Live Field Data Protects Your Budget 

Technology permeates every aspect of the construction job site, giving contractors better control of their projects, workforces, safety and budgets. And while creating financially efficient job sites can be a tall order, live field data is a reliable way to get on track. With so many ways live field data streamline business and increase profits, we decided to go straight to the experts to break things down.  

Jimmy Gabbard is the IT Manager at Potter Concrete and Austin Chiapuzio is a Systems Engineer at Flair Data Systems. They join the podcast to talk about an exciting data management project they’ve been working on –– collecting live field data from all of Potter Concrete’s job sites. In this episode, they share how construction teams can leverage data, hands-on reporting and how live field data can protect your construction budget.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Review your processes to identify inefficiencies. The first step to ensure a financially efficient job site is to pour over your processes. This begins by analyzing live field data, which gives you the ability to see all of your teams, projects and jobs –– the very things that impact your budget the most.
  2. Get prepared to implement new technology. When construction companies decide to invest in live field data, they can’t assume it’s like an on/off switch. The implementation of any new system or software requires putting a plan in place. This means understanding what information is needed on the job site and how you are going to incorporate your current standard operating procedure.
  3. Stay focused on your budget. Even with the top technology at your fingertips, you can’t make the most of it if you aren’t asking the right questions. What data do you need access to? What are the implications for my budget? Will this data allow me to make better decisions? When you stay focused on your budget, and what impacts it, you’ll better understand how live field data can improve your business.

 

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Episode Transcript:

Mike Merrill:

Hello, and welcome to the Mobile Workforce Podcast. I’m your host, Mike Merrill, and today we’re sitting down with Jimmy Gabbard, who is the information technology manager at Potter Concrete, and Austin Chiapuzio, a solutions architect at Flair Data Systems. We’re going to discuss how Potter Concrete is enjoying the benefits of live field data and a tracking system that they have developed and customized, leveraging mobile and cloud technology on smart devices.

 

Mike Merrill:

Really looking forward to the conversation today with Jimmy and Austin, and also this fresh approach in content for our episodes. Glad to have you guys with us today.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Thank you.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Thank you, thank you.

 

Mike Merrill:

Absolutely. Before we jump into the conversation, can you gentlemen give the listeners a little bit of a quick introduction of yourselves and maybe your experience? Jimmy, if you want to go first, and then Austin, you can go after.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Sure. I was born and raised in Chicago. Moved to Dallas early ’90s, ’94. Got involved in IT mid-’90s. Started out as a PC technician, went to a systems admin, junior admin, worked as an admin and then I’m in the role now here at Potter Concrete as the IT manager.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

I’ve been in the industry for over 20 years and seen a lot. I remember the days of server rows being full of modems, so that goes way back. That’s a little bio for me.

 

Mike Merrill:

Great. How about you, Austin?

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

I spent most of my life here in the Dallas, Texas, area. I went to college at UT Austin, hook ’em, horns. I started working at Flair Data Systems as an intern back in high school. My dad actually worked for the same company, so I helped him out during summer breaks, spring breaks, things like that, specifically doing voiceover IP. That’s when I got the glorious opportunity to meet Mr. Gabbard here. I helped install the phone system for him 14 years ago when you guys moved to the new building?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

You were a young pup.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

I was. I was 16 years old. Went to college, came back, did Cisco voiceover IP for several years, then Flair Data Systems opened an analytics division. Being the math nerd that I am, I immediately jumped on that opportunity and have been doing analytics ever since.

 

Mike Merrill:

Wow, so a very technical background. Good for you. It sounds like Jimmy’s aligned with the right kind of guy to accomplish the work that he’s doing.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Yeah, we’ll see.

 

Mike Merrill:

The jury’s still out. Okay, even after 14 years, huh?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Yeah, I know, right?

 

Mike Merrill:

Well, one of the most important aspects of construction and the industry today, really, is the technology that companies are leveraging, so can you tell us a little bit about this project that you guys have created and how you are utilizing web solutions and mobile technology to help your construction business?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

A little bit of issue of how it came about, I’ve been working with Flair Data Systems about 15 years. We had a customer appreciation, actually Flair Data had a customer appreciation night and so my wife and I, we went. I seen Austin over there at his little booth, his little Click booth. He walks over.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

I hadn’t seen him in a while so I’m like, “Hey, what are you doing?” He was talking about analytics and I’m like, “Okay.” Well, my wife does analytics for DHS. She does Power BI, so of course, they started talking nerd. I’m like, “Oh, my gosh.”

