NGC Group

New Generation Construction Meets Next Generation Scheduling at NGC Group

NGC Group

THE CHALLENGE

 

Towards the end of 2022, NGC Group took a step back and realized there were some concerns regarding their scheduling practices. For one, there was a lot of inconsistency in how the company approached scheduling. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, there was inconsistency in schedule quality. So, for the following year, they made it a company goal and created the corresponding action items to improve scheduling—something falling under Taylor Shapland’s realm of responsibilities. 

As one of two project executives, Shapland oversees the company’s project management across all three offices and markets. While he knew NGC needed to invest in educating their PMs and Superintendents on best practices around scheduling, they did not expect the time commitment involved in ensuring these best practices were implemented. 

“As part of this process, our Regional Superintendents and I spent time every month diving into the details of scheduling best practices, schedule progression, end date changes, critical path analysis, schedule viability, etc. However, doing this analysis proved to take a lot of time. While it was good information for us to explore, we weren’t getting into the details as much as we would have liked to, and it was not sustainable.”

Eventually, halfway through 2023, NGC Group realized they needed a more scalable solution that would allow their department leaders and project teams to have reliable data that was easier to obtain. Luckily for Shapland, this just so happened to be when Lindsey Klug, Director of Organizational Development at NGC Group, introduced him to SmartPM.

THE SMART SOLUTION

 

After doing a couple of demos, I knew right away it would solve many of our scheduling problems. I’m kind of a data nerd, so seeing the data behind the schedule and in real-time is perfect for me.”

Before SmartPM, Shapland’s experience with schedule analytics was through a consultant NGC had engaged with at the start of 2023. 

“While he knew everything about scheduling, it ended up being more work and costing more than it was worth. We wanted something real-time, something that would allow us to proactively peek into our project schedules, instead of reactively responding to delays after they occurred – something that didn’t require us to wait a month or longer between updates,” recalled Shapland when asked about his previous experience with schedule analytics.

“With SmartPM, both PMs and superintendents can jump in, upload the schedule, and within minutes, understand what’s happening from the data’s perspective.”

However, with access to real-time analytics comes access to more data, which can be overwhelming. So, during the product rollout, Shapland organized weekly training sessions into corresponding chunks, making a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for each segment of the training session.  

“There’s a lot of data in SmartPM, which can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re looking for. I want people to lean into it and have the resources available to quickly answer questions without becoming overwhelmed by all the platform’s capabilities. The SOPs focus our teams on where they need to be. They also provide a buildable model that allows our team to unlock more features of the platform as they start to master others.” 

According to Shapland, the primary message in all SOPs related to SmartPM is to simply stay on top of the platform – and the schedule. 

“Many people can get caught up in the day-to-day details and lose sight of the bigger picture of a project. They may think, ‘I’m worried about this flooring contractor on this specific day,’ rather than stepping back and worrying about the entire project. 

I want everyone to realize that the schedule is a living, breathing document for the entire project. SmartPM is a valuable tool for analyzing and improving the schedule, but it’s having people pay close attention to it that makes the biggest difference.

 

THE OUTCOME

 

Over a four-month period, NGC’s teams realized that paying close attention to the schedule had made all the difference. They witnessed a drastic improvement in their scheduling practices, with quality grades improving by four letter grades and health by 12% across all projects. 

The attribution? 

“With SmartPM, our project managers can easily pinpoint what’s missing from their schedules, which has been huge for improving schedule quality in general,” Shapland observed.

Quality is just the first step but it’s a significant one at that. In fact, SmartPM has become somewhat of a competitive advantage for NGC, with Taylor noting, “We’ve used SmartPM as a selling point for how we stay ahead of our projects and finish them on track.”

As Shapland points out, the “NGC” in the company’s name stands for “New Generation Construction.” SmartPM fits that description to a “T.” 

“SmartPM fits our company’s schtick. We’re NGC Group, which stands for New Generation Construction. We’re the next generation of builders, always looking at new technologies and new ways to approach everything we do. SmartPM fits the mold of what we’re trying to do.”

"We just add SmartPM into our current process to supplement it rather than change it."

About NGC Group, Inc.

NGC Group, Inc. is a commercial general contractor headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska – with additional offices in Omaha, Nebraska and Lone Tree, Colorado. “Our team specializes in hospitality, multi-family, and mixed-used construction across the Midwest region. With a focus on collaboration and growth through relationships, we continue to experience the benefits of long-lasting relationships that grow our business and impact the communities we build in.”

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