As an HCSS HeavyJob and HeavyBid user for nearly two decades, Silver Star Construction has been an active participant in how HCSS construction software has evolved over the years. Their close partnership with our support and development teams has helped us understand the perspective of a company that has implemented nearly all HCSS products into their business. Much of their success is driven by their willingness to embrace change and innovation even if it may take time, and may cause discomfort.
At the center of leadership at Silver Star Construction is an active HCSS user that welcomes innovation, Craig Parker, President, Silver Star Construction.
“Ask anyone – I am personally not uncomfortable with change at all. One of our core values is innovation and it’s there for a reason,” says Craig. “We stay curious, and training is a process we are always making better for our people.”
Craig believes that change happens over time, requires a tremendous push from the top to get going, and a steady hand from all participants to keep the momentum. “Nothing happens overnight,” says Craig. ‘Getting to your goals has to start from the top, and the same message has to be shared at every level.”
A Consistent Holistic Message
Craig explained that not only does the message have to be consistent, it also has to consider how one department will affect another. By engaging your people in the process, and providing them with purpose and understanding, they will feel trusted and will develop the motivation to carry your vision forward for you. “I am the president of the company, and I encourage my people that if we do not have their production quantities then our estimating team cannot provide accurate estimates,” says Craig. “If we are not sending needs to our dispatchers, how can they know who are the right people and equipment for the right job? If we don’t have accurate meter readings, how can we properly maintain our equipment?”
“No matter where you are going, change is a constant,” says Craig. “In my opinion, if we are not looking to refine our methods, and making improvements, then we are falling behind.” Craig says that when people gain confidence from what they have accomplished, they push harder. By the time people have noticed the long-term benefit overshadows the short-term discomfort, the change will already be happening, and your momentum for change will be greater.
“Change takes time and the support of your people,” says Craig. “You have to have an operations manager buy-in. You have to have the superintendent’s buy-in. Most importantly, you have to have somebody checking it. Even with all the policies in place, it [HeavyJob] didn’t work until we made sure that somebody was responsible for looking at those timecards and verifying them.
Verification is Just as Important as Entry
“If you’re not checking it, then whatever you are wanting to change is not going to happen,” says Craig. “Somebody has to be responsible for what’s getting entered into the system, and it doesn’t have to be a difficult process. For example, once you get into the habit of looking at time cards, you will get a sense of what information is missing or incorrect. Nobody is going to put in random hours. Most of the time it is close to the truth, but you still have to double-check and make sure it is being done properly and every day. Once your foremen and mechanics get trained following the procedure, and they understand that foremen sitting in their truck recording time is a priority, they will get it right more often than not.”
To relieve fatigue for those checking the data from the field, and having to send back incomplete time cards, you can use an automation feature in HeavyJob called Job Review. This tool will help you set up requirements for sending in a time card. In the field, the formen will see a warning that something is missing (like a diary is missing, or the time card does not have photos or the hours reported do not match the scheduled hours), or you can set the system to prevent users from submitting until the requirements are met. Implementing this properly can get more qualified timecards into the hands of your managers, and help your foremen know what is expected of them.
Don’t Get Caught in a Fire Drill
Craig has served as chairman of the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), and he has worked in construction for nearly three decades. He understands that to strive for the best you have to be willing to learn every aspect of the business and continue to be curious about the change. No task can be too small or tedious, and if the foremen do not follow protocol, they might get a call from Craig to find out why.
“The reason we started using HeavyJob was that we were having constant problems getting accurate timesheets from the field,” says Craig. “It was a cumbersome paper process, where foremen would say they forgot to drop them off, and payroll would suffer. At the end of the week, that turned into a fire drill getting timecards in and payroll processed. There is nothing I hate worse than a fire drill. If a fire drill is going on then accuracy goes out the door. The cost is a lot of time and money. When we started using HeavyJob we realized it doesn’t have to be hard. HeavyJob makes it easy, and we can use the tools in the system to check if the time card was submitted if it was done properly, and who needs further training. I get an email if a foreman is not getting his time submitted, and they all know that if their time is not in the office by 9 am, somebody is going to get a phone call from me.”
Make a List and Check it Twice
Silver Star is no stranger to putting their best foot forward. For many natural disasters in their area, including tornado and wind damage, you can usually find a Silver Star crew in the background helping with clean up. Their attention to excellence and being a partner in their community is something that we often read about in the news, and celebrate as neighbors and partners.
Before the pandemic had a chance to affect North America, a team from HCSS Customer Success traveled to Moore, Oklahoma. They interviewed and observed Silver Star users, and offered guidance on how to continue to drive progress using HCSS.
Craig says that as new features are introduced every year, they may see the immediate benefit, but may not have the time to implement it right away. “We have been exposed to many different functions of each software,” says Craig. “But, if they are not routinely used and practiced, they can be forgotten until someone comes along and shows you how to use it again.”
“Your Team gave us an audit,” says Craig. “They told us what we were doing right, and how we could improve in other areas if we wanted to. They also showed us the methods to accomplish it. I absolutely loved it.”
Together, the HCSS Success team and Silver Star created a custom list that plans out how the company can get more out of existing features. Craig says that their operations and equipment teams use this checklist in weekly leadership meetings to track progress and to know what is on the horizon for next week. There is excitement behind this because the teams know what to expect.
“As a business partner we want to help grow our customers into sophisticated users of our system,” says Jason Roznovsky, Manager of HCSS Customer Success. “We want to help them build upon features that give them the most personal value so that they can take their business to the next level.”
As the visit came to a close, Lars Mallach, Customer Success Specialist and HCSS Fleet expert, was fascinated with how well the company worked as one unit. “Their ability to want to constantly improve takes a lot of hard work,” says Lars. “It shows maturity in their leadership to keep looking for improvement while looking forward, and not resting for too long on what is comfortable.”
If you need any help, our support is available to you every day, all the time. Our number is 800-444-3196. The HCSS Academy contains hundreds of hours of courses that are included with your software that will help you learn how to use many features at your own pace. If you are in need of guidance as you explore how the HCSS system could help you do more, reach out to our Customer Success team. HCSS Customer Success has access to all departments and wants to be your voice inside HCSS. We wish you Happy Holidays and continued success as we come to a close for the year 2020. If you need help guiding change for 2021, we are here to help you.