Last updated on March 9, 2022.
Scheduling and Information Services (SIS), a Washington-based project consulting firm, delivers integrated project planning, CPM scheduling, risk analysis and project controls services for diverse projects throughout the United States and globally. As SIS continues to grow and their scope of work on large, complex projects increases, they identified Deltek Acumen Touchstone (Touchstone) as an innovative solution of choice to not only help scale their business but also provide a competitive advantage.
Labor-Intensive Schedule Review
SIS is currently involved with more than 100 projects—the largest being Microsoft’s Redmond Campus Modernization project through their contract with the lead firm, CBRE. This multi-year project encompasses a massive underground parking structure, 17 new buildings, a central utility plant, geothermal wells, recreation facilities and a number of onsite amenities. The first assignment SIS received after joining the project was to collect and organize the numerous schedules from all entities. This included three major general contractors, a multitude of subcontractors, five design firms and three construction management firms. SIS was tasked with developing a master project schedule that encompassed all phases of design, permitting, procurement, construction, and commissioning.
As a part of their on-going scheduling services on the project, SIS receives approximately 35 schedules monthly from the various entities in different formats, including Oracle Primavera P6, Microsoft Project, Excel and Smartsheet. Leveraging Deltek Acumen Touchstone for initial quality assessment eliminates manual reviews and allows results to be shared with team members and project stakeholders more quickly. Of those schedules reviewed, 20 are also run through Deltek Acumen Fuse for analysis and 14 also require forensic and performance checks to resolve more complex issues. As the project progresses, the number of schedules requiring forensics and performance analysis will steadily increase.
Before Touchstone, a majority of the review and assessment of these 20 monthly schedules was being completed manually via a combination of Acumen Fuse metrics and Oracle Primavera P6 layouts. This translated to 20 - 30 dedicated hours on the Campus Modernization project , depending on the changes/additions required month-to-month. As their scope of work on the Campus Modernization project increases, along with the growth SIS is experiencing in other areas of their business, schedule review was becoming a bottleneck keeping the team from focusing that amount of time they would like on the more strategic, forward-looking aspects of their services. This is one of the key problems Touchstone was designed to solve.
Another key use case for Touchstone is for quality control over internally submitted schedules. SIS leverages this capability for their US Army Corp of Engineers (USACE) and Naval Facilities Command (NAVFAC) projects, where schedules are submitted to the portal to produce a schedule quality dashboard. SIS managers review the dashboard in working meetings to improve quality before schedules are presented to clients.
Transformation with Touchstone
Upon learning about Deltek’s newest Project & Portfolio Management solution, Acumen Touchstone, SIS’s CFO & Project Controls Manager, Tony Bolstad, immediately deployed the tool throughout his organization as a way to improve operations and benefit both his team and their customers.
“Once I realized that Touchstone could provide a sort of “self-serve” schedule analysis both externally and internally, help us remove some of the subjective steps that always creep into the analysis process and be able to provide much more timely feedback of schedule acceptance for our projects I was sold on the decision to move forward.
Touchstone has improved our consistency in both schedule development of our in-house projects and our consistency and timeliness in analyzing and reviewing submitted schedules that have been developed by others. While there is always some “art” to scheduling we are leveraging automation to increase the application of the “science” side of this discipline.”
- Tony Bolstad, CFO & Project Controls Manager, SIS
Leveraging Touchstone to support the three general contractors on the project with Microsoft allows SIS to provide more timely distribution of the schedule quality report to both the creator of the schedule and the reviewer. This updated process accelerates the monthly review process, increases consistency, and provides cost savings to SIS’s client through the reduction in hourly billing.
Using Touchstone for schedule quality reviews for their USACE and NAVFAC projects has also yielded solid results. The solution reduces a bottleneck and allows executive quality control review before schedules are sent to the client. It enables a working dialogue with the team to understand the issues and prepare an explanation, if needed. Additionally, SIS has improved visibility to schedule quality trends, so issues on specific projects and adherence to scheduling specifications can be identified and resolved sooner in the process.
SIS is pleased with the time savings and productivity gains achieved from their Touchstone deployment, has long-term plans to deploy the solution across their portfolio, providing them with a key competitive differentiator in the market.
About Scheduling and Information Services, Inc.
Founded in 2004, Scheduling and Information Services, Inc. (SIS) is a Northwest based project planning and project controls firm that supports general contractors, owners and subcontractors with their scheduling and document controls needs. Providing services for diverse projects throughout the United States and internally, SIS prides itself on delivering accurate, timely information in a consistent manner that allows their clients to make better decisions and increase performance.
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