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Overall Satisfaction with HCSS
The people at HCSS who I interact with, whether it is a support technician, product manager, or the HCSS President, Mike Rydin, are as passionate at making construction management for heavy civil contractors a valuable experience as I am. They want to get us emphatic, project management addicted people in to tell them why their product is not working, and work with us to design the software to work for us.
HCSS is good for the heavy civil contractor; it is going to help us to manage our projects with precision, accuracy, and accountability.
I was not employed with PPI upon implementation.
I would prefer to reference my previous statement, that each company needs to evaluate its culture and address your implementation accordingly. The purchasing company should assign an employee as point person and really take charge of not just the technical side of the implementation (HCSS pretty much handles that), but focus on company culture and training.
We are using HCSS across multiple departments in our organization.
We initially purchased the HCSS software (HeavyJob, HeavyBid, and Dispatcher) to focus on resource management and project cost. The programs have their upsides and downsides. Basic functions of dispatched crews, field-generated time cards, to time card review/approval and minimized keystrokes for reduced errors in the payroll department are great. The hardest part, is getting full use of the program to be earning a ROI that the HCSS salespeople sell companies on.
As with most technology, the purchase is not the solution, and the new business problem created by purchasing HCSS, was that people were only using it for time cards (which makes for one expensive time card program). Prior to purchasing HCSS (or any technology for that matter), a company needs to take a long hard look at the company culture and establish a good implementation plan to ensure that your company utilizes HCSS to it's fullest potential. After all, you are paying for the fancy modules even if you are not using them. Commit to continual improvements and a training program.
HCSS is FANTASTIC at collecting and implementing customer feedback; they want to build a product that we heavy civil contractors want to use.
- Customer service. I call them at least a couple times per week when I run into an issue. They resolve the issue or kick it up to the next level, and treat each one of my calls with proper urgency and concern.
- Access to submit my recommendations for improvement. The HCSS Product Portal has really made it easy to enter my suggestions, review suggestions from others, and vote.
- The HCSS Help website; it is so easy to access past webinars, and procedures. This is usually my first stop (now) before calling the support line.
- The HeavyJob mobile has really been a great advancement for us. Our foremen are very happy after switching from the Field (laptop) version to Mobile (iPad) version of time cards. Some of them are even coming in and asking "what else can we do" with the program, to become more efficient in the field. It has been quite inspiring.
- In HeavyJob, the system needs improvement for Change Management. In construction, a change in condition on the jobsite happens often, and as a project manager, I need to be able to confidently track any and all issues (regardless of status). Currently, HCSS does not have a solution for this. I have been working with them to improve the functionality, but they are not there yet.
- In HeavyJob, the mobile features have improved functions in the field, but those mobile improvements have made for major drawbacks in the office. Specifically, the Multi Job time card function (MJ). Due to the outdated manager system, the approvers (PMs) are forced to log into HeavyJob Web, which is tremendously slow. Approving time cards has now become a big time consuming ordeal as we only have the ability to approve one time card at a time.
- The Dispatcher program is too slow. The amount of data being processed is not an acceptable excuse. HCSS needs to get better compression to resolve the major bog-down for changes/updates to be made on the dashboard, as well as when printing reports/
- The E360 program needs improvement on the purchase order process.
- In general, there need to be more compatibility and function between all of the HCSS products. I want the information tracked in one module to be automatically synced with the other; I want to easily navigate in and out of all modules as well. This all needs creation and improvement.
- Operations / Project Management
- Equipment Management
One of the best functions from an Operations / Project Management standpoint are the overview reports we run. These are higher-level reports in HeavyJob that allow area/project executives to identify any projects that may be trending off production. Identifying any potential areas of concern starts the communication with the project team up and down the chain.
From there, we determine if it is user-error problem, for which we arrange for more training; if it is a production problem, we bring in the right people to review how we can improve our field performance; if it was an estimate problem, we communicate to the estimating department. In the end, the resolution to the "issue" shows resolved one way or another in the project forecast.
Better control of our financials early, allow us to make decisions and plan for the future.
For companies looking to responsibly manage their project financials with reliable* cost/revenue data, HCSS HeavyJob is a great option. For companies who own, fuel, and maintain their own equipment, the Dispatcher, E360, and FuelerPlus programs are useful addons and will provide reliable* cost data for forecasting company equipment costs and needs.
*The "less appropriate" scenario is when a company is ill-prepared to be culturally dedicated to the process of reviewing the data for accuracy and completion. The biggest downfall of HCSS is that if the data is bad, EVERYTHING else is garbage. I cannot stress enough the importance of identifying what kind of a culture your company has, then taking steps to modify and alter so that using the system will happen effectively. Lastly, commit to continuous quality control practices.