A pioneering Canadian construction technology firm is taking on its biggest rollout yet.
Ontario-based construction technology firm Bridgit has signed a deal with Skanska USA Building to implement its Bridgit Bench software platform enterprise-wide for workforce planning, resource management, pursuit tracking and forecasting for Skanska’s building operations offices consisting of more than 1,500 employees.
Despite the size of the company scalability was not an issue, Bridgit co-founder and CEO Mallorie Brodie said.
“There were never any concerns with being able to scale with Skanska or any of our other customers. It really was the aspiration that we had and what we built the tool to accomplish,” she said.
The Bridgit Bench platform was built with the enterprise in mind, she added, knowing they would be selling to large contractors with many active projects and a substantial number of employees. Despite the size of these companies, many still struggled to update to the latest technology.
“We launched Bridgit Bench in 2019 and we discovered through customer research that resource planning was something that was critical to the workflow and construction teams within construction companies, but it hadn’t really been addressed yet by the technology market,” Brodie said. “Resource management was something operations leaders were still finding challenging and were typically managing in Excel spreadsheets.”
While the industry adapts to changing workflows, it has its own set of circumstances to contend with while working on projects, she added.
“A huge component of construction company budgets comes down to people, and they need to make sure they’re leveraging their workforce effectively, scheduling them to different projects and also ensuring their people are on projects suitable to their skill sets, aligned with the professional development goals they have,” Brodie said.
“It’s both a retention and a planning tool to be able to manage the workforce as efficiently as possible.”
Bridgit is located in Kitchener-Waterloo, a well-known hub for technological innovation, and Brodie said some of their co-op students have gone on to work in Silicon Valley for big technology firms.
“It’s a great place to be headquartered because of that technical talent, so we feel very confident just being here so close to that tech ecosystem and really enabling the growth of Bridgit to continue building out our solution, implement feedback from our customers and build a robust solution to the problem we set out to solve,” she said.
The construction industry has seen substantial adoption of new technology over the last decade, but Brodie said there’s a perception outside the industry that construction suffered from a slow adoption rate.
“We discovered there was actually a huge appetite for technology, there were just certain workflows or needs of the industry that weren’t being addressed by more generic or horizontal software solutions. It wasn’t disinterest but there wasn’t going to be the adoption of tech just for the sake of tech,” she said.
“There had to be purpose-built solutions for the needs of the industry and some fo the reasons for the need for this vertical are the project-based nature of the industry, a multi-stakeholder environment and the facts that the stakes are high on projects.
“There’s always this desire to ensure contractors are doing the best possible work for their clients and sometimes it’s not worth the time to take risks on new technologies. There’s all these factors that, once we took the time to understand and listen, we felt there was a way that we could still build technology, but make sure that we weren’t overlooking reasons that perhaps technology wasn’t as well adopted in the ecosystem,” Brodie said.
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