Six construction workers happy and clapping
Six construction workers happy and clapping

M Builds Optimizes HR Processes and Boosts Employee Well Being with CMiC - Sep 26, 2023

M Builds Selects CMiC to Improve Budgeting Processes, Increase Project Transparency and Heighten Communications

Toronto, Ontario, September 26, 2023 – CMiC, a leading Next Generation Construction ERP provider, recently announced a new partnership with M Builds, a trusted partner in development and construction services. To support the steady growth M Builds had been experiencing over the years, key decision makers embarked on a mission to find an industry-specific construction ERP that would fulfill business requirements for their financial and project management teams.  After evaluating four ERP providers, the decision was clear: CMiC would be the perfect fit to help M Builds achieve their long-term business goals.

M Builds: A Full-Service General Contracting Company Making their Mark in Western and Central Canada

Based out of Winnipeg Manitoba, M Builds is a leading general contracting company servicing construction projects in Ontario and Western Canada for over 50 years. Their service specializations include Design Build, Construction Management, Land Development, Project Management, General Contracting, Concrete, Masonry and Restoration Services.

As for their company structure, they have five operating companies – three are General Contractors, one is masonry, and one is concrete. With six investment companies and six holding companies, they have a high level of intercompany transactions with 60% of employees working in the office, while the remaining 40% work in the field.

The projects that they take on vary considerably both in scope and in complexity, where projects can run anywhere from one week to three years. 

Industries they serve include: both the public and private sectors, individual owners as well as residential. Key examples of projects they have completed include Bridgewater Retail Centre, Richardson College for the Environment, Prominence Way Retirement Community and Millenium Library.

The firm has a people-first culture, which is reinforced not only in the way that the leaders run the company, but also in terms of the processes they introduce and the systems they implement. As for the key values they uphold, community, innovation, sustainability, and collaboration stand as the key pillars.

Key Challenges: Outdated Systems, Lack of Transparency and Duplication of Labor

With consistent business growth and expansion experienced in recent years, leaders at M Builds recognized that the current systems in place would not be able to scale to match the growth trajectory they were on.

Jonas Enterprise software was only able to support operations until they reached a certain level of growth as the high number levels of redundant entries and ineffective workflows were slowing their progress.

Other challenges included:

  • The lack of transparency and access to costs – for instance, when the cost codes entries were complete, they didn’t have access to the invoice for months.

  • Overall reporting capabilities were weak, therefore, teams continued to use Excel.

  • Time tracking was still being captured via paper timesheets (many remote workers would take a picture of their timesheets using their phones and would then submit them for processing).

The use of this outdated system and the resultant inefficiencies created anxiety for many of their employees.  Equally as concerning was that the tool wasn’t providing M Builds’ customers with any value.

With customer satisfaction and employee retention being top of mind for their leadership team, they knew it was time for a paradigm shift.

The Software Evaluation Journey: The Quest to Find a Robust ERP with Industry-Specific Capabilities

As the first step to kickstarting the software evaluation journey, leaders put together a cross-departmental team, which was led by Robert Ferraro, Managing Partner, who put together a list of key requirements:

  • The ability to integrate all project documentation, data and communications in one system for financials (e.g., the ability to create consolidated financial statements).

  • Robust functionality, particularly in the areas of financials/accounting, bid management, forecasting to WIP, subcontractor management (as 85%-90% of their projects are assigned to subcontractors), electronic field time capture, and advanced cost capture capabilities.

  • Advanced mobile capabilities.

  • Company-wide access to documentation and data for all project team members (i.e., full transparency).

  • A very easy to use tool with a modern user interface.

After carefully evaluating four software providers, including Premier, Spectrum, and Acumatica, they made the decision to go with CMiC.

Robust Functionality and SaaS Software Deployment: CMiC Makes the Cut

According to Ferraro, “as the systems we were using in the past were no longer working for us and that it was within my scope to make a change, I focused on the bigger picture and the value we would be providing to our clients in the long term.” It was crystal clear that CMiC was the best way forward.

From an overall implementation perspective, they developed a 2-phased plan: the first focusing on Human Capital Management (HCM) and Project Controls and the latter focusing on Project Management (field) applications.

Phase 1: Human Capital Management Applications and Project Controls

They recently completed the implementation of key Human Capital Management (HCM) applications, which are designed to help them manage the unique labor requirements of their employee base and foster employee engagement with automated HR workflows.  They implemented the following applications:

  • Payroll, which enables their users to: a) process payroll and support compliance by delivering accurate employee paychecks, tax reporting, and regulatory rules, b) streamline routine administrative tasks and file tax returns easily and, c) share reports with their external accountants, HR leaders and executive management).

  • People Tracking, which, through its workforce management capabilities, lends itself to automating the routing of HR tasks and minimizing duplicate data entries.

  • Time Tracking, which allows their users to measure, track and accurately report labor hours across different projects and activities.

