Case Study 1

How do you stand out in a competitive EPCM market, and grow from 80 to 400 employees in 5 years?

Triumph EPCM streamlines operations and sets the stage for aggressive growth with 4castplus

Founded in 2005, Triumph EPCM is a mid-size Engineering, Procurement and Construction Management company serving Oil and Gas producers in Canada and abroad. Triumph specializes in the areas of SAGD facility and gathering design, pilot plant design, water and waste treatment projects, carbon capture projects, conventional oil and gas, co-generation design and new upgrading technologies.

Situation

In 2011, Triumph was facing an increasingly competitive landscape in the fast-growing market emerging around the large SAGD projects in Northern Alberta. These projects require significant engineering and procurement expertise, most of which the ­owners and producers will outsource to specialized companies like Triumph. The company was poised to grow substantially, and they recognized that they required both the internal infrastructure, along with key differentiating capabilities, to support that growth and ensure they stayed competitive.
“To succeed in this market, we needed technology. We’re a full service engineering company and as such we need the best tools to allow us to compete, enable us to grow, and to give our clients the best quality service.”
Brad LeDrew, President & CEO, Triumph EPCM

At the time, the Triumph teams were using a very complex spreadsheet solution for all their procurement and project management functions. While this was acceptable for smaller projects, it was truly limiting their ability to perform construction management, cost controls or procurement on larger projects.  In these cases, the team at Triumph felt they weren’t able to serve their clients at the level of quality they desired. More specifically, Triumph personnel had to comb through various systems and spreadsheets – sometimes inputting the same basic data again and again – to build something as simple as a status or expediting report.  Additionally, with all their information spread out in so many places, the management team couldn’t get key metrics on trends, manpower planning or cash flow around current or upcoming projects.

Solution

To address this, Brad and his team had been trialing a number of software products on the market and hadn’t come across the right fit until late in 2011 when they met the team at 4castplus.“4castplus just had the right combination of project management, change management, tracking and cost controls,” says Peter Timmins, Vice-President of Operations,  “On top of that, the added wins for us were twofold: First, the software is easy to use that we knew we wouldn’t have a hard time getting our staff to use it. And secondly, the team at 4castplus were great to deal with.  Support, if needed, was simply a phone call or email away and they were always open to new feature suggestions.”

Phase 1 – Project Management and Cost Controls

In early 2012, the project management team began their adoption of 4castplus. Due to an immediate need for cost controls on some larger construction management projects they were executing on ($20m-$40m), they started by using 4castplus primarily for its estimating, forecasting (EVM) and reporting for cost controls. In doing so, they succeeded in providing “the best and most responsive project controls and reporting our clients have seen.”  On top of that, the Triumph team successfully eliminated almost all of the spreadsheets that had been constraining their ability to deliver such a high-level of service.  The third bonus they felt immediately was that they were able to execute on these projects without adding extra staff and with lower internal costs.

Phase 2 – Timesheet Tracking, Customer Billing and Accounting Integration

After a few successful projects with 4castplus, the management team at Triumph decided it was time to take advantage of more of the features integrated into 4castplus. At the time, they had been using another solution for their internal time tracking and customer billing. In many respects, this time tracking solution had been working fine for them; however, since 4castplus provided the same or better functionality, it made good business sense to consolidate that part of their business into 4castplus as well. “Migrating over to using 4castplus for time tracking and billing was straightforward to do since the 4castplus interface is quite a bit easier to use than our previous solution,” Timmins points out, “It also saved us money since we weren’t paying for two systems.”  They realized additional benefits due to the cost tracking being so tightly connected with everything else in 4castplus. As a result, the Triumph team were able to eliminate the step of having to import cost data into 4castplus from another system. “Everything works together seamlessly in 4castplus – you can tell they really thought this all through.”

A key addition to tracking their internal billable labor and producing customer invoices in 4castplus, Triumph needed this billing information to be synchronized with their accounting system (QuickBooks).  The team at 4castplus worked closely with Triumph to understand their exact needs for accounting integration. As an integral part of Triumph adopting the tracking and invoicing, 4castplus delivered a timely solution for critical accounting integration.