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Then they started getting detailed as far as the data they’re pulling and what they’re able to see and how their users are utilizing it and making business decisions. I’m like, “Hmm. That’s interesting. I wonder if it can help us with our saving money and can it see this and can it see that.”

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

I started asking a few questions and I think at the end of the night, I’m like, “Hey, you need to come out, talk to my manager, which is the CEO, and let’s just see what it can and can’t do.” Here we are a year later and it’s worked out very well so far.

 

Mike Merrill:

Wow, so you’re about a year into this project or since you got this thing going?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Yes.

 

Mike Merrill:

Awesome. Austin, tell us a little bit about Click. What is that exactly and how does that relate to what Jimmy’s trying to do at Potter?

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Click is a business analyst tool. It takes a bunch of different data from a bunch of different data sources, marries it together and then provides front end visualizations on that said data. As he mentioned, Power BI is another competitor to Click. They both do similar things, Power BI, Tableau, Click. All three of them are data analytics tools.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

As far as what it does for Jimmy, he has multiple data sources for the time being. He uses About Time and Timberline, so it connects to the backend database of both About Time and Timberline, pulls the data in. Then I’m able to take these two different data sources, marry them together and use data from both these different data sources to provide insights and things like that into what they’re doing on a daily basis.

 

Mike Merrill:

Wow, so you’re essentially aggregating data from multiple systems and presenting it in a more meaningful way.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Correct. There’s a lot simpler way of saying it.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Yeah, there is.

 

Mike Merrill:

Well, so if we’re being honest, Jimmy, isn’t that normally a little bit outside of the scope of what most subcontractors are doing today?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Absolutely. Most subcontractors, you hear the word analytics, data analytics. My first thought was that’s a number. That’s going to cost some money, but at the same time, you’ve got to think about, “Okay, what can it do for you, as a subcontractor?” Some contractors, a lot of them are small. There’s some decent size ones, but any area that you can cut cost and know where you’re, if you will, winning, areas you’re losing, it’s a great insight, on a daily basis, to know how your business is doing.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Subcontractors, man, I can’t say it enough. You need a tool that you can dive deep into to see all of your numbers because if you don’t know, you don’t know whether you’re winning or losing on a daily basis. On a daily basis, you can make just better business decisions and you see the train before it falls off the track.

 

Mike Merrill:

Yeah, that’s powerful, very well stated. I don’t know if you put a calculator on those numbers of if you even know what kind of money you’re talking. Even in general terms, how much money do you think you’ve saved from implementing a system like this?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

We’ve talked about that, my manager and I. It’s hard to put numbers on that right now, but I will tell you, being able to look at the Click dashboard and what Austin has done for us, it’s going to be difficult unless something catastrophic happens on a job site, to lose money.

 

Mike Merrill:

I like that. I think any business should like to be able to make a statement like that, especially if they mean it and it’s true.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Something I heard Noel say, I’m pretty sure it was last week, a lot of the data we’re showing on this visualization is something they used to get, but it was something that would take anywhere between six to a dozen accountants digging through their data to be able to provide the same type of information. Even then, it was just in Excel format. It was just numbers, which is meaningful to someone who understands those numbers, but it’s also hard to look at it and know right off the bat what’s going on, or as Jimmy always says, am I winning or losing? As far as the numbers savings, I guess you could say it’s however much those accountant salaries are.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Those number change daily, so they might work on those numbers for a week. Well, by then, you’ve already spent $10,000 in labor, so those numbers that you are supplying to those guys, it doesn’t matter.

 

Mike Merrill:

Old news.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Yeah, old news.

 

Mike Merrill:

Wow. Yeah, that’s a common thing that we hear in construction and, I think, just generally. People, they’re resistant to change and you hear if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it or we’ve always done it this way; that’s why we’re still doing it this way, we’re a business, we’re still making money. What would you say to people that are making claims like that but don’t understand what you’ve been able to figure out here?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

How do you know you’re making money? Can you make more money? How can you make more money? By something like Click being used with About Time, all of our numbers go through About Time. About Time is so vital in this process and to be able to see all of our units and panels and slabs and soon to be rebar, you get a deep down dirty view of everything that you’re making money on and everything that you’re losing money on.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

We have a crew that works on a Saturday. That’s a $6,000 day. Did you really have to work Saturday overtime? What did that do for us? Was that a game changer, working an extra day for $7,000, $6,000? It’s stuff like that. That’s great data to have and I can tell you what the guy did yesterday, how much you spent yesterday, who I spent it on. People don’t have that information now unless you go to accounting and you get it a week later.

