As one of the largest providers of electrical contracting services in the Dallas-Fort Worth market, Cummings Electrical has nearly 500 highly skilled employees offering a vast variety of project services and serving client needs. With an in-house BIM staff and a focus on integrated project delivery for industrial/manufacturing, oil and gas, industrial controls, aviation facilities, wind farms, substations, data centers and health care facilities, the firm keeps a keen eye on maintaining an industry presence associated with innovation and efficiency.
A big part of that presence relies on implementing digital solutions for project delivery, and one of those solutions, Bluebeam Revu, has emerged with a unique position in helping the business continue to be an industry leader. Since 2002, Bluebeam has made desktop, mobile and cloud-based solutions for paperless workflows that improve project communication and streamline processes across the entire project lifecycle. In seeking to adopt Revu, Cummings initially reached out to Bluebeam reseller US CAD, where Director John Magyar, formerly the founder and director of Orange Blade Consultants, recommended a consultation and training program to help scale the adoption across the firm. “We didn’t have enough subject matter experts in-house to deliver training on a consistent basis. And so, our power users and our super users or the people that were more experienced in Revu were frustrated that they were the go-to people all the time. We realized that we needed some help,” explains Cummings Human Resources Generalist Jeremiah Ellis.
Training and expectations
After a week-long training session, the Cummings team had over 80 employees trained with Revu, adding to the firm’s estimating department which had already adopted the product to cut paper use for estimation. “Immediately following the trainings, we did surveys of our employees and we gave them some questionnaires,” says Ellis. “‘What did you like? What did you not like? What do you want to go deeper into, and do you feel like this was successful?’ And overwhelmingly our numbers showed that everyone felt competent, so we got buy in.”
While the workflows within Revu revolved around operational tasks like estimation, design review, and Studio Sessions, which allows real-time collaboration between the office and field, Cummings began to see the additional value within Bluebeam. “A couple of our projects started using Studio and using different Studio Projects or Studio Sessions to get some BIM coordination done. We had estimators sitting in an office and they got on a jobsite to look at a scope change. And they could mark up the same document at the same time and be able to process that much quicker than having to do job site visits, or to go out. So just having that remote access for Studio Sessions was really fantastic.”
‘Revu helped us grow from a people-driven company to a process-driven company, meaning that the right person can go do anything in the company. It takes away the pinch points of having someone being the only person that knows how to do something.‘Jeremiah Ellis, Human Resources Generalist, Cummings Electrical.
Onboarding with Revu
As the Cummings’ usage of Revu’s digital solutions grew, so, too did the need for establishing document storage and best practices. “We were growing in-house pretty heavily. We added 40 to 50 office employees in that first year after Bluebeam,” says Ellis. Due to the volume of new employees and recently established adoption of Revu, Ellis seized an opportunity to find additional value—in onboarding. “It really began with those new employees that started after we did that initial training, and we realized that we had to do an onboarding piece with Revu. And that’s when we started using a couple of our power users who wanted to take that on. We built our own internal training courses; basic, intermediate, and advanced classes, so that we could give them that foundational knowledge.”
The firm’s power users built dashboards within the software that contained a self-guided tutorial on how to use Revu. Ellis helped the team with guidance and the development aspects of the dashboards. “We noticed that people were in Revu every single day. And so that drove adoption, and it drove our training, it drove everything, because they had to go into Revu to get to the forms and documents that they needed which got them used to the interfaces. We used our own video recordings and partnered with the Bluebeam tutorial videos that Bluebeam has online, as well,” Ellis says. “So Revu gave us a training tool that’s also an intranet, that helps with onboarding. And every employee process that we have is now being documented within the dashboards.”
As part of Cummings’ commitment to Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) the company is currently undergoing a continuous lean initiative to drive efficiencies and value adds for their clients. The standardization of onboarding documentation and workflows within Revu has enabled the company to push forward with that initiative. “For most of our office staff, this was a big process to really get underway; to have somewhere to store our processes. We created these process maps, so that if I happened to be out of office and the next training person had to come in and figure out how to do my job, I would already have processes defined and laid out in a way that they could study. They could look at that, and within a few minutes be able to do exactly what I was doing for hundreds and hundreds of processes. And we have over a thousand stored in our intranet right now, throughout the company. Everything from as simple as, ‘How do I submit billing? Or how do I respond to an RFI? How do I sign a new employee up for a new laptop?’ Simple things that you don’t think about, we do every single day.”