilding high-performance team
Transitioning workforce planning to Bridgit Bench provides a unified view across projects, streamlining operations and improving management efficiency.By reducing the time spent on staffing decisions and proactively planning, Sellen has refocused efforts on business strategy and project delivery.Bridgit Bench helps Sellen efficiently identify team members with complementary skills to assemble teams that align with project needs.

“The biggest change was we were able to start talking about our business or strategic initiatives, whereas before, we were mired in staffing conversations.”

Jamie Miller, Director of Engineering Development, Sellen Construction

The company

Innovating construction through purpose and building community

Since founding in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood in 1944, Sellen Construction has significantly influenced regional growth. From humble beginnings building naval radio stations during World War II, Sellen has become one of the most successful builders in the Pacific Northwest and is listed as one of the ENR top 400 general contractors in the U.S.

Sellen’s success is rooted in its purpose: to improve the lives of those around them – as builders, partners, and neighbors. While this philosophy has led to success for the team at Sellen, making timely decisions can be challenging in the fast-paced world of commercial construction.

The challenge

Simplifying complex workforce planning

Jamie Miller, Director of Engineering Development, is responsible for developing staff across multiple projects throughout the Seattle area, including a team of 50 engineers looking to advance their careers with Sellen.

Coordinating a large team across projects at various stages of completion, Miller understands the challenges of manual workforce planning and the benefits of tech adoption.

“Our biggest challenge was that we all had our own spreadsheet systems. I had one for the engineers; the executive team and project directors had one for project management staff; and field operations leadership had one for managing superintendents, assistant superintendents, and foremen,” said Miller. “We have weekly meetings for business development and operations, and we would spend the operations meetings talking about staffing, not the business. We were too busy coordinating our different spreadsheets.”

The solution

Unified planning with Bridgit Bench 

The team at Sellen made the strategic switch to Bridgit Bench in 2019. Moving to a centralized, automated platform immediately helped facilitate greater visibility and coordination, enabling a strategic focus that was always a challenge with their previous process.

“When our COO on the field operations side changes a superintendent in Bridgit Bench, I get to see it,” explained Miller. Previously, I would find out much further down the road when it got brought up. That’s one of the biggest things—we all work on the same platform now.”

Sellen’s unified approach to workforce planning has also produced massive efficiency gains. Time spent in weekly meetings with Project Managers and Operations has been cut from two hours to one. With a Project Management team that can reach up to 22 people, those efficiency gains translate directly into cost savings.

The impact

Refocusing on strategic initiatives and team dynamics

The switch to Bridgit Bench has transformed leadership meetings, with staffing discussions streamlined from hours to minutes. Without getting caught up in staffing discussions, the Sellen team can focus on business planning, project delivery, and operational strategies.

Efficient team assembly

The ability to identify and assemble project teams with complementary strengths has helped accelerate Sellen’s project planning process. With leadership operating out of a unified system, Miller and the team can ensure each project benefits from a mix of skills and experience with relevant project types.

“Team dynamics are really important to us. We don’t just throw people on a project without thinking about how they’ll work with each other,” said Miller. “We look for strengths that complement each other. Bridgit Bench helps to foster collaboration because everyone can see when I’ve assigned an engineer to a project and offer feedback about their working relationship with the other team members.”

With additional time focused on strategic initiatives, Sellen has introduced a leadership program based on Myers Briggs personality assessments. This program takes Sellen’s team-building approach to a new level and ensures that teams have the right mix of technical skills, compatible personalities, and leadership styles.

jamie miller from sellen construction
“I think we’ve been building better teams from the project’s inception. We have the RFP in hand and are all on the same platform. We collaborate on the team we assemble immediately, which can help us win a project. I think Bridgit Bench has helped us assemble compelling teams more efficiently.”
Jamie Miller, Director of Engineering Development, Sellen Construction

By implementing a leadership program based on Myers Briggs personality assessments, Sellen has brought its team-building approach to a new level, ensuring that teams have the right mix of technical skills, compatible personalities, and leadership styles.

Predictability and forecasting

Using the advanced Forecasting Dashboard in Bridgit Bench, Sellen can accurately predict labor and recruitment needs – a major challenge when planning teams in spreadsheets. 

“The forecasting tools have been huge for me,” said Miller, who often spent hours consolidating spreadsheet data. “The ability to forecast has been a really big deal. I don’t have to spend hours creating the spreadsheets and then telling everyone how to interpret them because it’s only in my brain.”

“Now I can click a button and see that I need four more engineers in October, or it’s showing me that I’m short three engineers today.”

Jamie Miller, Director of Engineering Development at Sellen Construction

Working with Bridgit

Tight feedback loops and proactive support

Miller appreciates how easy it is to share feedback with the Bridgit team and how quickly it’s implemented. 

“We have been very impressed with the response when we have ideas or wish Bridgit Bench could do something differently,” she said. “ Bridgit has been a breath of fresh air. We throw out an idea for them, and six months later, they’re telling us, ‘Here it is.’ It’s been wonderful how great and supportive Bridgit has been compared to other software.”

Final thoughts

Miller shared some final thoughts for general contractors considering upgrading their workforce planning.

“I would say, don’t be afraid of new software. Especially in construction, people can be worried that it will take a lot of training time or be hard to learn. Bridgit Bench is insanely easy to use. We’ve added more and more people to the tool, and they’ve gotten up to speed within a week or less because of how easy and intuitive it is.”

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