 

Mike Merrill:

Essentially, for those that don’t know, About Time is a mobile technology. It works offline. It collects the time and the labor and the production. Why would you say that is becoming such a valuable tool, and not just the software itself, but the process? What makes it so different than what you were doing before?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

We were doing time cards before. Time cards is labor intense. You might have a few extra employees that you really didn’t have. Anybody can manipulate the time, an extra two or three hours here, my cousin needs five hours here this week, and this and that, ghost employees. Those things happen. It is what it is.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

When we implemented About Time, we took away the ability for superintendents to be able to change time. We have one person that does that. That one person gets an approval from the COO or VP to change that time and so pretty much, whatever they worked, they get paid for.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

You clock in at 9:37, it’s not 9:45 or 9:39:15. There’s not 15-minute grace period. You get paid to the minute and that’s a big number when you have a company of 1,000 employees. It’s a big number of savings. We saved over a million dollars the first year with About Time in just payroll.

 

Mike Merrill:

Wow.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

That’s incredible and even About Time will say this. In looking at About Time, our first thought was, “Wow, that’s a number. That’s a big number,” like with Click. Click’s not as big as About Time’s, but we couldn’t afford not to have About Time. Just the amount of money that we would save. If we’re going to pay a guy to work 40 hours, he worked 40 hours, not 42 hours, not 41 hours. About Time has brought that to the table and it’s just been a game changer, a game changer.

 

Mike Merrill:

I love that you addressed the issue up front that really at the source where the data is being collected, by who and holding them accountable. Then when it comes to great work on the back end, he’s taking that manual calculation, tabulation, spreadsheet entry out of the mix and giving it back to you in a way you want to see it.

 

Mike Merrill:

Austin, on your end of things, how have you felt the implementation of this new process that you guys have developed is going and what are some of the lessons that you’ve learned in helping field adoption and the company enjoy the benefits of the work you’ve put in?

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

The implementation has been super smooth. One of the problems I commonly run into is companies just want to go, go, go, go, go. They want everything yesterday. One of the things that I’ve just praised Potter and Jimmy and Noel for is validation. We’ve gone in there, we connected the database, brought all the data in, did the math on it, made sure that everything lined up, all the numbers looked right, made sure that everything was perfect from a data standpoint, and in that process, found some process flaws in how they were doing their time entry, how they were doing payroll, things like that.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Fixed those processes and then slowly moved forward. It has been invaluable, being able to take it step by step, being able to validate things at every step of the way. It’s going to make going forward that much simpler.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Getting the initial setup was super important and then now whenever we go add phase codes, when we add other data sources, we don’t have to worry about is this data right. We know this data is right. When I look at this number, I don’t have to say, “Why is that number wrong?” It’s not. That number’s right.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Yeah, we’ve done a lot of validation, a ton of validation to make sure everything is correct because when I rolled out About Time, it was a big roll out to a lot of people and what I didn’t want to have happen, a lot of times when companies roll out an application, they roll it out, get it all out there and it’s not fully complete, if you will, because a lot of times IT departments get a thumb on them and we need to get it out as fast as possible.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

The problem with that if things don’t work correctly, you get a bunch of people shooting holes in it. Then you get a bunch of people saying, “Oh, that’s junk software. It’s not going to work.” With About Time, we rolled About Time out to just a few superintendents. They tested it for a few months. Then we got more superintendents involved. That’s what we did with Click.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

We validated, validated, validated to make sure everything was correct. Now going forward, when we start adding equipment in through About Time, add in more data sources through About Time and whatnot, it’s going to make things go that much more cleaner, smoother. I’m so sorry for Austin because I beat that kid up with, “Are you sure” and “This isn’t right.” He’s like, “Well, you’re doing this wrong.” I’m like, “No, I’m not. Oh, wait. Yeah, I am.” There’s a lot of that, which is great that we have that relationship that we can badger back and forth, but the validation has been priceless, just priceless.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

He also built an app. I think it’s in Click, where it validates weekly time, hours and dollar amount with Timberline and About Time. We can see if somebody added time into Timberline and not into About Time. Those numbers will be off, so that’s a great validation for our owner, for VPs and CEO, right? Pretty much it goes back to, “Okay, if you’re going to pay for 40, I want to make sure you can pay for 40.” All the time goes through About Time and through Timberline, so when that validation is off, we know right away. You can’t get away with anything.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

I can see if people put time into the wrong phase code, so if a superintendent clicks the wrong button and now they’re putting their time into panels instead of the superintendent phase code, I can immediately say, “Hey, that time is not supposed to be there. Go back, fix it,” and everything is married up. As far as from a backend data perspective, it’s all clean and accurate.

