How Continental Building Co. understands and forecasts future workforce management needs with Bridgit Bench

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How Continental Building Co. understands and forecasts future workforce management needs with Bridgit Bench

Previous tools: Smartsheet, Microsoft Excel
Bi-weekly manpower meetings: Cut by 50%
Monthly time saved: 20 hours

Since its founding, the Columbus, Ohio–headquartered Continental Building Company has made listening to the market a priority. Founders Frank Kass and Jack Lucks formed the company because of repeated requests by their clients for office space.

The 225 person Continental, which operates across the United States and is involved with multiple property types, can assist clients each step of the way from pre-construction to ribbon cutting. They also have a building division and can serve as developers and general contractors.

The company, which Chief Information Officer David Donahoe says is “constantly evolving,” added two more property types in the last few years.

 Why? They listened and realized through careful analysis that these areas could be profitable.

THE CHALLENGE

Not a news flash – the job market is tight in the United States. This is particularly true in the field of construction. 

“It’s hard to find good quality construction people these days,” says Donahoe. “When you find them, you want to do everything you can to keep them.”

To keep employees productive, their skills need to be put to use. Otherwise, they are simply eating away at profits.

This is unacceptable.

“In the old days, you could carry more people,” says Donahoe, “but now, margins are tight, so you have to be right staffed all the time.” 

“Continental’s aim was to get the right people in the right position at the right time.”

David Donahoe, CIO at Continental Building Company

Workforce planning was a complicated process. Eight to ten people would gather with spreadsheets and a Smartsheet for a two-hour meeting every other week to coordinate staffing for Continental. Despite the manpower meetings, workforce planning was a constant challenge.

THE SOLUTION

For years, says Donahoe, Continental was looking for a mechanism that helps with workforce management and scheduling of general contractors. Once the company found Bridgit Bench, they were sold.

“Bridgit Bench is helping us in our goal to be right sized, because it helps us understand and project our staffing needs for each project.”

David Donahoe, CIO at Continental Building Company

The challenge of retaining and plugging in the proper amount of staff has increased as Continental has grown. Continental expects Bridgit Bench to help them meet their aspirations for further growth. “As we’ve grown, we hit a wall because there was too much data to process to get the right people in the right spot, but now Bridgit Bench can help us manage the workforce management and staffing challenges,” says Donahoe.

Continental collaborates with multiple people. Each or any of them might need to make a change to a project, which could impact staffing needs. While a change may seem minor to the individual making the change, with the trickle-down effect each change impacts everything and everyone else. 

The company’s previous system did not track changes, making resource planning difficult. Bridgit Bench, however, does track changes and enables all users to see the ripple effect. 

“Bridgit Bench allows us to adjust accordingly, since we have better total insight of how the personnel we have are being used.”

David Donahoe, CIO at Continental Building Company

Another aspect of Bridgit Bench that Donahoe and Continental find helpful is the ability to track data and keep historical data. Prior to getting the program, Continental had two systems (one for historical data and the other for scheduling personnel). “When we used two different services, we didn’t have forward thinking, so we didn’t know how much staffing we would need in the future,” says Donahoe.

It also made it more challenging to price jobs, determine profit, and schedule work. Now Continental finds it much easier to schedule jobs and can use historical data to properly price their work to get the margins they’re striving for.

Those resource management  meetings that would take two hours every other week? Now they take less than an hour. Besides making utilization easier in the best way possible, eight to ten people gained an hour of productive time.

These days, clients are demanding and want things done immediately. Yet timelines are delayed and moved all the time. How can a company stay profitable and use its personnel wisely under such conditions? 

Continental Building Company turned to Bridgit Bench to help them navigate these challenges. And they are happy with the results. “Bridgit helps fill the gaps with productivity,” says Donahoe.

So, Continental Building Company is continuing to listen. They listen to their clients, to their personnel, and to the market.  And they evolve using the best workforce management tools they can find, and they continue to be profitable.

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