Located in 21 different locations across the nation, the folks at Ford AV know all about scale. They’re the fifth largest AV Contractor in the world, with more than 500 employees who pride themselves on their ability to complete complex projects in extremely tight timelines. Fieldwire, a platform that solves complex projects with simple solutions, was selected as the perfect tool to fuel Ford’s efficiency and help them scale with ease. As a result, Ford has been contracted on several noteworthy projects — designing, installing, and servicing sound, lighting, and audio-visual systems for global brands like Apple, Coca-Cola, and ExxonMobil.
- Fifth largest AV Contractor in the world
- 21 office locations
- 500+ employees
- 21,276 tasks
- 27,509 plans
- 785 projects
On average, Ford is contracted on 700 projects each year. And, with so many people and projects to manage, you need efficient construction management software. In order to simplify and streamline daily processes, David Allen, the Corporate Vice President at Ford, knew he had to replace existing tools with one integrated system. He began evaluating construction software with a set criterion in mind and eventually landed on Fieldwire.
Managing thousands of documents and tasks with Fieldwire
Ford uses Fieldwire on every one of their projects — be it for plan viewing and punch-lists or task management and scheduling. As a result, they’ve already uploaded 27,000 plans and created more than 21,000 unique tasks. David said: “We upload all of our drawings into Fieldwire, add details using the markup tools, assess the scope of the work, order equipment, and assign each project to a Job Superintendent. The Job Superintendent can then create all of the tasks required to complete that project in Fieldwire.”
With hundreds of tasks created per project, Ford uses Fieldwire’s priority tags — P1, P2, and P3 — to ensure work gets done on time and in order. “We add a priority tag, list the manpower (number of hours) needed to complete a task, and assign it to the right Installation Technician. They receive a notification about the task, add images to show progress, and mark it as ‘complete.’ Then, it’s up to the Superintendent to ‘verify’ the work,” said David.
Connecting dispersed teams on one platform
At Ford, most Project Managers work from the office, which, prior to Fieldwire, meant a lot of back-and-forth communication between dispersed teams. Now, the office and jobsite teams communicate seamlessly, on one platform and in real-time. “Each week, we have about 50 crews working in the field who collaborate with our Project Managers and Engineers in the office,” said Jason Guenther, Ford’s Construction Software Coordinator. Instead of needing to email or call a craftsperson in the field about the status of a certain task, the Project Manager simply opens Fieldwire, sees exactly what’s happening in real-time, and adds comments or questions directly to the task. “The Job Superintendent can attach a photo to a task to communicate progress rather than over the phone. The Project Manager can see the photo in real-time and respond immediately to keep production moving,” added Jason.
Benefiting from Fieldwire’s powerful task tracking
Having every photo and comment archived in Fieldwire saves Ford from potential disputes. For example, at project closeout, David said, “the Owner might ask me why there’s a big scratch on a table in a room we were working in. If I know it wasn’t us, I just go into Fieldwire and pull up a photo that proves the table was in perfect condition when we finished working in that room.” Fieldwire even comes in handy for resolving internal disputes about lagging productivity levels. From Fieldwire’s task dashboard, a Project Manager can see exactly who on their team is doing what and when, and easily identify why a task is running over schedule.
Increasing transparency with easy crew scheduling
As a company, according to Jason, “Ford is far more agile with Fieldwire, especially with the Gantt calendar view that lets us easily adjust a labor plan.” From the field or office, Ford crew members can instantly access a daily, weekly, or monthly overview of each task that’s in-progress, scheduled, or complete. Project Managers can drag-and-drop tasks that need to be rescheduled or reprioritized for effective agile project management. “In this way, Fieldwire becomes our labor plan for how we’re going to execute a job. We can very easily see the percent of the project’s completion,” said David.
Reaching close-out faster with mobile punch lists
Ford knows that before any project is considered complete, all punch items must be resolved. Using Fieldwire’s punch list management app, Job Superintendents annotate deficiencies directly from the field for managers to see in the office. Then, in the click of a button, a Project Manager can generate a punch list report and share it with the Architect. David said: “Back in the office, our management team sees all of the items that need to be done to keep production moving. We even created a custom construction form in Fieldwire specifically for technicians to use when submitting their daily reports and made that a mandatory process on all of our projects. Prior to this, we used Excel spreadsheets and Google Docs which took us much longer than it does now.”
Today, Ford heavily relies on Fieldwire. As David said: “We train all of our Job Superintendents on how to set up and complete work in Fieldwire so that we have 100% of crews working from a single platform. Overall, Fieldwire has made all of our existing processes far more efficient.”