 

Mike Merrill:

Yeah, that’s fantastic. That is powerful. Of course, as Jimmy’s field guys are collecting the data out the source, Sage 300 RE or the Timberline product is the Bible, if you will, the master database and because your About Time database and your Timberline are Sage database are integrated, you’ve got them sharing the same dataset. I love that middle piece that you’ve got other validation going on, making sure visually that people can keep things balanced out. You’ve found a lot of holes, it sounds like, and plugged them.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Trying to. He’s done a great job.

 

Mike Merrill:

With that, going back a little bit, Jimmy, are there any things on the roll out or implementation of this you wish you would have done a little differently and maybe also, what did you do that worked really, really well that others might be able to learn from?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Austin and I talk about this all the time, what we wish we would have done better is knowing what question to ask. That’s big, why this and why that, so that’s a big one. What was the other question? I’m sorry?

 

Mike Merrill:

Oh, that’s okay, and then what did you think went really well or exceeded your expectations, was awesome, was a good approach?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Exceeded my expectations? We have a magnifying glass into every part of our data. I’m blown away at what Click can do for us. I’m still just amazed every time he says, “Oh, it can do this; it can do that.” I look at him like, “You’ve got to be kidding me.” That’s amazing in itself right there. Hopefully, I answered your question.

 

Mike Merrill:

Yeah, that’s great. Between the two of you, it sounds like you’ve both been through similar projects with other systems. Jimmy, obviously, you learned how not to roll it out before you even started this, right? That probably helped. Would you say that’s accurate?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

That’s highly accurate. At other companies, we’ve rolled things out and you’re having to just chase your tail trying to fix things, and you knew what was going to happen when you rolled it out so fast.

 

Mike Merrill:

Speaking of that type of a rollout, if you look back and think of where this decision came from, who made it? Did you make it? Was it your executives? Did they put you on a mission to go find something? How did the idea even come about to look for a solution like this?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

There was no mission. Nobody sent me on a task to go find it. I have a money-saving mindset. It’s just what it is. I try and find ways to save money, and it just happened. I happened to be at the right event and he’s in the right kind of software and my mind started going. He knows how my mind is. My manager knows how my mind is, and I’m like, “Wow, this has got to be able to help us.” It just happened.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Click does a really good job. I wanted to bring a point back on what Jimmy was mentioning on knowing what question to ask. Click, and data analytics in general, does a great job at answering questions and giving you more precise questions to ask. When we first started this, if I could go back and change anything, the one thing I’d go back and change is finding out specifically what question they wanted answered.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

When we first started it, we got in there. We looked at the data, found what data they had access to, gave some stuff on what I could show, but didn’t really have any guidance on what I was showing. I would show them this and they would say, “Oh, that’s cool, but can it do this?” Then we’d show them this and it was, “Oh, that’s cool, but I really want to see it this way.” Once they asked the question, “Am I winning or losing,” and that was the big question they asked, once they asked that, it was off to the races.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

That made it super easy to be able to see. When you first look at this dashboard, you can see a speedometer that has green, yellow, red. If your speedometer’s in the green, you’re doing good. If it’s in the yellow, you might want to look into stuff and if it’s in the red, as Jimmy says, “Some tang wrong.”

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

It does a really good job at answering questions and once you ask that question, am I winning or losing, if you’re losing, it does an even better job at giving you reasons why. The next thing that we would do it try to answer the questions, why am I losing, where am I losing, things like that. Then you can drill down and look and be able to see, like Jimmy was saying, “Did I spend $7,000 in overtime that I didn’t need to spend? Did someone put their time in the wrong phase code? Are they moving money around? Was there eight people on a job site and you only finished two panels? Why did you only finish two panels when you had this many people?”

