Tilson Helps Manhattan Construction Improve the “Soft Side” of the Business

Manhattan Construction has the distinction of being the first company to incorporate in Oklahoma. Their history includes building the Oklahoma State Capital in 1917 and Reliant Stadium, home to the Houston Texans and the first stadium with a retractable roof. They’ve seen a lot of changes in business operations as they’ve grown to be one of the largest construction firms in the U.S.

Challenge

Two of the big changes are the challenges of connecting multiple divisions of an enterprise and streamlining the workflow between them – the soft side of the construction business. Manhattan decided it was time to bridge the process gaps between headquarters, field offices and their mobile staff, and needed advice on selecting and implementing an ERP system for the seven different divisions that comprise the Manhattan Construction Group.

Solution

Consultants often enter engagements with a particular software package in mind as the answer to a company’s problems. Tilson takes a different approach. “We’re not selling software upfront, and we’re not selling the answer,” explains Mike Dow, VP of Construction. “We’re selling a commitment to getting to the answer, and awesome people who can switch hit for our clients.”

Getting to the answer begins with workshops, where supervisors and team members from each group hashed out the challenges. Workshops are a unique procedure in Tilson’s consulting methodology. In these sessions, Tilson cultivates full understanding of processes and goals, and the business has an opportunity to “check on itself.” It’s common for process problems to be discovered that the business didn’t know about.

After weighing all the pros and cons of each possible software package, Manhattan decided that a hybrid Vista™/PROCORE implementation, an unusual combination, was the route they wanted to take.

Once they get to know our team, clients frequently become aware of ways we can help that weren’t thought of. It happens all the time.
- Mike Dow, VP of Consulting, Tilson

There’s a twist to the story, which happens often with Tilson. During the initial stages of the ERP overhaul, it came to light that one of Manhattan’s companies was struggling to get Viewpoint running. Tilson engineers shifted gears, focused their attention on resolving that issue, and then returned to the enterprise-wide ERP deployment. “Once they get to know our team, clients frequently become aware of ways we can help that weren’t thought of. It happens all the time,” Dow points out.

The next stage was data conversion and migration, a daunting hurdle for any company that is missing the special skills required. Manhattan had lost a key person on the project. And before Tilson was engaged to help and to be a liaison with the vendors, they realized how difficult data validation and a rapid cut-over can be. For Tilson, the ability to draw on a long history of handling massive, disparate data migration enabled them to systematically manage data, prepare for the transition with testing and pilots, and then make the switch, all while keeping the new Manhattan database administrator in the project.

The Soft Side of Construction Can Be Hard

A company’s timeline is usually marked with key accomplishments and milestones, not construction IT initiatives. But as Manhattan gets the return on their investment in software, consulting and services, they’ll remember how Tilson’s help with the soft side of the business, which makes getting the hard stuff, such as building a hospital, replacing a bridge or developing a quarry into a 150-acre theme park, a lot easier and more profitable.

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