New York-based civil engineering firm Sullivan Engineering has integrated FlowForma’s process automation technology to save time and increase operational efficiency in its business
Sullivan Engineering specializes in exterior restoration services, referred to as “envelope work,” which includes facade restoration, roofing, and window replacement. In high demand, the company’s 60 full-time employees manage and execute several construction contracts simultaneously.
As the company grew, supervising projects became more and more difficult. To save time and increase operational efficiency, the company was looking to digitize reporting processes and move away from excessive paperwork that lets mistakes through and slows project completion.
“We were trying to track different things in Excel and on paper. It got very messy and not everyone had the same access to printers, so process digitization was a must. – Jimmy Monahan, Principal Building Envelope Consultant.
The company spent three months researching the best platform. FlowForma was the perfect solution.
Anthony Ngadimin, Sr. Building Envelope Consultant was involved in procurement and immediately saw the benefits of time savings: “I used to try to automate processes using Python and other programming and it could take months.
The logic is still there with FlowForma, but you don’t have to learn any code or syntax, which is great. This is what drew us to the solution in the first place.
How process automation was used
Next is Field Reports, a feed used to provide a detailed record of site visits. Previously, checklists, bills of quantities and costs were assembled with site photographs on handheld devices. The reports were created using different types of documents, resulting in a PDF with handwritten notes. The process has been digitized as a model with all inputs residing in one place.
The Field Report also provided the structure for weekly survey reports, used for project updates and milestones or for more detailed reports on specialized areas, such as a roof survey.
According to Jimmy Monahan, a template-based approach cuts the time needed to create new reports in half. The Covid checklist was created in less than a day; the most complicated field report in just under a week.
FlowForma has helped Sullivan Engineering dramatically reduce time
Rolling out FlowForma to new users took the company a quarter of the time it would take to roll out other solutions, and the results were a game-changer. Monahan described how much easier it is to look at processes and educate people about them; how everything is in one place with transparent document control, as opposed to old processes where there could be multiple versions in different places.
“Tracking changes is much easier than trying to write them to a PDF, and we don’t need administrators to make the same change over and over. You do this once in the main template and it is applied to all your other reports. ” he said.
Project review times have been halved
The time-saving benefits to the business cannot be underestimated. “Efficiency and productivity are really important because construction is such a rapidly changing business,” said Anthony Ngadimin. “The faster we can produce reports, the happier customers are and the more projects we can take on.”
Project review processes are completed in half the time – one day instead of two – and help catch issues before they become a problem. “We do more upstream, like uploading photos from the site directly into FlowForma. A huge time saving leads to cost savings, allowing us to take on almost twice as many deliverables as we normally would,” said Jimmy Monahan.
FlowForma enabled Sullivan Engineering to meet growing market demand
Like many organizations, Sullivan Engineering is currently rethinking its processes. She has succeeded in her plan to reduce paperwork in the company and uses digitization to do things differently. Above all, FlowForma has allowed it to evolve and meet growing market demand.
The company had become too big for processes to exist in the heads of a handful of people. FlowForma helped create a repository of knowledge, where patterns provide a repeatable way of doing things that don’t need to be constantly taught and re-learned. Jimmy explains, “When you scale when people are working remotely and can’t easily relay information to their teammates, there’s a risk that people will do things differently. Scanning in FlowForma solved this problem by creating a centralized repository. That means we’re not constantly reinventing the wheel.