Standing Out from the Crowd
"We started in a basement, with fold-out tables and our laptops," Robb states, thinking back to the early days of starting Outlier Construction with his best friend and business partner. During those formative years, the times when they were still heading out to their trucks to take phone calls because there was no cell service in the basement, Robb and his partner came to a realization. "We had a vision of doing things differently from the rest, and that's kind of why we chose the name," he says, "the other companies in this valley can feel stale: it's the same thing over and over. They do things the same way they've been doing it for the past 30, 40, 50 years. We're taking a different spin on things. You can see it in the way we work with our subcontractors, the way we treat our employees and the way we deal with clients."
It was at about this time Robb discovered Raken and immediately saw in it's capabilities and design an opportunity to take positive action to make his dream of a company that does things differently a reality. He decided to use Raken with all of his crews and subcontractors and make it the driving force behind managing the daily activities of their new company.
Easy Daily Reports
The first aspect of his company Robb revolutionized with Raken was the daily report. "Our guys have to daily reports every day, and while there's a lot of different ways you can do them, having a tool that is so advanced and unique and great [means] the guys can use it on their phone without a laptop or a tablet." Transforming the daily reporting process from something manual that they did in the trailer at the end of the day saved his crews time in the field, and the reports they were churning out were more consistent and accurate to boot.
"Raken is tracking the weather they need to look at, it's tracking the subs and it's the time card for all the employees that then get a notice on their phone so they can sign off on it," Mayers says, adding "there are so many other steps we used to have do that we're not having to do anymore, and that is making us all more efficient and allowing us to track our jobs better."
Because Raken was simple and handled things like weather automatically, Robb noticed that he was starting to get reports from the field more regularly. "Raken helps the guys get their reports done on time rather than waiting to do them" he says, noting that the steady stream of updates and information from the field proved invaluable as they were growing the company. The end result of using technology to help the field and the office communicate could not be clearer: a more efficient operation that gets things done faster and better.
But Robb and the team didn't stop at using Raken to do their daily reports, they used the tool for time cards and streamlined their payroll process as well. Describing how they used to handle these workflows, Robb says "we spent so much time, before Raken, on time cards and it still didn't add up. It either didn't have the right descriptions or all the parts and pieces just didn't add up."
We're sure other construction companies out there can sympathize with Outlier. Inaccurate hours can eat a company alive, and even if you're convinced you have a foolproof system odds are that if you're spending more than a few minutes on it, you're wasting time trying to make sure everything makes sense. It's a workflow fraught with chances to waste time and lose money.
However, according to Robb, "Raken makes payroll processing way easier. With Raken the guys are easily, by cost code, putting in their hours and it has totally streamlined our payroll. It's helped big time."
The difference in how easy payroll is with Raken Time Cards has rippled through the office. According to Keith Arniston, Operations Manager for Outlier, "Raken has improved the time that it takes to do time cards, and the overall accuracy. The number of pay complaints from our employees are down to zero. I can't think of the last time I got a pay complaint."
You might think that for a self-performing GC like Outlier that still relies heavily on subcontractors the training on a tool like Raken might take months. However, as Robb states, it's the exact opposite.
"the training on Raken is so easy. It's a five to ten minute conversation with a guy," he says, "we have them download the app on their phone and show them what to do. It's as simple as the superintendent that's out in the field logging into that job and putting down what they're doing for the day. It's pretty bulletproof."
A 10-minute training cycle for their teams means that Outlier is able to implement Raken on multiple sites and ensures that every project is communicating with the office in the same way. This makes Raken a single source of information for everyone working in the office, reducing confusion and the time it takes to run the business effectively.
Raken has saved us a lot of time and money in a lot of different ways.
Through easy daily reports, time cards, and a 10-minute (tops) training cycle, Outlier Construction has been able to use Raken to stay one step ahead of the competition and stand out from the crowd. According to Robb "Raken has saved us a lot of time and money in a lot of different ways," he says, explaining that "for example, going back to payroll and streamlining that process. My accounts payable person used to constantly come in here and ask me 'was he on site this day? What did he do? He's missing hours...' so we would have to call, trying to figure out what happened."
Not only has Outlier managed to streamline their processes with Raken, it saves multiple roles throughout the company time, which allows Outlier to operate more efficiently than their competition.
For example, Robb states that "With all Raken's different functions I don't have to be on every site every day, I can look at a report and see whats happened and can call if I see something that looks out of place or isn't being done. It's been great." The increased visibility that Robb mentions here is the greatest testament to how Raken helps construction companies like Outlier stand out. Because their whole organization is running more efficiently Outlier completes jobs faster and to a higher standard than the rest. It's no small wonder that it's become one of Southern Oregon's most sought-after construction firms, and we're proud to have played a part in that success.