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

It gives you more direct and specific questions to ask. It just does a really good job of doing that. As my VP says, analytics is a feedback loop. We just analytics to find opportunities for process changes to boost performance. Then you use the analytics to see those performance boosts and then find other areas where you can become more efficient. It’s just a good way of giving an overview or insight into that information.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

That’s a good point, to be more efficient. Last week we had a meeting with five field superintendents and we were showing them Click and what it’s doing for us and why it’s so important to enter the units in through About Time. We created a form in About Time to be able to enter units and we sync it daily and it populates Click.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Towards the end of the meeting, I’m like, “Look, this is a fabulous tool. It’s going to make you a better superintendent. You’re going to get up in the morning and you’re going to look at your dashboard because we’re going to present it to them on their iPads, wherever they’re at, and they’ll be able to see their speedometer. Are they red, yellow, green?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

The red areas, they’re calling somebody. Our project managers, same thing. Why is this red? Pick your phone up, you’re calling the superintendent, “Hey, we’re red on panels. Why is that?” If we keep going this way, we’re going to lose $75,000, so what a great tool to know whether you’re going to lose money and you’re a week into the job, starting the job, and it’s already trending for you. It doesn’t get any better than that, so the About Time and the Click, the way they flow together and work, they were meant for each other.

 

Mike Merrill:

Wow, a match made in heaven, huh?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

A match made in heaven.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Something cool, also, that has come out of this is, like Jimmy said, we’re moving into equipment next. There’s a ton that can be done in About Time. Jimmy’s forgotten more about About Time than I know, but just in looking in the backend database, I can see all these tables and I can see all these different fields that they’re currently not taking advantage of.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

It’s other things that they can use, things like the form. We built that form and that was something that existed that Jimmy was unaware of from the beginning. In doing this, he’s also doing more in About Time and utilizing their existing software more to give more data to get more insights. That’s, again, where that feedback loop is. It’s what can I do to get better visibility into my day to day business without actually having to go out to the job site and physically look at what’s going on.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Austin, talk about the geofencing that I tasked you to do. We have a girl that does face confirmation and geofencing. It tracks guys if they’re clocking outside the geofence of inside or whatever. There’s some great reports in About Time that she’s been utilizing for, I’d say, six or eight months. I’m like, “Hey, can you pull that data from About Time?” Of course, he goes through his big long deal of, “I can do this. Let me pull this.” I’m like, “Just do it.” He’s working on a dashboard for her that’s going to pull all that information.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Right now, back to the validation app that Jimmy was talking about, right now all it does is it looks at Timberline and About Time and says whether or not the hours match, which is huge, as Jimmy says, but along with that, everything needs checks and balances, so things like that geofencing. About Time does a great job at being able to see that information. It’s super valuable information, but it takes a second to go through all those different entries, being able to find which ones are within a certain range, which ones are outside a certain range.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

I have the ability to see their home address as well as the address of the job site. Then I can take the address that they clocked in at or the coordinates. Then I can say, “Okay, I have this coordinate that they clocked in at. I have the coordinate of the job site and I have the coordinate of their home address. Now give me the difference between all of this.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

I can tell you, okay, they clocked in five miles away from the job site, but they clocked in half a mile from their house, so just right off the bat, I can tell you who’s not clocking in from their job site and if they aren’t, how close are the clocking in to their home address that they have in Timberline. Again, that address is not in About Time. It’s data that’s in Timberline and utilize that with what About Time is doing to be able to give more insight into that data and make it quicker to see.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

All of the people are at the top so instead of having to go through everybody, she just clicks, “Okay, I want to see people that are clocking in greater than X distance away, greater than five miles away.” Now she has a condensed list of people she can look at. It’s a better use of her time.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

A result of that is, “Okay, why are you doing that? I don’t want to pay you an extra 30 minutes there” and oh, by the way, when they get home, then they clock out. We’re able to see that data through About Time. That’s an hour a day for one employee. How many people are doing that? That’s a big number at the end of the year. That’s information that About Time gives us and Click just compiles it and gives us what we need to see.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Yeah, About Time is super awesome and a lot of the stuff that I’ve seen from About Time, it collects great data. You can never have enough data but the problem with having as much data as we’re given is we don’t necessarily have a tool to see it easily. That’s where Click comes in.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

A lot of people will see this use case and they’ll say, “Okay, well I don’t necessarily have the same type of situation that Potter or Jimmy has. It’s not going to be useful for me.” That’s not the case. I use Click at home to do my own budget. This is a specific use case, but anywhere there’s data, something like Click is really good at showing that data in a different, more efficient way and making it interactive.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

You’ve got to have somebody like Austin to know how to present it.

