We replaced tedious, paper based estimation with a mobile app for a construction company with $20mm worth of estimates captured in the first year of launch.

Client

Riverside Millwork Group

Expertise

Strategy, Product Design, Development

Mario Gianniotis has an incredibly difficult job. Mario is a co-founder and partner with Riverside Millwork Group (RMG), a family run business based in Waterloo, Ontario. Giannotis oversees the manufacturing, supply and installation of home woodwork products for the company that’s grown rapidly over 12 years. 

The Challenge:   

Estimating the cost to build and install custom-home construction materials accurately amongst various options is difficult, even more so when relying on a pen-and-paper approach, with handwritten input from staff in the field. 

As RMG’s business grew, Gianniotis knew the company had to adjust its enterprise resource planning (‘ERP’) to improve RMG’s operational procedures, its bottom line and to scale safely and smartly. 

Enter Ready Set Go:

In 2017 Ready Set Go's Co-Founder, Dayton Perriera, met with Mario to talk about increasing RMG's productivity and revenue on client projects by converting to a digital-based estimates system - a solution Mario had desired for some time.  

RMG supplies for thousands of houses and buildings a year. With that, Dayton first needed to understand the scale of RMG’s construction projects and how their staff process in the field.

So, Dayton grabbed a pair of steel-toe boots, a hard hat and shadowed RMG supervisors and crews on home-construction projects for three weeks from London, Ontario to Boston, MA.  

After returning to Toronto, Dayon and the Ready Set Go began with a design ‘sprint’ (i.e., how Ready Set Go approaches complex design challenges, more <txt-link>here<txt-link>) to decide how to build RMG’s estimates tool. Bonus - they had a week to pull it off and present it to RMG. 

Ready Set Go started with RMG’s paper-based order form as the basis. Dayton felt the digital product should feel familiar to RMG’s staff in the field and easy to use.

So Dayton created a sketch-based visual design, which he used to develop the product’s prototype that ultimately transformed into an app called ‘Takeoff’: an industry term for the scope of materials required to complete a construction job to minimize errors along the way.

The Challenge:

RMG’s pen and paper-based construction estimates were prone to human error, costing the company time and money on construction projects. Here’s why:

  1. An employee in the field would take photos of a given project’s material requirements.
  2. They’d email these photos to staff at RMG’s order desk.
  3. That person entered the requirements into their resource planning system by hand.
  4. They’d then create a separate document for the millworking shop floor folks to pick the right construction tools for the job, which was really a guess as the shop didn’t communicate directly with RMG staff on site.
  5. The result: the shop crew had to decide how to build the millwork materials in isolation, for hundreds, even thousands of homes in a new housing complex project. Ultimately, RMG widened its margin for error and, in turn, increased the company’s project construction costs.

The Solution:

The time Dayton spent with RMG on-site proved invaluable and resulted in Ready Set Go’s solution: The Takeoff app, which automated each step in RMG’s estimates process in real-time. Effectively, Ready Set Go not only removed human error from the process but the humans themselves.

Now, nobody at Riverside Millwork Group has to think about which doors need drilling anymore or whether a home comes installed with plain or sprung moulding when preparing an estimate. With Takeoff, each product added to a particular house comes directly from a database of skills and products. This meant that RMG could now create virtually error-free estimates about 3-to-4 times faster.

“Before, when Riverside Millwork worked on an entire subdivision with a hundred 100 homes on each block, you had to look at the nuances in every single house,” Dayton says. “Now, with the Takeoff app, you can just walk right in.”

The Result:

Ready Set Go shared the Takeoff app prototype with Mario, who tested it himself. Mario also provided feedback from RMG staff, business partners and the company’s vendors, who grasped the efficiencies and scale his company could achieve through the app. Three months later, RMG gave Read Set Go the green light to develop the app, released in 2018.

It’s difficult to quantify precisely how many estimate-errors Ready Set Go reduced with the Takeoff app, given the sheer volume RMG creates across multiple job sites. However, RMG happily reports that they've seen a substantial drop in errors and feel a lot more confident with their estimates’ quality.

Three years later, Ready Set Go is still working with RMG, with lots of new Takeoff features in the pipeline.

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