Silver Star Construction Paves the Way for Improvements

Mobile technology helps the asphalt company improve offsite operations

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On May 20, 2013, a tornado hit Moore, OK, that would claim the lives of two dozen people and cause $2 billion in damages. It was vital for repair crews to assess the situation and get to work quickly in the aftermath. Just as with many other natural disasters in the area, Silver Star Construction crews leapt into action to help with clean-up. Their attention to excellence and being a partner in their community is something that often makes the news.

To help get that work done and coordinate with FEMA, Silver Star Construction turned to HeavyJob Mobile to organize their debris removal projects. Silver Star was up and running on HCSS mobile apps the same day they called to install them.

Silver Star has trusted HCSS HeavyJob and HeavyBid for almost two decades. HeavyJob is their construction project management software, which streamlines operations between their field and office. It allows Silver Star to digitize their construction time card process so supers and foremen can submit more informative daily diaries more efficiently, without having to shuffle through paper time cards.HeavyBid is a construction estimating solution that allows Silver Star to bid more work in less time by cutting out extra steps and eliminating guesswork.

When Silver Star reached out to their partner HCSS for help in this new project, HCSS was quick to donate the HeavyJob Mobile apps and help the team get what they needed to organize the clean-up. 

Silver Star hadn't used job-related mobile apps before the tornado clean-up. Still, the company could integrate HeavyJob Mobile seamlessly into their operations as they worked closely with FEMA. It only took a few minutes of training for Silver Star to start using the apps because of the system's ease of use.  

Silver Star was responsible for overseeing and removing almost 172,800 tons of debris, or 11,695 loads. The company chose HCSS Mobile Apps over laptops for the FEMA project because of the instant-on capabilities of mobile devices, the ability to take photos and immediately attach them to job items, and the overall speed of the system on the app. Because Silver Star worked with FEMA daily, they needed to have good daily documentation of work areas and crew sizes. Silver Star completed the job on September 6, just three and a half months after the storm. 

Leading an Innovative Company Comfortable with Change

Silver Star’s close partnership with the HCSS support and development teams have helped HCSS understand the perspective of a company that has implemented nearly all its products into their business, and the companies have changed together to make each more successful. Much of Silver Star’s success comes from their willingness to embrace change and innovation, even if it may take time and cause discomfort.

"Even though it can make life easier in the long run, people will dislike change because it can be uncomfortable at the beginning," Craig Parker, President, Silver Star Construction said. "No matter where you are going, change is a constant. In my opinion, if we are not looking to refine our methods, and making improvements, then we are falling behind.

"Ask anyone – I am personally not uncomfortable with change at all. One of our core values is innovation, and it's there for a reason," Parker continued. "We stay curious, and training is a process we are always making better for our people." 

Parker believes change happens over time, requiring a tremendous push from the top to get going and a steady hand from all participants to keep the momentum. The message from the top has to be consistent and has to consider how one department will affect another. Engaging people in the process gives them a feeling of purpose and trust, helping them carry the vision forward. 

"I am the company president, and I encourage my people that if we do not have their production quantities, then our estimating team cannot provide accurate estimates," Parker said. "If we are not sending needs to our dispatchers, how can they know who are the right people and equipment for the right job? If we don't have accurate meter readings, how can we properly maintain our equipment?"

Matching Features & Process for a Seamless Implementation

Years ago, Silver Star had problems getting accurate timesheets from the field. Paper forms were often unreadable, or the foremen would say they forgot to drop them off. At the end of the week, it was a mad rush in payroll to get timecards processed. Then, Silver Star began using HeavyJob from HCSS.

HeavyJob made it easy to check if a timecard was submitted correctly. Parker gets an email if a foreman is not getting his timecard submitted, and they all know that if their time is not in the office by 9 am, somebody will get a phone call. 

Silver Star ensures the success of the HeavyJob implementation by appointing someone responsible for looking at timecards and verifying them. Once a person is in the habit of looking at timecards, they can easily sense what information is missing or incorrect. Most of the time, the data is entered correctly, but they still double-check to make sure it is correct every day. 

Once foremen and mechanics were trained in the procedure and understood that foremen sitting in their truck recording time was a priority, they got it right more often than not. To relieve fatigue for those checking the data from the field and sending back incomplete timecards, SilverStar used HeavyJob’s automation feature, called Job Review, to set up requirements for sending in a timecard. 

In the field, the foremen see a warning that, for example, a diary page or photos are missing or the hours reported do not match the scheduled hours. The system can also be set to prevent users from submitting until the requirements are met. Implementing this feature got more qualified timecards to the managers and helped foremen know what was required.

True Partnership 

"The HCSS team gave us an audit," Parker said. "They told us what we were doing right and how we could improve in other areas if we wanted to. They also showed us the methods to accomplish it. I loved it." 

Together, the HCSS Success team and Silver Star created a custom list planning out how the company could get more out of existing features. The operations and equipment teams use this checklist in weekly leadership meetings to track progress and project what is on the horizon next week. 

"As a business partner, we want to help grow our customers into sophisticated users of our system," Jason Roznovsky, manager of HCSS Customer Success said. “We want to help them build upon features that give them the most personal value so they can take their business to the next level.”

Lars Mallach, customer success specialist and HCSS Fleet expert, was fascinated with how well Silver Star worked as one unit. "Their drive to improve constantly takes much hard work," said Mallach. "It shows maturity in their leadership to keep looking for improvement while looking forward, and not resting for too long on what is comfortable."  

As a result of their strong leadership, their comfort with change and their willingness to form true partnerships with the companies that supply and support them, Silver Star continues to grow as a leader in their market and impact their community positively. 

Tom Webb is VP of Strategic Initiatives & Customer Relations at HCSS