CMiC Miron Construction consolidates 18 systems with ‘All-in-One’ CMiC platform and sets the stage for expanded possibilities.
The Challenge: Managing Growth
Miron Construction Co., Inc. has come a long way since its founding in 1918 by Patrick G. Miron. While its roots have always been in commercial and industrial projects, the scope and scale of their jobs has grown considerably, as have their procurement methods. Over the last decade, much of the company’s work has moved from hard to negotiated bids. Construction management and services, which have always included self-performed concrete, steel, masonry and carpentry work, have expanded to include preconstruction and virtual construction services.
That growth also highlighted some disconnects in the way the various offices and field crews communicated, in part due to disparate systems. By 2014, the company relied on about 18 different systems that were all siloed.
Edward Ruffolo, Director of Technology Innovation at Miron Construction, further explained, “Like others at the time, our workflow interfaces were largely paper-based. We’d print a subcontract and give it to accounting for input. We realized we were outgrowing our systems and knew the mom-and-pop technology workflows had to stop. We needed a way for our offices to digitally come together.”
With an eye on a fully integrated system that connects accounting and payroll with project management and project controls, the company launched an evaluation of leading ERP solutions.
“Our vision was an all-in-one system,” Ruffolo confirmed. “While there were a number of options available, some of the solutions were not streamlined enough while others seemed a little too big and complex for our needs or were not designed for the construction industry. CMiC seemed to have the best integration story.”
Miron began their CMiC implementation in 2014.
The Solution: Improving Process Execution with a Unified Platform
“Our goal was not to replicate old processes. We needed to adapt our methods to match the workflows put in place through the integrated system. We knew it would be difficult for some of our people to make concessions. This was by far the hardest part of the process—but the long-term rewards made it all worthwhile.” — Edward Ruffolo, Director of Technology Innovation, Miron Construction Co., Inc.
Any major enterprise technology overhaul presents myriad hurdles, and Miron’s transition was no exception.
Ruffolo added, “Over many decades, our people had developed very customized methods for completing individual tasks. The tools we used gave our teams exactly what they needed to do their jobs. Unfortunately, those systems didn’t deliver enterprise-class levels of performance or lead to improved efficiencies, especially as cost and schedule demands got tighter.”
As part of the deployment, over the course of several months Ruffolo and his team undertook an exhaustive data conversion for every current and upcoming project, drilling all the way down to the transaction and contract levels.
Notably, for the first six months Ruffolo and his team held the line at customizations. “Our goal was not to replicate old processes. We needed to adapt our methods to match the workflows put in place through the integrated system. We knew it would be difficult for some of our people to make concessions. This was by far the hardest part of the process—but the long-term rewards made it all worthwhile.”
Miron made the transition to CMiC over the long July 4, 2014 weekend, according to Ruffolo. “There was no way to piecemeal this implementation. We kicked all employees out, ran the conversion and unplugged the old system. We called it ‘the big bang.’ The first few months were a steep learning curve for most users, but the owner gave everyone a summer bonus in appreciation of the extra effort to complete the transition,” he added.
Along with the CMiC rollout, Miron reorganized its groups into project executive teams. Each project team now operates almost as a small company, with dedicated project managers and accounting personnel. These groups have the power to run the entire project: they take ownership without having to reach out to larger departments with regard to billing, project management, project controls, change orders or tracking.
“The CMiC unified platform dovetailed nicely with our new teams approach,” Ruffolo added. “The project exec team would not have been possible without CMiC. We needed an enterprise level solution to make it work. With CMiC, our people had the tools to take more ownership of their work.”
The Result: Realizing Value Fast and Leveraging Integrations
“As we have become more adept at fully utilizing all the features, we continue to find more value and benefits from the application. We are impressed with the scope of the platform, as CMiC handles almost all aspects of our financials, human capital management and project management.” — Edward Ruffolo, Director of Technology Innovation, Miron Construction Co., Inc.
The Independence Day weekend transition proved to be a milestone moment for Miron.
