Blue Line Contractors Ltd. is a Toronto-area general contractor specializing in commercial and residential renovations that require expertise in structural modifications or complex building changes.
Blue Line’s president, Silvio Santos, didn’t have the budget to hire an IT expert. But he knew the way they worked needed an overhaul, as he “would be on the phone from 6 to 10 or 11 every night organizing crews, organizing clients, and scheduling meetings.”
The biggest issue for Blue Line was that their old system didn’t support remote access. That meant the team couldn’t collaborate seamlessly between the office and the site. It meant scheduling had to happen over the phone in the evening. And it meant Santos couldn’t take time off. “I used to go 24/7,” Santos says, “And I just don’t have that in me anymore.”
Big Changes on a Small Budget
For Santos, the only choice for the hardware refresh was Intel: “They have the reputation and have been around a long time. I’ve never had issues with Intel processors so I always stick with Intel.”
Santos replaced his six-year-old PC fleet with a Lenovo ThinkServer, powered by an Intel Xeon processor E3-1225 v3. Site supervisors received new laptops featuring the Intel Core i5 processor family. All of the hardware was chosen carefully so the team could communicate changes and deal with issues on-the-fly. Schedule or design changes that once threw a wrench in the whole project and considerably slowed down the workday were suddenly no big deal.
Santos says that with a new network infrastructure in place, Blue Line has also improved administration with more accurate payroll, and now has the capacity to email invoices and track expenses in real time. He believes these new tools will also help him attract new staff because he can offer more flexible work options. That flexibility extends to Santos himself, too: “I can now take a week off without feeling stressed. It’s a lot easier because I can be in communication and help to address issues quickly.”
The New Normal
The day-to-day operations at Blue Line now look completely different. These days, Santos can put a schedule together any time of day and send it out. “If there’s a conflict, I know right away and can modify plans in real time so we don’t have downtime if someone doesn’t show up when they were expected,” he says.
Before the refresh, Santos would travel back and forth to client locations to pick up and drop off drawings to quote projects. Today, drawings are emailed to Santos who accesses CAD drawings on his workstation powered by the Intel Xeon processor E5-1630 v3. According to him, “this has been one of the biggest benefits of the new technology.”
Reviewing and quoting on large projects used to take two to three weeks to get drawings in for revisions and verification. Add another two weeks for production and six weeks later, they’d be starting installation.
“Now, we can get shop drawings for urgent jobs in a day or two, if not same day,” says Santos. “The whole process has streamlined from a month to a day.”
Santos estimates his business has grown 30 percent since they started making the investment in new technologies, and he’s projecting a further 30 to 40 percent increase in sales this year — all thanks to the right hardware.
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