DESTINI Estimator Implementation Case Study with The Korte Company
Award-winning ENR top 400 contractor and top 100 Design-Builder, The Korte Company helped pioneer the design-build construction method and was an early adopter of BIM estimating technology. Korte has been a Beck Technology partner since 2015, starting with implementing DESTINI Profiler’s 5D modeling and estimating capabilities to conceptualize and estimate projects in the early preconstruction phase. In 2017, Korte decided to take the next step toward streamlined, collaborative estimating by implementing DESTINI Estimator as its enterprise construction estimating platform.
“DESTINI Estimator provides a good balance of structure and flexibility. We have the structure of templates and a cost database but each user has the flexibility to customize how they display and review the data with screen setups, filters, and views. DESTINI Estimator provides the ability for better collaboration. Not only do we have multiple users contributing to a single estimate at once, we have the ability to stay within Estimator for 2D Takeoff review,” says Korte Senior Estimator Brian Marks.
A Collaborative Approach
One of the primary deciding factors for Korte’s software choice was the innovative and collaborative implementation support from Beck Technology which helped Korte ensure a seamless rollout and maximize the use of Estimator’s extensive capabilities. At the heart of Beck Technology’s fully transparent implementation planning was a detailed scope of work and “smart” schedule, provided at no cost before the software agreement was signed.
“Beck Technology’s approach to implementation was one of our major deciding factors in choosing DESTINI Estimator,” says Korte Senior Estimator Brian Marks. “It’s been a great process and a good partnership so far.”
One key difference with Beck Technology is that the company provides a set scope of hands-on implementation support for a guaranteed maximum price, rather than charging for support on an hourly time-and-materials basis.
“Most software vendors do not create an implementation plan for a company,” says Beck Technology Customer Success Specialist Doug Maiden. “They sell boxes of software and say, ‘Good luck,’ then it’s a la carte for training and support. That’s like buying a car and not thinking about the cost of oil, tires, and gas. Support and training are part of the total cost of implementation. We don’t want clients to get blindsided, so we’re up-front about the total expected cost to get Estimator implemented and operating with their system.”
Beck Technology offers its all-inclusive implementation support thanks to its careful implementation planning, which is built on real-world expectations and factors that are unique to each client’s business and workflow.
“We had a high comfort level with the fact that Beck Technology provides a collaborative approach to building our custom database, as opposed to trying to shoehorn in someone else’s. If we’d had time-and-materials support from another provider, costs could easily have gotten way out of control,” says Marks.
Step by Step
The first step of the implementation process was to create a single, nationwide cost database within DESTINI Data Manager, the central data management application that supports DESTINI Estimator and provides a single database platform for both conceptual and detailed estimating.
The database that was originally built transitioned Korte from its prior standard of 16 construction divisions to the newer MasterFormat standard of 48 divisions. These MasterFormat standards are used industrywide to format specifications for construction contract documents.
“We felt like was a good time to align with what the industry was doing, from a coding standpoint,” Marks says. “This will make it easier for newly hired estimators and estimators coming out of college to work in a database that coincides with specifications we see from architects and engineers.”
The end goal: To create a single master database with consistent pricing nationwide, to which regional factors can be applied as needed. Although cost data needed to come from five different offices, Marks serves as the single point of contact to bring it all together, with hands-on support from Maiden.
“A lot of the front-end work involves putting line items into new buckets and assessing our accounting codes,” Marks explains. “Doug has provided valuable support, making drop-downs available in our Excel worksheets so that I can quickly assess line items and uploading everything for us into Data Manager.”
At the same time, Maiden worked to scrub the data and integrate it into Estimator, submitting it for review and making adjustments along the way.
“It’s a phased approach,” Maiden notes. “The first phase is data mining and unification of data, so it’s prepared and consumable by all end users once we are ready to go live. Korte has a lot of intellectual property that helps them win work, and it’s my job to understand that data, sanitize it, and set it up for Estimator; prune out any legacy data that’s no longer relevant, and give it all back to them so they can test drive it and have a seamless transition.”
Because implementation ran ahead of schedule, Marks and Maiden had more time to build out rate tables and assemblies in Data Manager, giving Korte’s estimators the ability to quickly build accurate, consistent estimates based on real-world costs.
“With Estimator, we can create a database that has a lot of line items and assemblies that are exactly the way everyone is used to seeing them, just with a different interface,” Marks notes. “That will help our estimators during implementation since they will still be working with the same size database they are used to, and they won’t be bombarded with a massive new database. We are checking that box right out of the gate with this approach, so we should get better buy-in from the estimating group.”
Once the database was complete, Marks became one of three primary points of contact supporting Korte’s 20 nationwide estimators as they went through training in and transitioning to full-time use of the DESTINI Estimator. By November 2017, the entire estimating team was using Estimator to estimate all new projects.
As Estimator is now the nationwide standard at Korte, the preconstruction team utilizes historical data, periodically updates the database based on specific line item trends, and expands the database with additional line items on demand.
During the implementation phase, Maiden and Marks checked in on a weekly basis, sharing their screens and working through a shared file site to access each other’s data. Maiden is also on call to answer Marks’ questions as needed, and he documents details about every conversation for online reference.
Marks says, “For those users utilizing Automatic Pricing there are benefits for many items within our cost database that saves time for data entry if the takeoff was performed in another application. We continue to push for more adoption within our company through training. We also look to build out additional assemblies or formulas for those items that are in units requiring calculations derived from counts, lengths, or areas.”