Achieving Greater Consistency and Efficiency in Steel-mill and Related Construction Projects with VPO Construction Management Solutions
Standardize, consolidate, and streamline the management of and workflows associated with an increasing number of concurrent steel mill and related construction and commissioning projects to achieve greater consistency, ensure safety, and secure documentation across all projects by automating and standardizing construction management activities on a secure, cloud-based platform, providing for more effective communications in real time using Microsoft® 365 business applications to minimize delays, avoid unnecessary costs, improve quality, maintain security, and fully document project design, sourcing, construction, and commissioning activities.
Implement the cloud-based VPO Construction Management platform, including customized Issue Management, Request for Quote, Submittals, Request for Information, Daily Reports, Punch Lists, Change Order, Safety Reports, Field Management, and Document Management modules.
- Avoided delays, unnecessary costs via real-time, cloud-based construction management
- Securely managed thousands of documents and users, and standardized workflows
- Cut email traffic by 50 percent
- Provided better insight into project progress for corporate management
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Charlotte, North Carolina 28211
Phone: +1 (704) 366-7000
Table of Contents
- About Nucor
- Platform Customization
- Managing a Large Volume of Documents Securely
- Working Smarter, Not Harder
Nucor Corporation (NYSE: NUE) is North America’s largest and most diversified steel and steel products company. The company and its affiliates manufacture steel and steel products at facilities located in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Nucor products include carbon and alloy steel—in bars, beams, sheet, and plate—hollow structural section tubing; electrical conduit; steel racking; steel piling; steel joists and joist girders; steel decks; fabricated concrete reinforcing steel; cold-finished steel; precision castings; steel fasteners; metal building systems; insulated metal panels; steel grating; and wire and wire mesh. A steel manufacturing technology innovator, Nucor utilizes electric arc furnaces and recycled metals to produce its products and is the largest metal recycler in North America.
The company entered the steel industry in 1969 with the commissioning of its first “mini mill” in Darlington, South Carolina. Since then, the company has grown dramatically, joining the Fortune 500 in 1980 and becoming the largest steel manufacturer based in the United States nearly a decade ago. Throughout its steel-making history, Nucor management has executed a strategy for profitable growth through both acquisitions and the construction and commissioning of new steel-making facilities.
One new facility, the $1.7 billion steel-plate manufacturing facility in Brandenburg, Ky., which broke ground in late 2020 and is slated to go into production in 2022, and a few other concurrent projects, prompted the company to seek a better approach to managing its continually growing number of construction projects, according to Construction & Finance Supervisor Pam McBroome.
“Before the Brandenburg project began, we decided to look for a better solution for managing our internal construction projects,” McBroome recalls. “We are not a construction firm. We are a steel-making company that is growing rapidly with several large construction projects going on at the same time. Previously, each division had its own approach to managing its construction projects, and the construction group was searching to find common practices to track ongoing projects. With a growing number of ‘brownfield’ and ‘greenfield’ projects, we realized we needed a single, cloud-based platform with heightened security protocols to bring consistency, standardization, repeatability, and greater efficiency to the way that we manage our internal construction projects.”
“Our ultimate goal was to achieve greater uniformity across our projects and we sought a construction management platform team that could help us develop a cloud-based, secure construction management solution with standardized workflows that is customized to our specific projects and needs,” McBroome continues. “We believed that a cloud-based construction management system would benefit our project teams, including vendors, contractors, suppliers, OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), while simultaneously boosting consistency and efficiency across the company.”
Nucor invited a half-dozen construction management solution providers to make presentations and demonstrate just how their solutions worked. After evaluating all of the solutions, Nucor chose the VPO construction management solution—implementing the Issue Management, Request for Quote, Submittals, Request for Information, Daily Reports, Punch Lists, Change Order, Safety Reports, Field Management, and Document Management modules—because it’s Microsoft®-driven, operating via Microsoft SharePoint and Microsoft 365 business applications, and does not require external vendors, suppliers, and contractors to buy a software license to participate. McBroome says Nucor also valued VPO’s willingness to customize the solution to their needs—particularly in terms of access security—rather than provide a single cookie-cutter approach to construction management.
“We initially deployed VPO on a smaller pilot project in 2019 and were so pleased with the results that we’re now using it on several other projects, including the one in Brandenburg,” McBroome notes. “VPO has become a huge asset on these projects, and we are encouraging all of our divisions to use VPO for project and construction management.”
Platform Customization for Additional Security
Before implementing the VPO construction management platform, Nucor challenged VPO to provide an additional layer of security by customizing the platform to establish secure partitions within the system to safeguard confidential information among participating partners. For example, two of Nucor’s largest plant and equipment suppliers are working with Nucor on the Brandenburg project within the same VPO system. VPO customization ensures that each partner’s sensitive documents and data—while accessible by key Nucor personnel—cannot be accessed by other partners.
“Adding another level of security through customization was critically important because we work with many OEMs and other vendors and accumulate confidential information that only Nucor needs to see,” McBroome recounts. “VPO customized our solution to set up a hierarchy of access that enables us to manage bids on a secure site that’s only accessible by Nucor.”
Managing a Large Volume of Documents and Users Securely
Nucor sought out a cloud-based construction management platform to better manage projects planned for the near future including the growing volume of documents and users that need to be managed securely. With VPO, Nucor can add new users—including vendors, contractors, suppliers, OEMs, and Nucor staff from each participating division—and drop users from completed projects without incurring additional costs. The volume of documents requiring secure management will also vary from project to project, including some with thousands of documents and thousands of users, both internal and external.
“On the Brandenburg project, there have been more than 1,200 RFQs [requests for quote] with sub-partners, contractors, and vendors, more than 3,000 RFIs [requests for information], and more than a thousand users,” McBroome points out. “With VPO, it’s so much easier to access and coordinate information and activity without having to write a bunch of email messages. All the appropriate parties have access to the folder and can tag and copy multiple people to share documents with just a couple of clicks. That’s a wonderful capability that saves time and moves projects forward efficiently.”
Working Smarter, Not Harder
While the Brandenburg project was a catalyst for securing a cloud-based construction management system at Nucor, McBroome says the ultimate objective and reason why she is encouraging every division across Nucor to utilize the VPO system on construction projects is that it enables team members to work smarter instead of harder. “Our immediate goals were to manage all of the documents and users on the Brandenburg project to boost efficiency and create a consistent template that can be referenced and repeated on other projects,” McBroome explains.
“In the past, every Nucor division approached their construction projects differently. We wanted to have a more standardized, consistent approach to manage these projects as well as a paper trail that can be accessed and repeated in the future as we continue to grow. While controlling costs, boosting productivity, and bringing projects in on-time and under budget were our primary aims with VPO, it’s become obvious that the VPO platform will help everyone involved in these projects work more efficiently,” McBroome stresses.
“For instance, email traffic has been cut in half because we no longer have to rely on it to manage these projects. We were overrun and drowning in emails before implementing VPO,” McBroome continues. “Our corporate leaders also have better insight and knowledge about each project and project progress through the daily reports that are generated by VPO. Lastly, it’s much easier for our mobile Construction team to check project status without needing to travel. In short, VPO provides the foundation for efficient, effective construction management in the cloud at Nucor.”
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