Phase 3 – Procurement

Providing a top-notch procurement service for clients is a key cornerstone of any EPCM business.  “Procurement is a complex and multi-layered challenge that requires the right processes, careful management and the right tools,” emphasizes Timmins.  Triumph had (and still has) a very talented and experienced procurement team; however, they had been using a predominantly spreadsheet-based solution to manage this complexity. In early 2012, the team at 4castplus approached Triumph to engage in some partnership development to build the best-in-class procurement software solution to augment the existing capabilities in 4castplus.  Triumph eagerly agreed. “There just isn’t good industrial-strength procurement management software out there that interfaces with well with project management modules;” adds Timmins, “and we knew that 4castplus was the company that could truly pull it off.”

Procurement in industries like Oil & Gas, Mining or Utilities can require a complex mix of key capabilities such as:

  1. RFQ & Bid Management
  2. Contract Management
  3. Purchase Order creation
  4. Expediting of equipment and materials
  5. Commitment tracking and invoicing
  6. Accruals reporting
  7. Approvals
  8. And much more
“We’re now equipped to take-on any project of any size or complexity – with the confidence that we can knock it out of the park. Honestly, prior to adopting 4castplus, we had been limited. It’s hard to believe how any engineering company could survive without a tool like 4castplus.”
Brad LeDrew, President & CEO, Triumph EPCM

Working closely with Triumph – along with other organizations with similar procurement technology needs – the team at 4castplus has built a flexible and powerful procurement solution that is unrivaled.

Phase 4 – Manpower Loading and Workforce Management

One of the biggest challenges that service-orientated businesses like engineering companies face, is the ongoing planning and management of its labor-intensive workforce.  They need the ability to plan-ahead for potential manpower requirements on projects that are in the queue to be worked on over the upcoming year. “Having good metrics on how many hours of each labor-discipline that we’ll require on a month-by-month basis, to execute on upcoming projects, is vital to us for planning,” confirms Timmins. The added complexity to this; is planning for the projects that have been bid on but haven’t yet been won.

4castplus responded to this widespread need by building in manpower planning reporting as an integral feature of the software. This reporting enables business leaders to forecast labor requirements using projects estimated and scheduled in 4castplus.  This reporting is further enabled with features for predicting the probability of winning prospect projects.  This “probability factor” is applied on manpower planning reports to predict the estimated hourly manpower requirements: by discipline and/or by named resource.

On top of the long-term planning needs that Triumph faces, the management team also have to plan-out the priority activities for its staff on a short-term (week-by-week) basis. The team at 4castplus are currently developing Workforce Management capability to address this pervasive requirement.

Phase 5 – Project Team Portal

Like most engineering companies, Triumph has to manage the many documents that need to be shared with clients, vendors and other members of the project team. Over and above the documents, Triumph has an ongoing need to facilitate a high-level of communication between the project teams. Engineering drawings, Transmittals, Status Reports, RFIs, etc. all need to be shared amongst the various players in a secure and specialized environment.

As a cloud-based software solution, 4castplus is in a unique position to leverage the power of the cloud to enable a highly effective collaboration solution for project management communications and document sharing. 4castplus began construction of the Project Team Portal in early 2013 to provide a seamless and integrated way for businesses like Triumph to share information and collaborate on projects.

Concluding Remarks

Triumph’s business development reps also leverage their adoption of 4castplus when presenting to prospect clients. Showing themselves off as a high-tech organization that has the tools and expertise to execute on the more complex and lucrative projects, has given Triumph a significant competitive edge and enabled their aggressive growth path.

“I really want to thank everyone at 4castplus. Their product and team have helped my business in a great many ways. I have all my staff working in the same tool, and they’re all really happy about it. I’m getting the visibility I need for everything from cash flow reporting to customer status to manpower requirements. And my customers are continuously impressed with the quality of reporting and service we provide.”
Brad LeDrew, President & CEO, Triumph EPCM

For More Information

For more information on 4castplus, please visit http://4castplus.com, email us at info@4castplus.com, or give us a call on +1-403-450-7878.

 

This case study is for informational purposes only. Jetsoft Group Inc. MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.