When our members do something special, we like to share! Recently, NuJak Companies was featured in a Technology Makeover Story in Black Enterprises Magazine. Congratulations, NuJak Companies!
A Tech Makeover Story: Three entrepreneurs tell Black Enterprise how they are using technology to renovate their businesses in a tough year—and reaping the rewards.
Company: NuJak Cos.
Principals: Frank Kendrick, CEO & Timothy B. Jackson, COO
Location: Lakeland, FL
Type of Business: Construction, property management, and real estate development
2009 Revenues: $10 million
In our industry, time and money are synonymous. NuJak has invested in project management software to plan and manage construction projects efficiently, track our projects, mitigate delays, save time, and reduce costs. We have a fully integrated Project Management Control System (PMCS) that consists of Primavera P3 Project Planner, Primavera Expedition for document control, and Sage Timberline Office for cost control. The initial startup cost of the system we purchased (the P3 model) was $3,500.
We also invested in training on the PMCS for all our project managers, field superintendents, and contract administrators. Training classes are conducted in one- to three-day seminars and run between $500 and $1,500 per employee.
Additionally, we outfitted all our field superintendents with laptops or PC tablets, air cards, PDAs, and digital cameras at a cost of $1,200 to $1,500 for each superintendent. Each person has direct access to the office server with a database of project information such as plans, specifications, schedules, logs, and project costs.
Using the PMCS, superintendents update project status with daily field reports, schedules, and progress photos. The PMCS can be set up to allow owners, architects, and/or engineers to access information and review the status of all project-related items. Web cameras are set up to monitor construction progress. This has significantly improved communication internally and externally.
We are in the process of replacing the laptops and providing all field superintendents with PC tablets (about $5,000 each) equipped with the PMCS, which will allow them to update project status as they perform field inspections. This will allow them to mark up discrepancies on drawings and forward them to the architect and/or engineer directly. In the past the architect/engineer would have to make a site visit to review the issue, which would take a couple of days.
Technology helped us change our bidding process, which saved time and paper. We set up an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) site and uploaded construction documents. Subcontractors get a user ID and password to access the FTP site so that they can view the documents and submit their bids electronically. This has almost eliminated reproduction costs and saved us more than $50,000 per year. At first, a few subcontractors were reluctant to switch, but most adapted to the new system quickly. This has also improved the overall quality and sophistication of our subcontract pool.
We have plans to incorporate a building modeling system that generates 3-D images of buildings with overlays of different exteriors, structures, and mechanical systems. This would enable us to provide various pricing scenarios to our clients.
Recently, the team of Skanska and NuJak was selected to build the new University of South Florida Polytechnic campus’ signature building designed by world-renowned architect Santiago Calatrava. The entire campus will be designed and built with cutting-edge technology that will include a Building Management Control System. NuJak’s exposure to this technology will advance our position in the construction industry.
Five percent of our yearly operating budget, approximately $20,000, is dedicated to technology and technical training, but the added efficiency has paid for itself many times over. Technology has saved time and money, and more important, provided a greater value to our clients. As a result of our use of technology, we became leaner and more efficient, which saves the company about $150,000 per year.