Phase 1 also included the implementation of CMiC Project Controls, providing access to the following features and capabilities:

  • Change Management, which enables their users to: a) manage the entire change order lifecycle, b) submit and approve change orders, c) generate change orders from completed RFIs and, d) approve requests from a single location.

  • Subcontractor Relationship Management, which equips their teams to: a) create, track and approve vendor applications, b) prequalify subcontractors before they start work on a project, c) manage licenses, trade types and insurance information and, d) store performance ratings and communication logs.

  • Bidding and Procurement Management, which facilitates the: a) integration of estimates, b) tracking and analyzing of bids, c) automation of bid receiving and the evaluation processes and, d) establishment of exclusions, inclusions and special pricing for bid packages.

  • Cost, Revenue and Budget Management, which enables their users to: a) track time and manage expenses, budgets and capital costs, b) create different cost philosophies and, c) create bills and invoices.

Phase 2: Project Management Applications

Currently undergoing implementation are key project management applications, which will equip their teams to complete complex projects with tightly managed costs and timeframes. By design, this construction management solutions suite will allow their teams to collaborate with all project stakeholders, control project changes, manage subcontractor tasks, stay on top of material suppliers, simplify the bid process, and manage documents effectively. On top of that, their managers will be able to accurately track labor productivity, manage labor budgets and payroll, and maintain the schedule of their field teams seamlessly.

Within this product category, they will be able to benefit from the robust capabilities of CMiC Document Management, which will integrate all their construction documents into one ecosystem.  Key features include:

  • Drawings, which will allow their users to view, mark up and share construction drawings to showcase each project’s technical details.

  • Specifications, which will help them meet customer requirements, honor contractual obligations, and set project standards.

  • Submittals, which will equip their teams to streamline the review and approval process and ensure that projects adhere to the terms of each contract.

  • RFIs, which will ensure that project teams can seek clarification on architectural drawings, construction plans or other project details.

From a software deployment perspective, CMiC’s SaaS-based software deployment will work with M Builds’ technical infrastructure, meet their technical requirements, and provide the following benefits:

  • Create “connected” jobsites.

  • Enable scalability without having to make customizations to the software/platform.

  • Provide shorter implementation and configuration timelines.

  • Facilitate easy data management and storage.

  • Provide faster timelines to process data and derive data-driven insights.

Delivering Customer Excellence: CMiC’s Dedicated Customer Teams Elevate M Builds’ Experience

Of course, there is more to the value that the partnership with CMiC delivers – it’s their customer service. According to Ferraro, “the experience working with the CMiC team so far has been very positive. Roxy (Grigorescu), our Senior Account Executive, has been great.  She’s been showing us the value that we can show to our clients.”

On top of that, they have also been very pleased with the performance of their assigned CMiC instructors – this has created an effective and streamlined onboarding process.

Early Wins: High User Adoption Rates and Employee Well Being

With the HCM applications and Project Controls in full use, leaders at M Builds have witnessed some key wins, including:

  • Increased Customer Satisfaction: With greater transparency in terms of project progress, change orders and communication logs, their customers are abreast of all changes and are more satisfied as a result.

  • Higher User Adoption Rates: Due to the ease of use and a dramatic decrease in repetitive activities, users are happier in their day-to-day roles.

  • Increased Well Being: The use of the ERP, as cited by Ferraro, lessened anxiety levels and “really helped the employees’ well being.”

  • Increased Project Transparency: Owners and project team members are kept up to date with all developments and/or changes (e.g. RFIs, invoices, schedules and tasks) and there has been a reduction in the delays/bottlenecks (i.e., everyone knows which current or outstanding tasks are assigned to which project member).

  • Heightened Communications: The fact that multiple teams are using the platform (and the use of communication logs) has led to more collaboration and increased communication.

Given that the project management (field) applications are still not in use indicates that this list of wins will continue to grow.

It’s safe to say that the improvement in project outcomes and accelerated time to value means that the leadership teams are satisfied.  In addition, with employee satisfaction on an upward trajectory means that the implementation of the CMiC ERP should help with retention as well, both in the short and long term.

To learn more about CMiC’s industry leading construction ERP, please click here.

About M Builds:

Headquartered in Winnipeg, Manitoba, with offices in Northwest Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta, M Builds has been proudly serving the construction needs of Western Canada for over 50 years.

We build on our love of community, well-assembled teams and creative problem solving to bring the best builds to Ontario & Western Canada.

For more information, please click here.

About CMiC:

As an industry pioneer, CMiC delivers complete and unified Financials and Project Management software solutions for construction and capital projects firms. CMiC’s powerful software transforms how firms optimize productivity, minimize risk and drive growth by planning and managing all financials, projects, resources, and content assets—from a Single Database Platform™. With customers throughout North America and overseas, CMiC serves one-quarter of ENR’s Top 400 Contractors and hundreds of small and mid-sized construction firms, from general and specialty contractors to heavy/highway and project owners. Over $100 billion in construction revenue is handled by CMiC annually.

For more information, please click here.