SUFFOLK CONSTRUCTION CASE STUDY
Suffolk Construction is a $3-billion company with over 2,000 employees and offices in New York, California, Florida, Texas and Massachusetts. Headquartered in Boston and lead by visionary Chairman/CEO John F. Fish, Suffolk was founded in 1982, and through 2017 was #148 on Forbes list of America’s Largest Private Companies.
Heralded as a disrupter and leader in the construction industry because of their innovative application of leading technology, Suffolk Construction provides pre-construction, construction management, general contracting and design across the USA. They serve every major sector, including residential, commercial, education, healthcare, public works, retail and entertainment and provide both new construction and renovation services.
Salamander Designs has been designing and manufacturing premium technology furniture for residential and commercial for more than 25 years. All products are custom made in a 100% solar powered USA facility, uniquely quick shipped within days and backed by a lifetime warranty which includes superior support. Salamander is widely known for its design and engineering capabilities, collaborative approach to solutions and unparalleled customer commitment. So it’s no wonder that Suffolk Construction approached Salamander Designs with a unique problem.
With success comes overhead. At any given time, Suffolk is involved in dozens of construction projects at each location—translating into hundreds of projects each year. Suffolk takes pride in their use of technology to improve efficiency, speed of delivery, design planning and especially their sterling reputation for thorough team-and-customer collaboration. These business practices helped make them the leader in their field. However, this thorough, finely tuned approach meant that every project required multitudes of design, draft and planning updates—updates that had to be shared with and confirmed by customers.
The construction documents consumed massive rolls of paper and created ongoing need for multiple reviews, revisions and hard-copy printing. The documentation was large, so this practice was very inefficient. Cross country shipping and regional transportation of the large rolls was wasteful and costly. Handling them on job sites, which included unrolling them for review of every change, was unsustainable. And, customers couldn’t effectively zero in on plan modifications, so the system was slow, unnecessarily complicated and overall an impediment to progress.
“I saw an opportunity to apply new technology to solve our problem and scale our efficiencies from start to finish.”
– Ajoy Bhattacharaya, Sr. Director of New Technology
CONTINUITY OF WORKFLOW
Suffolk Construction embraces technology to remain at the forefront of their business. They more efficient way to handle large format documents and plans for review, update and approval. However, being aware of the nature and predilections of their customers, they knew that whatever solution they pursued had to emulate the current mechanical, routine, physical processes with which their engineers and clients were familiar and had to be as similar to those methods as possible.
This presented a very major challenge.
A COLLABORATIVE SOLUTION
Suffolk Construction collaborated with a major software vendor to adopt a combination software/hardware platform that replicated the entire plan and update process virtually, without producing and transporting massive rolls of physical paper. However, the review/approval process needed another dimension before it could be fully acceptable and universally adopted.
Enter Salamander. Salamander Designs recommended an ergonomic mobile cart solution to replace the confining tables that had been used during document development and review. This approach allowed them to use a large format display for plans, updates and zooming in, and provided easier collaboration—in a totally new way.
Salamander’s unique mobile cart solution converted to a full-size modern drafting table that could be moved about with ease and positioned like a plan table to any angle to achieve the most comfortable height and productive group discussion. Perhaps most importantly, the ergonomic table provided the same format that customers’ field engineers and onsite crews were accustomed to using for plans. Staying with the familiar form factor was easy to embrace for all, and a better option for applying the latest technology, displays, and mobile capabilities.
MULTIFACETED MOBILE BENEFITS
In addition to providing the same hands-on experience and not disrupting the established workflow, Salamanders’ solution provided other big benefits. The mobile carts added a new aspect of flexibly that enabled plans under review to be moved to different locations readily, quickly and easily. The carts were kept in trailers and rolled to the site wherever engineering plans were needed. During use, Salamander’s versatile, high-quality mobile carts now remain in a fixed, stationary position, but they can be relocated and deployed from storage with speed and ease.
The software/hardware technology that Suffolk Design adopted provided a large part of the overall solution and improved efficiency of the review and approval process many fold for them and their clients. But in the final analysis, it took the supreme engineering and design expertise of Salamander Designs to give that technology its real-world power to replace a well established analog system. Because Salamander’s mobile carts could be used to fully reproduce the process with which all parties had been using for so long, the carts provided the final element that made the new procedure acceptable to Suffolk Construction and most importantly to Suffolk’s customers.
BUILDING ON SUCCESS
Suffolk management has been so pleased with the revolutionary document solutions that they’ve increased deployment to include mobile carts on every new construction project. And, Suffolk has embraced additional leading workplace solutions. Today, Salamander is found in both mobile formats and fixed formats including custom-crafted cabinets and credenzas throughout Suffolk’s Northeast conference rooms and offices. As they build on this mutual success, there’s no telling where these two companies may go in the future.