As a subsidiary of a Japanese construction company more than 200 years old based in Tokyo, Shimizu North America LLC is based in Atlanta and manages jobs all along the East Coast from Georgia to New York. They primarily focus on manufacturing and the automotive industry, often taking on feats upward of $500 million in scale, which makes them ideally suited to handle a wealth of building projects.
“One person using Fieldwire for one year can save us up to $26,000. That one person ends up saving 44 hours - one full week - per month by using the app to do everything quicker.” - Rick Lane, Project Director at Shimizu North America LLC
Quality Control and Deficiency Management
Since 2014, Shimizu has placed its trust in a mobile construction app that could help facilitate getting jobs done. Rick Lane, Project Director at Shimizu North America, recognized the value in a system that could efficiently track punch list items and maintain quality control throughout the company’s daily activities. That system turned out to be Fieldwire, whose mobile construction software quickly became Shimizu’s go-to solution for managing the bulk of their issues.
“We have 3 or 4 major uses for Fieldwire on recent projects, most of them related to quality control. From reinforced steel inspection, concrete pouring, steel erection, and even safety monitoring,” says Lane. “Right now we’re focusing on quality control to create reports. We generate reports pretty regularly with Fieldwire and they get distributed to subcontractors immediately, so we send all of the defects that we find directly to them.”
Creating reports in Fieldwire is an essential method for Lane to deliver duties out to his team, tracking issues as they are created and worked on so that he can monitor overall progress on the project. Report templates in Fieldwire feature a wide array of filters, so each report can be tailored to include the tasks of specific subcontractors and be sent out automatically on a regular schedule. This makes it easier than ever to track what everyone is doing, since all their progress can be viewed in real-time from any device connected to the internet. No more trekking across the job site, no more waiting on the crew for in-person check ups. Once each defect has been updated in Fieldwire, Lane and his construction team can look them over and include those tasks in the next report that goes out. And while they are currently focused on quality control, using reports for punch list management is not a foreign concept to Lane.
“We started using Fieldwire very regularly, so we’re very used to it by now. We don’t get bogged down in unnecessary steps anymore. You just create a task on a mobile device and that’s that, you’re done.”
Positive stories like this became more frequent among Lane’s team as they continued to use Fieldwire, and helped support his findings as he encouraged Shimizu North America to deploy Fieldwire on additional projects. The quick familiarity and improved metrics from his team’s performance cemented the construction management app as a worthy addition to their field arsenal. It was a no-brainer for Lane to introduce the app into his team’s day-to-day operations when other clients came calling.
Saving Time and Money
“People don’t understand the immediate value until you put it in terms of money. One person using Fieldwire for one year can save us up to $26,000,” says Lane. “That one person ends up saving 44 hours - one full week - per month by using the app to do everything quicker. You can have your PM or your superintendent spend more time focusing on the construction side of things instead of sitting behind a computer doing administrative work or creating reports the old way.”
Rick Lane has had tremendous success cutting down on wasted time by using Fieldwire. Continued use of the construction app has streamlined his team’s on-site pursuits and improved their organizational skills. As work continues on their projects, the Shimizu North America crew relies on a steady stream of reports to get out to their subcontractors each day, so being able to save large amounts of time on that whole process is invaluable.
“Before using Fieldwire, the old fashioned way of doing things was just too time-consuming,” says Lane. “We needed to find something to help us be more efficient. Our projects can run pretty large in size, and we would need at least 2-3 more people just to create reports all day if we didn’t have Fieldwire.”
Freeing up several people so they can actively contribute to construction, instead of preparing task lists for everyone else, makes a world of difference day by day. And since the reports are composed directly in the app itself, they don’t need to be printed out in order to be distributed. The project management team can email out reports directly to their trades all from within the office. The benefits of incorporating Fieldwire into their routine kept piling up, as Lane and his squad were able to boost communication and cut down on time spent making reports.
“It used to take us from 40 minutes up to an hour to create a report the old way. That time has dropped down to less than 10 minutes using Fieldwire. We can get all the deficiencies out to the subcontractors right away. It saves us a lot of time.”
Such a drastic reduction in the time dedicated to generating reports creates benefits that reverberate throughout the entire work flow like a shock wave. Lane saw a decrease in downtime and an increase in time spent smoothing out snags across job sites. The temporal savings naturally lead to monetary ones, and with each passing day, Lane regularly sees a trend toward less spending in the big picture.
A Construction App that Fits Like a Glove
With all of the advantages being reaped through use of Fieldwire, those unfamiliar with the app might assume a lot of effort had to go into setting it up to Shimizu’s standards. But as Rick Lane will tell you, adopting Fieldwire and becoming fully fluent with it only took a matter of hours, and the hours it subsequently saved them more than made up for the brief learning phase. Regardless of their varying levels of technological expertise, his crew took to Fieldwire like a hammer to a nail.
“We got our team up and running with Fieldwire in one day - even less than one day,” says Lane. “It wasn’t hard for everyone to get used to it quickly, even all of our old school guys out there working. They all got used to Fieldwire pretty easily. It’s very simple, very user-friendly, and it has what it needs. There’s no extra things to confuse you. It has a very intuitive interface.”
Improving daily workflow is the overall takeaway from Shimizu North America’s implementation of Fieldwire, but the core difference being made extends beyond that. They are achieving a level of productivity that helps drive them forward at a steady pace, leaving behind the sluggish methods of the past. Smart phones and tablets are replacing pencils, paper, cameras, and physical drawings. Despite the huge size of their projects, the answer to growing issues has been paring down the task repertoire. Everything can be contained in a single tool, accessible on any other mobile device in any other pair of hands.
“We can have anywhere up to 40 people or more active on projects. Of course everyone uses their own mobile devices, but we also usually have about 4 dedicated mobile devices on-site, so Fieldwire is always present on the job. People can walk through the site, make inspections, and check everything all the time.”
Building a Winning Streak
Shimizu North America is pushing forward with continued success in all of its endeavors, thanks to the vigilance of those among their ranks with an eye for progress. Construction management across a multitude of manufacturing projects is being streamlined through the data reports, quality control, and user-friendly design that Fieldwire provides, and with every finished job, Shimizu’s East Coast presence is further solidified. Other Shimizu branches in Asia and other international markets are also rolling out Fieldwire on projects after such stellar confirmed results from Shimizu North America. Indeed, Shimizu proves its ability to define building quality time and again, and its North America branch plays a large part in that with the help of people like Rick Lane. His winning streak with Fieldwire shows no signs of slowing down.
“It’s working great, we’re definitely planning on using Fieldwire for our future projects,” says Lane. “I would definitely recommend it to others as well, as long as they’re not my competitors! We’re saving a lot of money and taking care of work really well, and I don’t want the competition getting in on this!”