“The first six months were certainly challenging, as everyone adjusted. As our people got more comfortable with custom reports and workflows, the value delivered by the integrated system accelerated,” said Ruffolo. “By 2015, things really took off.”
He points to job cost reporting as one area of almost immediate benefit. Ruffolo added, “With CMiC, a job cost report is input once, and the relevant data is updated everywhere. That’s been a huge win for us.”
Many don’t remember the old days of job cost reporting, but Ruffolo does. “The entire process was tedious. A project manager issued a change order that has to go to accounting for input and subsequently transferred, reconciled and monitored through the process. We had a lot of people checking and rechecking work for accuracy—and that’s just for one change order. Then, at end of the month, the project manager would need to conduct an audit of all the executed steps.”
Ruffolo admitted that it’s hard to quantify the full value of the integrated system. “As we have become more adept at fully utilizing all the features, we continue to find more value and benefits from the application. We are impressed with the scope of the platform, as CMiC handles almost all aspects of our financials, human capital management and project management.”
For Miron, one of the really exciting aspects of the CMiC deployment is the platform’s ability to easily integrate with complementary technologies.
“It continues to be important for us to add technologies that deliver incremental value and leverage the core ERP investment, rather than adopting new technologies that encroach on existing procedures already addressed by the ERP system,” Ruffolo added.
For instance, using CMiC’s pre-built adapters, Miron easily integrated the Kofax Optical Character Recognition (OCR) system to automatically recognize vendor and invoice information directly from scanned or emailed invoices. Once the information has been processed and verified, it’s electronically posted to the CMiC workflow engine for accounts payable and subcontractor request for payment processing. Using Kofax OCR saves significant time in initially indexing and routing the invoices, without compromising or replacing the existing CMiC-based workflow processing.
As well, Miron has integrated DocuSign, a CMiC partner solution, to support digital signatures for subcontractor agreements, purchase orders and subcontract revisions.
The Future: Expanded Possibilities
“For our project managers, instead of hauling around laptops to perform audits, they can easily access the CMiC mobile field app using a smartphone at the jobsite. In addition, they can approve invoices directly from workflow notifications on their phones.” — Kelly Wildenberg, Business Analysis Manager, Miron Construction Co., Inc.
Miron is looking forward to the rest of 2021 with upgrades and new integrations.
The company is in the final stages of migrating to CMIC R12, which will be available to the 400 plus users at the company in 2021.
Kelly Wildenberg, Business Analysis Manager with Miron responsible for new system implementation, said, “We’re looking forward to using some of the new features in R12 that will help us further connect and collaborate.”
With R12, she’s looking forward to deploying CMiC’s Mobile Crew Time (MCT), which is currently being piloted. The MCT mobile time tracking solution incorporates automated time-in/time-out data capture capabilities and RFID technology enabled features.
Wildenberg believes the solution will further improve efficiency of communication between the field and office. “For our project managers, instead of hauling around laptops to perform audits, they can easily access the CMiC mobile field app using a smartphone at the jobsite,” states Wildenberg. “In addition, they can approve invoices directly from workflow notifications on their phones.”
“As well, we can move forward with CMiC’s Pay request solution and the Oracle/Textura integration, both of which will help automate and manage data from thousands of subcontractor and contract change orders that the firm handles,” she added.
When asked about recommendations to other construction firms looking to gain the benefits of a unified accounting and project management platform, Wildenberg is quick to say, “Limit your customization and be open minded about changing your business processes. The quickest way to get into a construction-specific ERP is to use it the way it’s intended to work. I believe that’s why we were able to implement CMiC R12 – including the integration of multiple 3rd party products – in months, compared to others who spend millions and years to customize and deploy their systems.”
Ruffolo agreed, and added, “While we customized reports and workflows, we did not touch the basic internal functions of CMiC. Essentially, we changed our processes and used the software as the facilitator to enable those workflows. The approach has proven to be very valuable. It helps to remember that an ERP deployment is not just about implementing software—it’s primarily about business process improvements.”