Warfel delivers projects successfully with Powerproject
Construction firms that last more than 100 years become adept at managing technological change – from motor vehicles to power tools to management software. Warfel Construction prides itself on being able to apply new methods and tools to improve the quality and efficiency of their client projects.
So, when it came time for the general contractor and construction management firm to revisit its scheduling process and tools in 2015, Project Executive Guy Kingree and his team seized the opportunity.
The change was necessitated by the growing obsolescence of Suretrak and the desire for a more construction-focused solution than Microsoft Project could offer.
The software was no longer being supported and created more headaches for Warfel’s IT department trying to keep the legacy tools running on up-to-date computers.
Finding Technology That Adapts to Processes
Warfel began a year-long process to replace Suretrak and Microsoft Project. Kingree’s team researched and tested nearly a half dozen other scheduling tools including Primavera P6, and some smaller, web-based systems before choosing to standardize on Powerproject.
At the time, Powerproject was just starting to market and sell in the U.S., after nearly 30 years in the UK and Europe. And, Warfel wanted to be sure of Elecosoft’s commitment to the construction industry and the U.S. market. Kingree explained:
Ease of use was also a key factor in the decision as Warfel’s project managers did not have months to learn a complex software. Powerproject delivered the intuitive design they were looking for and plenty of features for advanced scheduling. In fact, says Kingree, “Powerproject is so much more powerful than we’ll likely ever need.”
“We found that the Elecosoft team are construction folks who make Powerproject specifically for the construction industry and its ever-evolving needs. That’s something we couldn’t get with Microsoft Project.”
And, with U.S. support included in their plan, there is always quick help for software or tech questions if ever needed.
Cost was another consideration. Concurrent licensing for Powerproject allowed the company to affordably give access to the large number of project managers and preconstruction team members that only use the scheduling system part-time or occasionally. Primavera, conversely, would have required Warfel to pay much more for single-user P6 licenses that they would not be fully using.
The transition went smoothly with easy-to-install software and implementation help from Elecosoft’s regional distributor, Catalyst. Structures and templates were created to match the way the Warfel’s project controls processes worked. And Catalyst provided initial training to key team players. A second round of training for remaining staff is scheduled this year.
While Warfel chose not to bring old, closed jobs into Powerproject, the ability to open those old Suretrak files in Powerproject if they ever need to reference them again was important and not available elsewhere.
The company schedules all of the 25-30 jobs it is running at any given time. Powerproject simply makes that easier and faster.
Early Successes and New Possibilities Ahead
Now, almost three years in to their initial rollout of Powerproject, Kingree says Warfel’s project management teams enjoy working with the software and the positive impacts are evident.
“It just works really well to build solid schedules faster.”
Powerproject helps them define the critical path and show how that effects end dates as well as what impacts change orders have on the timeline and staffing levels needed.
And, Powerproject allows Warfel to share progress reports and key dates with owners and project partners (e.g. subcontractors), improving collaboration.
In keeping with their history of practical application of new technology, Warfel is already looking to what else is possible with Powerproject. They’ve recently used Powerproject’s BIM modeling on a couple of projects and will continue the push to go more and more mobile – making updates on their phones and tablets, in real time, from the jobsite.
The team appreciated the fact that Powerproject worked well as a stand-alone tool and did not require a large IT infrastructure change. But, they say, they may someday look to integrate it with other systems like ProCore, which they recently adopted as their enterprise resource planning
However they choose to deploy it, Powerproject will continue to evolve as users’ needs change. From BIM to mobile to whatever is next, Powerproject will help builders like Warfel keep delivering on-time projects for their clients, ever more efficiently and cost-effectively.
Since 1911, Warfel Construction Company has established itself as one of Central Pennsylvania’s largest providers of construction management, design/build, and general contracting services. The company serves clients throughout the Mid-Atlantic region
and has built a solid reputation for its innovative construction solutions and sustainable building practices. Project sectors include commercial/office, education, entertainment and hospitality, healthcare, historic renovations, and senior care.