Construction Company Clears Away Mountains of Paper

Brick by Brick – Creating a 100% Digital Construction File with JobRouter

HELMA designs and builds single-family and two-family homes. They specialize in the development, planning, distribution and building management of turnkey or partially turnkey residential homes. The company is on a mission to make their processes and client experience the best in the industry. To make that happen, they needed to streamline their current processes and tame a mountain of documents.

Background

Document Management and Workflow Automation Case StudyIf you have ever tried to build a house, you can probably write a book about all the formalities you have to go through before you can even break ground: from financing, zoning, suppliers and contractors to the necessary paperwork and building permits, which can range from architectural drawings to land use maps and local water conservation rules. Without the support of a construction service company like HELMA, this can be overwhelming.

HELMA completes about 400 residential building projects a year with an average of 200 documents and processes per home. That translates into about 80,000 new documents each year. These documents must be managed, archived and accessible at different stages of construction. That was hard to accomplish using a paper-based and manual process. HELMA chose the JobRouter BPM Suite to solve their process automation and document management challenges.

Streamlining the Entire Construction Process

To gain full transparency into processes and shorten the time span between signing the contract and the house keys being handed over, management decided to introduce the concept of a digital construction file. The aim was not only the digitization and archiving of all relevant documents but also to create automated workflows and gain control over all back-office processes as well as simple online access to centrally saved data.

JobRouter provided all the capabilities that they needed, offering unlimited scalability combined with secure document management and powerful workflow automation capabilities. JobRouter also provides the ability to easily integrate workflows and data with existing business and back-office applications.

Clearing Away Mountains of Paper

The digital construction file needed for a single home building project is very extensive. During the building process, all documents regarding authorizations, financing, contract revision, planning and building process, invoices, reminders and the complete correspondence become part of the construction file.

The company imposes the same business rules and requirements for the digital construction file as it does with the paper-based counterpart. The difference and advantage compared to the paper-based file: It is no longer stored in a physical location but is centrally stored and the current version can be accessed by everyone who has access authorization. This avoids data redundancy and documents are protected from loss or unauthorized disclosure, which enhances the information security.

From Contract Revision to Dream House

The building project generally starts with the signed contract and ends with handing over the keys to the house. In between that there are several determined, terminated process steps, which trigger reoccurring decision possibilities. An automated process was created, which includes and controls all phases of the building process – from the contract verification to planning and implementation, was developed. After the digital construction file has been created, all incoming documents – such as a contract – are scanned, captured and assigned to customer numbers in the central mail room. After capturing the data the person responsible receives a document to check. With one click the user can now review and approve a step following consistent business rules that are set in JobRouter. This ensures a consistent, clear and streamlined process. When the person approves the step, the project data is then collected and saved. Site managers have full visibility and access to the data from this point in time.

Document Management and Workflow Automation Case Study

Planning Security

Efficient planning is vital when it comes to building. It is the biggest part of the building project and involves many departments. The head of the planning department, construction draftsman and site supervisor as well as the accounting department, the office administrator and the HR are all heavily involved in the business processes. With so many people involved it is extremely important that each process step is only started when the preceding process step meets certain work status criteria. JobRouter guarantees that the process control is executed automatically and on-time according to business rules that the company sets. Process transparency and automated notifications, escalations and routing are a crucial advantage compared to a manual file process. The completely availability of the electronic construction file from any browser enhances the capability of giving information on the status and results. The documentation of all process milestones and people involved in the process secures the accountability of decision processes.

Document Management and Workflow Automation Case Study

Faster Decisions

In order to react to unpredictable situations or to judge completed building projects objectively – a detailed analysis is needed – and can be reported on at any time. The basis for this analysis is a project master data database. This includes all information and numbers concerning each building project. JobRouter generates the data automatically from the contract revision and planning process and writes all information regarding the project details, involved people and milestones into the database.

Based on this data management or the site supervisor can generate relevant statistics and analysis. This includes reports on planned projects, status lists as well as balance sheets. With JobRouter, employees have access to the important process master data at any time in order to be able to assess next steps, start long term planning and avoid escalations.

Fast Turn-around Times – Enhance Productivity

Building processes become more complex. With the digital construction file based on JobRouter, HELMA managed to optimize their work processes – between 300 and 400 processes daily – enhanced productivity and therefore made building even more attractive for its customers. HELMA Eigenheimbau is a Germany-based company that specializes in the design, planning and construction of new detached and semi-detached residential homes.