A general contracting company based in Charlottesville, Virginia, Martin Horn has served its community since 1979. The company does more than $40 million in construction each year in a wide variety of projects, from retail to higher education to residential. Committed to bettering the surrounding community, Martin Horn is active with several local nonprofit organizations.
“We do a lot of nonprofit jobs in the Charlottesville area, including projects at low or no cost,” says Robert Menasco, director of field operations at Martin Horn. “Our business is based on relationships, and we’re dedicated to building connections and fostering growth in our community.”
As the company pursued its mission, it faced the reality of lost time and effort while keeping track of project documents and specifications. With everything handled via email, communication between architects, subcontractors, and project managers often broke down as messages got lost in the shuffle.
Challenge: A Single System for All Stakeholders
Menasco oversees more than 40 superintendents and craftsmen in the field, and he’s also the default in-house IT expert. He heads up new software initiatives and has led three or four new implementations in the decade he’s worked with the company.
Eleven years ago, Martin Horn switched to Vista to manage their accounting, and it still serves as the backbone of their ERP today. They also used Vista for project management for several years, but it failed to provide the collaborative features they needed. “When we only had Vista, we struggled a lot to achieve collaboration between architects, subs, and owners,” Menasco says. “There was no collaborative process, just emails back and forth. It never failed that an important email would get missed somewhere, and missing or incorrect information costs time and money on a construction site.”
Those challenges drove the company to adopt a software solution designed with construction project management in mind. The new software worked well—until the ongoing costs became unsustainable. Menasco then oversaw a shift to another platform, which had the features they needed at a lower cost but proved difficult to use. “We had a lot of issues with architects and owners not understanding the system,” Menasco says. “It was also slow to load, which was frustrating for the project management team.”
Menasco started looking for an option that could meet the team’s goal: a single, easy-to-use platform that every stakeholder, from owners to subcontractors, could access. “That was our biggest dream,” he says. “To be able to work in one system without losing or misconstruing data.”
Solution: Trimble Construction One for Vista + ProjectSight
After observing the development of ProjectSight over the past few years, Menasco and the Martin Horn team made the switch in late 2022.
“Overall, the implementation is going really well,” Menasco says. “The ProjectSight team has been very responsive when we’ve had questions or problems, helping us get any issues fixed right away. As the one leading the implementation, that’s a big deal to me.”
While the transition to the new platform is still in progress, the Martin Horn team has almost finished training and will start all new projects on ProjectSight going forward. They chose a slower pace of implementation rather than a hard cutoff, in part to ensure they customized the platform to meet their specific needs. “We spent about a month tailoring how we want ProjectSight to look, picking the modules we wanted to see and ones we didn’t need,” Menasco says.
One thing that drew the Martin Horn team to ProjectSight was its user-friendliness. “Everything looks and works virtually the same across the different modules,” says Menasco. “It was really easy to get into it and after you’ve learned one piece of the software, you understand the other areas too.”
ProjectSight also allows for transparency between all stakeholders, a priority for the Martin Horn team. “It allows us to communicate freely and get faster answers from architects and owners in RFIs and submittals by streamlining that process,” says Menasco. “I honestly can’t imagine doing what we do without an online collaboration platform.”
The biggest difference between ProjectSight and their previous software, though, is its ability to fully integrate with Vista. “Having ProjectSight tied into the ERP system will be a big help because that eliminates the cost of missing information on the accounting side,” Menasco says. “Now we’ll have all our billing fully connected with the platform, so change orders from owners or subcontractors don’t get missed. It’s a full cycle of ownership in a single platform.”
Results: Expected Savings
While ProjectSight implementation is still in progress, Menasco anticipates dramatic results in the form of time and cost savings and increased efficiency. Teams will no longer need to re-enter data from the ERP into the project management platform and vice versa, saving countless hours and reducing the potential for errors.
“Our goal was for the whole team to work in one system,” says Menasco. “It looks like ProjectSight is 95% of the way to providing that, and the rest of it is mapped out to happen over the next 6 to 8 months. We’re excited to see where this takes us.”