 

Mike Merrill:

Yeah, will, that’s great. We both know, Jimmy, in construction and obviously, Austin, through your affiliations, information is king on everything. That’s what really matters in construction, is managing data results.

 

Mike Merrill:

One of the things, going back a little bit, Jimmy, that you said that I thought was really powerful and impactful, was how you empowered a superintendent to utilize the mobile app by, “This is going to make you a better super.” That’s what a lot of companies seem to be missing out on. They are focusing so much on their money savings or budget savings or profitability for the business and not necessarily highlighting how it can really make the individual employee’s life easier by leveraging those tools. Do you agree?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Yeah, I agree on that and to give an example, at that same meeting last week, one of our better superintendents, at the end of the meeting, said, “I’ve been waiting for something like this for so long.” It’s going to make him a better superintendent, more efficient, help him manage his job a lot easier, and at the end of the day, everybody is going to make more money. That’s great for the company, great for the superintendent, great for me, great for Austin, great for About Time, everybody. It’s a good deal, man. It’s a great tool.

 

Mike Merrill:

That’s powerful. One other last thing I wanted to ask: How important do you think was buy-in from the top down, Jimmy, in your company’s case?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

The importance of the buy-in? We’re subcontractors, just a bunch of good ol’ boys that have done things a certain way for a long time, but I will tell you the men that I work with, they’re very open as far as… Like my manager, Noel Nalls, he’s like, “If the numbers make sense, we’ve got to do it.” That’s a great mindset.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

A lot of people are just like, “I’m out” at a certain price, 100 K, $1,000. “We can’t do that.” If you just break even, that’s a no-brainer, right? If the numbers make sense, let’s do it. That’s what we did in the beginning. That’s why Austin came out and presented, “Here’s what it can do; here’s what it can potentially do for us in the future.” Once that happened, “Wheels up; let’s get it going.” The buy-in was… Austin, would you agree, from the beginning, it was pretty well 100%?

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Oh, yeah. The buy-in was 100%. The way we always say it is we have to have a champion. In any project, especially something like this, you’ve got to have a champion. You’ve got to have someone that’s invested. You’ve got to have somebody that understands the data and understands the benefits of seeing the data a certain way. Noel, Jimmy, everybody has been just super invested from the get-go and I could easily say they’re both huge champions for it. Yeah, it’s super important to have somebody there that’s willing and wants to see that data and wants to see it succeed.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Yeah, and you’ve got to know what technology can do for you. A lot of people are just against technology, especially in the construction industry, but you know as well as I do, in any job site nowadays, a job site is full of technology, wireless, mobile. We have big jobs where we have job trailers. We have wireless. We have servers out there. It’s just incredible.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

It’s a remote office. Guys are on the 13th floor and they have their iPads looking at plans. Changes happen and they get it like that. You have to. You have to have technology to be able to grow with the big boys.

 

Mike Merrill:

Um-hmm (affirmative.) It’s a better way to build better buildings, for sure.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

I like that.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

I like that. I’ve never heard that before.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

I like that.

 

Mike Merrill:

I just made it up.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Wow. You should go into advertising.

 

Mike Merrill:

That’s it. Lots of great information and insights on this discussion, no question. Austin, if there’s a listener out there that’s in the construction business and they’re looking to get access to aggregated data like you’re providing for Jimmy, how’s the best way to get them in touch with you and see if you can help them as well?

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

They can either reach out to me via email. It’s going to be A Chiapuzio, A-C-H-I-A-P-U-Z-I-O @flairdata.com or you can just go to flairdata.com/analytics and I believe they have a contact us somewhere there. Those are probably the two best ways.

 

Mike Merrill:

Perfect. That’s awesome. Well, just in wrapping up this awesome conversation, Jimmy, if you could look back, is there one thing in your career that, really, you felt is a strength of yours that served you well, a hack or a superpower of whatever you want to call it?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

You’ve got to be open-minded to everything, to all technologies. If you’re just straitlaced and you’ve got tunnel vision, you’re not going to be successful. That’s all there is to it. You’ve got to be open-minded to every piece of software, every idea that people bring to you and just see what it can do.

