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With the growth of Offsite Construction, transportation companies have had to re-invent the way they manage construction logistics. One such company, Stream Logistics, has taken an offsite first approach and incorporated new methods to transport and receive products between factories and job sites. They have already successfully transported factory built panels, pods, modules, and curtain walls for customers across the US.
At the core of their process is a collaborative approach to project management which allows Stream Logistics to coordinate across the new offsite supply chain, including general contractors, factory builders, onsite installers and other stakeholders. Their mantra is “Greatness Requires Collaboration.”
In this Expert Insight we sit down with Carson Holmquist, Co-Founder and CEO of Stream Logistics, to discuss how his company leverages collaboration and specifically technology that enables collaboration, for success in the new offsite supply chain. We’ll discuss how logistics companies preparing to capture the offsite opportunity need to incorporate technology early.
Q: Carson: What would you say are the unique challenges of managing logistics and transportation during Offsite projects which differs from traditional construction? How is collaboration important in coordinating such projects?
Offsite projects are all about impeccable timing. The primary goal of offsite construction is to reduce the construction timeline. So, every delay erodes into the intended benefits. A delay of a single hour could cost thousands of dollars in idle labor and could permanently impact the construction schedule.
Additionally, sequencing deliveries is far more critical with offsite projects. In traditional construction, several trades are typically working at once. So, if a raw materials delivery is late, work can still continue.
Conversely, with offsite manufacturing, the prefabricated components typically have to be delivered and installed with impeccable sequence with other tasks. For example, if a general contractor is using prefabricated bathroom pods and prefabricated EIFS panels, then the bathroom pods must be delivered and installed prior to the exterior walls being installed. There’s no flexibility in the sequence. Therefore, if a delivery of pods is delayed, then the installation of the panels will have to be delayed, causing ripple effects all throughout the schedule.
Because there’s no room for error, we call these types of shipments High Stakes Freight. When there’s a lot on the line, collaboration is critical. In order to manage an offsite project without any transportation delays, we have to tightly coordinate with the manufacturer, the truck drivers, and the construction team. A change anywhere in the process (perhaps a manufacturing delay, or a weather delay at the jobsite) will require every shipment in the project to be adjusted to accommodate the change.
Our team of project managers act as the central command center for all communication. For every change, we adapt quickly and synchronize all future shipments accordingly, then keep everyone informed of the changes.
Q: Carson: How has your team adopted technology internally to manage transportation and logistics across various touch points from the factory to job site? In what ways has technology set your business up for future growth and success?
Our business runs on our proprietary technology that is custom built to manage High Stakes Freight. We have automated many of the tasks related to dispatching and coordinating shipments, which frees our Project Managers up to be responsive and adaptive to project adjustments.
On the front end, our clients enjoy a Project Portal which gives them access to everything related to their projects. In the portal, clients can view progress of the project, view real-time GPS tracking updates (which are updated every 10-30 minutes), and they can even see a live video feed of the project through our integration with TruLook cameras.
We continue to invest in automation through our in-house development team to ensure we can scale without any operational bottlenecks. However, the goal with our automation efforts is not to replace our talented people. Rather, we want to automate the predictable tasks so we can free our team to create solutions, manage changes, and to impeccably communicate. We believe this blend of technology investments and human investments will be the key to future growth and success.
Q: Carson: Given your unique position working with various stakeholders (GCs, onsite installers, factory builders, etc) across the Offsite supply chain, what would you say are some ways collaborative technology accelerated the adoption and growth of Offsite Construction?
Offsite Construction requires tremendous collaboration. The Offsite supply chain includes raw materials, engineering, building, permitting, logistics, installation, quality control, and much more.
Offsite methods offer great promise, but without proper project execution, much of the intended benefits may evaporate. That’s why collaborative technologies, like Offsight, are critical to the growth of this industry. Projects run smoother when everyone is on the same page. Everything from materials planning to design, to permit filing, and even logistics visibility can be organized through a centralized software.That level of connectivity and visibility ensures projects stay on time and on budget, which are primary motivators for general contractors.