Construction Planning Software Aiding Engineering

BSI is a full service, employee owned engineering firm with clients in the chemical, pharmaceutical, food, consumer products, and renewable fuels industries. The company was nominated by the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce as an 'Emerging Business of the Year'​, as much for their service mentality as for its technical capability. BSI Engineering appreciates every client and every opportunity presented to them; which is seen that in every project they do.

Touchplan has allowed us to show our clients how the decisions they are making and/or equipment they are selecting impact the overall schedule. Unlike other software, Touchplan lets us visually explain why a particular decision will add time to a project. We see a massive benefit in that, and our clients do too.

Nicole Schaefer, Project Manager

BSI Engineering is an employee-owned, full-service engineering company with clients in the chemical, pharmaceutical, food, consumer products, and renewable fuels industries. The company currently has offices in Cincinnati, OH, Cedar Rapids, IA, Chicago, IL, Detroit, MI, & Louisville, KY. BSI locates its offices around its clients to ensure all of its 150 clients have the local support they need.

The company was initially introduced to Touchplan while working on a project for a large-scale consumer products client that required BSI to use construction planning software. Over time as members of the BSI team got used to working with Touchplan, they began to use it on other projects as they found it allowed projects to run more efficiently, by delivering more transparency amongst the project teams and replacing an inefficient manual planning process.

“As I was involved with client projects using Touchplan and saw how we could manage across the entire duration of the project (feasibility to startup/operations), I found a lot of benefit to the visibility that it gave me into the client decisions that needed to be made,” said Nicole Schaefer, Project Manager for BSI. “Touchplan allowed me to bring up questions that I needed to be answered to complete our design. It gave me visibility to show how it impacted my project schedule directly. I saw a lot of benefit to using the software, which is why I suggested we use it on projects across the office.”

Stepping Into The Tech

Before experiencing Touchplan, many of the BSI Project Managers were planning the old-fashioned way with sticky notes and then converting to Microsoft Project. However, BSI design team members struggled with viewing Project, as it is something that they do not use every day and identifying where information sits within the program can be difficult.

Schaefer continued, “I pushed with our leadership that Touchplan’s software was straightforward to use and allows you to see the project visually. It allows you to put in constraints across other disciplines, which would help out interdisciplinary coordination. That is how we began an initial trial of Touchplan, which led to us purchasing it for the enterprise.”

As the team at BSI continues to use and become more comfortable with Touchplan, the software has been beneficial in reducing risks on their engineering projects.  With the ability to perform look-aheads and see the work that is coming up on projects. Touchplan allows for conversations to ensure the entire project team is aligned.

“As a project manager, Touchplan gives me visibility to ask my team questions ahead of time. I ask them to discuss their work for the next two weeks, based on what is laid out in the schedule, and if it is still on track to happen,” said Schaefer. “It beats the alternative of waiting until two weeks from now and asking them what they were supposed to do and see if it is done. The visibility is precious.”

Schaefer is not the only member of the BSI team seeing the value of using Touchplan. Many of her colleagues have been using it with tremendous success. One of her colleagues is working on a multimillion-dollar engineering project. Her team is doing quite well because that project manager is putting more accountability on her internal disciplines by having them all work in Touchplan.

“Generally, when we do a Microsoft project schedule in this office, it’s up to the project manager to drive it and get the answers they need. It’s a lot of upfront legwork on our end,” said Schaefer. “With Touchplan, this project manager has been able to put accountability on the schedule population and maintenance to her discipline teams, which has been huge for her. She has seen so much value in not only giving them that accountability, but now the team is thriving and taking it and running with it. Her project overall is successful because she has the entire team using Touchplan.

Reducing the Headaches

Before Touchplan, much of the BSI project coordination had to be driven by the project managers, and not all team members were collaborating or coordinating. Now that information on projects is in a digital format that the entire team can view, it has turned the tables, and teams are communicating more than ever. Touchplan has also saved time for BSI by eliminating the process of transferring sticky notes in a project schedule. Collaboration is happening organically, allowing everyone to work more efficiently and putting out a better package for BSI clients.

Our relationship with BSI Engineering has produced some mutually beneficial results, including:

  • Putting restraints across disciplines which helps with project coordination
  • Reduce risk on projects by performing look-ahead plans
  • Saving time on construction projects by eliminating the process of transferring sticky notes into a project schedule
  • Improve Operations: Reduce time spent in construction planning meetings
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