 

Mike Merrill:

I love that and in listening to you describe how your business and your company and your coworkers seem to approach things, it sounds like you’re a learning organization at Potter Concrete, which those words don’t usually go together when you’re talking about a construction company.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Oh, our guys, they embrace it. It’s like, “Um, let’s just see what happens,” but once you’ve proved the concept, they’re onboard, man. Everybody’s ready to go, man. We have to tap the brakes a little bit because they want it so fast, right?

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

There’s been several times they sit there and start talking and get off and get excited. I love those conversations and then Noel’s like, “All right but wait. Wait, wait wait. Not yet, not yet, not yet.”

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Yeah.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

He’s great.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

People see the benefit of it and they just want it now because they know what it’s going to do, not just for them, for the company, to manage their people. We have superintendents that have a very large group on a job and it makes their job easier, it’s going to. We’re just scratching the surface of what we want to do with it. It’s exciting.

 

Mike Merrill:

Yeah, if you’re saving over a million dollars in payroll in the first year and that’s just the surface, boy, you’re in a good place.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Yeah.

 

Mike Merrill:

What about you, Austin? What’s your hack or your superpower, if there is one?

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Numbers, I guess, would be mine. In college, I took math classes for fun. I like numbers. I like logic. That would be probably my biggest superpower and my biggest downfall.

 

Mike Merrill:

Okay.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Let me throw this out there, Mike. Here’s one thing. A few weeks ago, my manager, Noel, after a meeting with Austin, we were looking at, “Okay, we need to add burden into the numbers and that way we have a true number and this and that.” Austin was talking about burden in some accounting lingo. Well, I know the numbskull, so I know what he talks about and this and that.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Noel calls me afterwards, on the way home. He was like, “I’ve got a question for you.” I go, “Yeah?” He goes, “Austin’s a great guy, but how does he know all that accounting lingo?” I said, “Oh, we went to UT Austin. He’s a CPA.” He was like, “Ah. That makes sense.”

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Not only does he have the analytics, but he has the accounting side, which you’re talking about is so valuable. Oh, my gosh. He can get in Timberline and do what he needs to do. It’s phenomenal. You kill two birds with one stone, but I wish he’d trim that beard a little bit, though.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Yeah, my wife says the same thing.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

I’m kidding.

 

Mike Merrill:

Well, what I’m hearing, Jimmy, is you’re saying it’s not just the what, but the why and how that Austin really brings to the table, which is what a winning one-two combination.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Yeah, he’s done a great job for us and is a good kid. I love him.

 

Mike Merrill:

That’s awesome. Well, again, that’s important, the personal relationship side of your vendors, having that relationship. I know, Jimmy, you and I don’t know each other real well, but we hit it off real well and I knew immediately, man, we’ve got to have you on the podcast. This has been a fun conversation.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

It has been good. It has been good and the product has been fabulous.

 

Mike Merrill:

Well, we appreciate that and I guess just to wrap up, Jimmy, if you made a mistake in business or just in your career, what’s one thing you wish you could go back now and redo? Is there anything that stands out in mind to help others avoid that pitfall?

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

I’m real big on doing my due diligence as far as research. Sometimes there are times when you get rushed and sometimes you miss a few things here and there. Like we’ve done with this project, tap the brakes, slow down, do due diligence and research, validate stuff.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Validation has been huge to me, just a validation mindset, not just in Click but everything in general. That’s been key to me. The validation through Click has helped out with payroll in About Time and a few other areas in the IT department, so I’ve taken validation pretty seriously over the past year, if that makes sense.

 

Mike Merrill:

That’s great. Yeah, it does. I’ve very much enjoyed this conversation with both of you, Jimmy and Austin. I appreciate you joining us today.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Thank you.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Thank you very much.

 

Mike Merrill:

I look forward to many years of working together in the future.

 

Jimmy Gabbard:

Yes.

 

Austin Chiapuzio:

Absolutely.

 

Mike Merrill:

All right, well, thank you for joining us today on the Mobile Workforce Podcast, sponsored by About Time Technologies and WorkMax. If you liked the conversation that Jimmy and Austin and I had today or learned anything new or helpful in your business, please give us a follow at Instagram, at WorkMax Underscore and subscribe to the show on iTunes or your preferred podcast platform so you don’t miss another insightful episode.

 

Mike Merrill:

Also, if you enjoyed the episode, please leave us a five star rating and review. That helps us bring these valuable conversations with other folks to you and your organizations to help you improve in business and in life.