Metromont provides precast concrete for everything from schools, office buildings and parking decks to industrial plants and stadiums. The company has completed more than 50 stadiums, including seven for the NFL, 15 sports arenas and more than 1,000 parking decks.
01 // Summary
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02 // The Challenge
As Metromont grew their estimating software was unable to keep up with their growth. They wanted to standardize their processes but were forced to work within the confines of software that didn’t fit their needs. Their old estimating software posed three challenges:
- An inefficient, overly-complicated estimating and sales process. Metromont’s estimating and sales process was a multi-step effort split across both the sales and estimating teams and spread out across three different software tools.
- No automatic updates or transparency across sites. When Metromont first started using their original software systems, they had two plants. Now, they have six plants and estimators in Greenville, Charlotte, and Atlanta. In order to update their data and takeoffs, they had to update it at their headquarters in Greenville first, then copy the information to each site. Since the estimating software was slow and cumbersome over the network, their estimators and sales team couldn’t look at information from other plant locations.
- High chance for human error. Since Metromont’s estimators and sales representatives had to manually enter information up to three times, and since they couldn’t see updates from other locations in real-time, their system created a lot of opportunity for costly human error.
Ultimately, the inefficient process created unnecessary back-and-forth between departments.
”I felt choosing an out-of-the-box software would be like starting from scratch only to settle again.Tony SmithVice President
“This process would have been a ton of work if the projects were priced just once,” said Tony Smith, the Vice President of Preconstruction and Marketing for the Metromont Corporation. “But that wasn’t usually the case. Within the design-build trend there are lots of changes. So, customers would come to us with these shopping lists of requests. What if we do this but not that? How much would it cost to do these eight additional things? So we had to go back to the estimator, back to the sales representative, creating all kinds of document management problems. And this was all before we’d even made the sale.”
Due to all these problems, Tony and his team spent a year looking at all of the off-the-shelf estimating software available that could potentially do precast. However, they were unable to find a solution that met all of their needs.
“The problem we ran into was that precast is a niche industry, less than one percent of construction. The solutions we were finding were more for general contractors. So, they would do one or two things we needed, but not everything. I felt choosing an out-of-the-box software would be like starting from scratch only to settle again.”
03 // The Process
”We were impressed with the open communication between us, Andy, and the Kopis team.Tony SmithVice President
When Metromont reached out to Kopis, we first spent the first few weeks with the client to understand their business. We toured their facilities and spent time with the executive team, sales team and estimating team to get the complete picture.
“Kopis dug deep, they talked to us and took a tour of the plant to fully understand what we do before developing the software.” Angie Ruth, Estimator at Metromont.
We then kicked off the Agile process by collaborating on the highest priority interface designs. We then worked in two week sprints, resulting in a demo with Metromont. These sprints allowed Metromont to make small adjustments over the course of the project that made a huge impact on the final product, and allowed for a smooth launch day.
“We were impressed with the open communication between us, Andy, and the Kopis team,” said Tony. “We thought we knew what we were getting into. We knew it was going to be complicated—but combining three software products into one ended up being a lot more complicated and detailed than even we could have imagined.”
04 // The Results
Kopis delivered to Metromont a complete software product that:
- Works equally well for estimators and sales representatives
- Accurately and completely relays the sold information to project management, engineering and accounting.
- Gives everyone on the team easier access to the correct information
- Provides real-time updates to multiple locations.
With easier access to accurate information, the sales team can now produce more accurate proposals.
“Of course, it’s all about the bottom line, we could lose 20, 40, even 100-thousand dollars, on a misquote. It’s hard to calculate the exact value of the software, because I can’t tell you how many mistakes didn’t happen this year as a result of the new system. But a conservative guess? We have nine estimators. If this software saves each estimator one 20-thousand dollar mistake a year, then the software saves us 180-thousand every year.” said Tony.
The interface design walks the estimators through the right questions in the right order, providing level of comfort that nothing was forgotten. Their estimates have become more consistent resulting in fewer delays, as estimators can easily step in for each other and share work, which wasn’t possible before.
“The software has changed the way our estimators, and all of our employees, think about their jobs,” said Tony. “They’re thinking about the big picture more now that they can see it.”
Metromont has gone on to resell this estimating tool other, non-competing companies in their industry.
”I can’t tell you how many mistakes didn’t happen this year as a result of the new system. But a conservative guess? We have nine estimators. If this software saves each estimator one 20-thousand dollar mistake a year, then the software saves us 180-thousand every year.Tony SmithVice President
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”Of course, it’s all about the bottom line, we could lose 20, 40, even 100-thousand dollars, on a misquote. It’s hard to calculate the exact value of the software, because I can’t tell you how many mistakes didn’t happen this year as a result of the new system. But a conservative guess? We have nine estimators. If this software saves each estimator one 20-thousand dollar mistake a year, then the software saves us 180-thousand every year.Tony SmithVice President