Manhattan Construction Group
In 1896, Manhattan Construction Company began its family-owned enterprise in Oklahoma. Five generations later, the company has over $30 Billion in their impressive construction portfolio surrounding North America, attesting to a reputation of reliable performance and quality results. Recognized for “Building Excellence,” Manhattan consistently ranks as a top construction firm by the Engineering News-Record (ENR)
Joe Mannon began working at Manhattan in 1975, as a draftsman for the scheduling department. At that time, construction schedules were hand-drawn onto big rolls of grid paper. Around the turn of the millennium, computer software began to be implemented into construction scheduling. With 47 years of industry experience, Joe has witnessed the transformation of construction schedule tracking firsthand. Today, he works as Manhattan’s Director of Scheduling and analyzes, critiques, and corrects schedules in the company’s portfolio, which may include over 90 projects every month. Until uploading schedules into an optimal software, computerized scheduling systems were not significantly more effective than the ones found in Mannon’s original hand-drawn files.
Six years ago, Joe and his co-worker, Chris Smith, were the only people who were working on schedule analysis for Manhattan’s projects. They implemented a digital scheduling software into their practices in hopes of making schedule analysis easier but were challenged with getting the information formatted into something their teams could read. Eventually, they created ready-made Manhattan templates in Excel to run through the software they were using. Mannon recalls having to copy and paste items into their own templates to keep everything consistent across all divisions.
However, their methods and workarounds did not turn out to be a simple process. Joe & Chris were so busy organizing data to meet deadlines, it was difficult finding time to analyze the various 80-90 monthly project schedules that come in during a 1 week period. He stated, “We were working our fingers to the bone, mouse clicking constantly, copying and pasting, to get the schedule information captured into our Excel templates.”
Joe’s time was exceedingly taxed creating Excel reports, with multiple tabs, using their tedious process. This resulted in more time being spent going through these processes without having sufficient time to look at what activities were, for instance, slipping, lacking logic or had a high duration count, etc. If these issues are not caught in time, there will inevitably be many more serious problems to fix down the road. As a result many of the projects being built by Manhattan project level field staff had lower quality schedules than desired, causing them to be delayed and over budget.
THE SMART SOLUTION
Mannon learned about SmartPM’s Project Controls Platform at a trade show in San Diego. After five or six years of crunching data themselves with another software, it was decided to schedule a SmartPM product demonstration. SmartPM was given a sample of one of Manhattan’s finished projects. This particular project was delayed four to five months past its contractual date—an issue far too common in the industry.
Manhattan provided SmartPM with their schedule files, from baseline to mid project. SmartPM’s software analyzed the schedule data in minutes, providing a predicted end date at the 50% mark that came within one day of the actual end date. Based on the accuracy and speed of SmartPM’s software, Joe quickly realized how significantly the processing time would be reduced, allowing him to do more for his clients. No longer needing to use laborious templates and copy & paste in order to fuse information together, deciding to use SmartPM became a no-brainer. Joe stated, “If you see a wreck coming and you have 500 feet instead of 50 feet to stop, you will be in better shape. That was our number one selling point with SmartPM. Although the metrics and graphs are interactive and well designed, predictive analysis is what sold me right away.” “Having this quality of analytics that is web-based for all to access easily, was the second selling point”.
“If you see a wreck coming and you have 500 feet instead of 50 feet to stop, you will be in better shape. That’s what SmartPM does.
In the past, Manhattan’s scheduling software was generating insights that did not initiate quality responses. With SmartPM, Manhattan users can click on different items in the dashboard and watch graphs grow and update in front of their eyes—seeing everything in real time. The schedule insights offered by SmartPM include a grading scale that Joe has found rather helpful in communicating the importance of schedule quality to his team. Down the schedule pipeline at Manhattan, a general contractor will ask Mannon why their schedule has a failing grade compared to other projects on the dashboard. Joe is able to explain how, “The data doesn’t lie” and show them “where the problems lie.” Being able to share information and have these discussions, in a meaningful way, has greatly improved their schedule quality and performance.
Since implementing SmartPM, Manhattan’s project teams can see actionable insights across all divisions from the President or VP down to the site teams. Working with realistic timeframes and accurate data has empowered Manhattan’s project stakeholders to make better decisions and catch problems before they become catastrophes.
SmartPM has transformed the way Manhattan Construction Group analyzes their project schedules, cutting processing times by a minimum of 75%. After 47 years of crunching data at Manhattan, Joe finally found a product that frees up his time and allows him to provide more value to his clients, than he ever thought was possible. “I can do more in 10 minutes than what used to take me an hour,” Joe said. “We now have this very reliable SmartPM software, that our competitors don’t have, and our clients love it. SmartPM has become a part of our daily process.”
“SmartPM allows me much more time for reviewing schedules in lieu of time spent generating Excel reports”