Previous tools: Microsoft Excel
James McHugh Construction was founded in 1897, initially specializing in masonry work. It wasn’t long before McHugh established itself as a general contractor in the mid-1920s. McHugh is responsible for building some of Chicago’s most recognizable landmarks, including Marina City and Water Tower Place – the world’s tallest concrete structures at the time of their respective builds.
McHugh became a trailblazer in the industry by pioneering the use of fibreglass concrete forums as well as the climbing crane. Today, in addition to Chicago, McHugh has added an office in Nashville and has built projects across the USA including Louisiana, Texas, California, and Minnesota.
Having been in the Chicago area for 120+ years, McHugh has a wide variety of work they perform from high rises and renovations to hospitality and adaptive reuse structures. In an effort to become more cost-effective and cost-efficient, McHugh began evaluating internal processes and looking to construction-specific tools, like Bridgit Bench, to help streamline their core processes and make data-driven decisions when it comes to their workforce.
Given their expansive portfolio of self-perform work, McHugh consistently has team members moving from project to project. While construction projects often have hundreds of moving parts, McHugh found that managing their resources through a series of spreadsheets wasn’t providing the data and visibility needed to accurately forecast their labor requirements.
“We always used just an Excel spreadsheet,” said Ray Cisco, Vice President of Operations at McHugh. “It was long, it was difficult to share, it wasn’t interactive. It was spread out so long that you weren’t able to forecast well out in advance of where you should. With what was going on, we kind of said, okay, so how can we manage our resources better?”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of uncertainty in the construction industry, McHugh saw it as an opportunity to re-evaluate some of their core processes to become more cost-efficient, including their resource management. Having housed their workforce data in a series of spreadsheets for years, McHugh looked to Bridgit Bench to not only streamline their resource planning but also to help surface information critical to allocating resources effectively.
“You had to sit in a room the old-fashioned way,” said Cisco about their resource planning prior to Bridgit Bench. “I’m going to put this person there, this person here. What do we have coming? And a lot of times you realize, oh shoot, we doubled up and we got that person listed on a proposal, but we already have them listed on a job.”
The leading construction resource management tool is also helping McHugh track their resources all the way from estimates and bidding to closeout and warranty.
“So we’re setting it up in multiple phases,” explained Cisco. “We set it up from estimating, pre-construction, construction, through to warranty. It starts off with our estimating department, and what they’re doing is assigning the appropriate estimators to the job they will be bidding, and then assigning their workload. We have a pretty big estimating group, so they act as the lead.”
“Our staffing meetings right now are probably taking 15 to 20 minutes at most because we’re updating it between those two-week periods. We’re shifting jobs, and updating anything that can be updated. Before Bridgit Bench, it used to be a good hour, hour and a half. It’s made us more efficient, we use it all the time.”
Bridgit Bench is also helping McHugh with their collaborative efforts while working remotely. “It’s impressive that we can share it now,” said Cisco about making resource planning a team effort, “I can share our resource plan with anybody we want and they can view it easily. Anybody can really see where the staffing is. It isn’t just going to be the three or four people that are probably assigning staffing at all times and we give certain people limited access. It’s been a great tool for us.”
“I had someone at the head of HR say, ‘I never know where anybody is’ and it was so easy to say ’Hey, here you go. Now you can view it whenever you want because now you know exactly where they’re at.’”
Ray Cisco, Vice President of Operations at James McHugh
McHugh also understands that construction doesn’t stop for new software implementations and was impressed with how quickly the team at Bridgit had their resource management tool up and running.
“It was seamless. It was easy. Bridgit had us up and running in 7 days. It was pretty quick,” said Cisco about implementing Bridgit Bench. “Through the live training that you did with all of us, we were able to present it to our CFO and the exec team and they said, ‘Alright. You guys got it. Run with it.’”
Run with it they have. James McHugh Construction is using Bridgit Bench to build out its tech stack and build a strong foundation of effective, efficient resource planning.