Safety, Efficiency, & Accuracy Increased through Technology
by Heidi J. Ellsworth, executive vice president marketing, EagleView Technology Corporation
From Western Roofing Mar/Apr ’15
As a national roofing company, CentiMark Corporation, Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, has a goal of setting themselves apart from every other roofing company. “While CentiMark has many assets, our greatest strengths have always been and will continue to be the dedication and hard work of our associates. Together, we work hard and we work smart.” This statement from the founder, Edward B. Dunlap, is used throughout CentiMark literature. They believe an important key is technology. As an early adopter of technology solutions, CentiMark has not only worked with many technology companies but has also built proprietary software for sales, marketing, and operations. Aerial imagery and aerial measurement reports are important technology tools and ingredients that they use.
Ryan Shinn, CentiMark Corporation Western Group marketing manager out of the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, area, stated, “Our customers have all shapes and sizes of buildings, including a large number of multi-story facilities. From a corporate level we want to have as much information as possible on every building before we even step foot on the roof of that building. Safety is always one of our customer’s major concerns. We have known a long time that we had to utilize technology as a tool to truly make a difference in this area. It couldn’t just be cool, but had to solve problems. Our earliest uses of aerial imagery were in conjunction with safety, when we began using PictometryOnline(TM) in 2009. We were able to see all sides of a building and preview it for safety concerns. Now we are able to share that information with our customers early in the process.”
Pictometry® merged with EagleView® Technologies in 2013. The EagleView and Pictometry teams were able to work together with CentiMark to provide and develop complete aerial solutions. CentiMark had been utilizing EagleView measurement reports since 2012, namely in the Western states where the distance between jobs created an immediate need for accurate aerial intelligence and data. PictometryOnline (POL), a cloud-based viewing and analytical software in conjunction with the EagleView Premium Commercial Measurement report and CAD file, provided exactly what CentiMark needed to increase efficiencies and profitability.
“The ability to visually see the job before you physically visit the site is incredibly important,” stated Daniel Horrell, a Texas-based technical representative for CentiMark. “It has become increasingly important for us to utilize our time efficiently. That is where technology is making a real difference.”
Horrell, whose territory covers much of Texas, needed to travel six plus hours simply to do an inspection. “PictometryOnline and EagleView reports made an amazing difference in my efficiency, accuracy, and customer service. It provided me with pre-visit intelligence on the building; that allowed me to effectively determine what was important for me to look at before I arrived at the building. That meant my time on the roof was much more efficient.”
CentiMark has found that with the online tools and EagleView reports they can determine building height, which correlates into understanding what is required in terms of equipment and safety needs for roof access. “I can’t afford to show up at a job site without a priority list of what I want to review or be unable to get on the roof. At CentiMark, safety on the roof is a top concern and we make sure we are always compliant. Plus, I want to be prepared to protect my own safety and maximize my time,” Horrell said.
A common practice for project management when first inspecting a roof is to review the roof, building, and surrounding area on POL. An EagleView report provides exact measurements of the roof plus the measurements for all penetrations, delivered in both pdf and dxf (CAD) format. “Getting the measurements for the building in advance saves a huge amount of time on the roof. I measure one side to verify the report measurements and then I don’t need to spend any more time measuring,” stated Horrell. “From the aerial imagery I can also see damage, past repairs, bubbling, and the contours of the roof, which helps me plan for multiple core samples.”
CentiMark prides itself on doing full building reports on every roof evaluation and proposal. They not only provide aerial imagery and EagleView CAD diagrams when applicable, they also provide photos and measurements that are geo-tagged to the exact spot on the roof. “The customers feel confident when they see the information we have gathered in advance,” continued Shinn.
A recent project was a hospital with work directly over a surgical area. The CentiMark sales representative was working with a long-time customer on performing repairs for their roof. “I knew that the more information we had at our disposal to communicate with our customer and hospital employees, the better the repairs would go,” stated Shinn. “We met with the customer and showed them the aerial imagery and worked through exactly how we would complete the repairs with limited notice and no disruption to the surgical area. POL allows us to engage our customers, showing them exactly what we will be doing. That is important for us to be working that closely with our customers. The roof is the largest space on any building and usually the most expensive. They cannot afford to have water leaks, especially in sensitive places like surgical areas. They want to know that we are taking care of their assets and that their business will not be disturbed. Technology helps to enable that.”
“EagleView saves more money than I can place a dollar sign on,” stated Neal Bailey, regional sales manager in the Pacific Northwest. “Having all this information from the measurement reports, including an exact CAD file, saves us an immense amount of time. We can spend our time helping customers instead of measuring or drawing the roof in our CAD system. This allows me to do my job more efficiently, to look at more roofs and talk to more customers every day. Technology allows a higher level of service by automating a process or activity that without it would cost substantially more in dollars and time.”
The benefits seen by the sales team also provide efficiencies downstream as projects move into production. The aerial imagery and EagleView measurements and diagrams help to create highly accurate estimates. Tools that have already saved the company money and created great customer experiences are then used again to ensure accurate material ordering and production planning. The proprietary CentiMark operations system works by taking the sales proposal and automating all of the elements into the production process including the accurate EagleView measurements, CAD files, and aerial imagery.
CentiMark currently features live chat on their website www.CentiMark.com. They find that it provides their customers quick and easy service. They also offer a service app for smart phones. If a customer has ten buildings and there is a problem, the facility manager can open the app while on the phone and simply click on the service button, indicate the building, and get a timely response from CentiMark. The company also features online management tools for their customers so they can see what has been done in the past and what is currently happening with their building inventory. The online portal is a management tool for facility managers and provides a view to the roof that creates a sense of security for building owners. The portals have also acted as archives for educational material for building owners and boards to review roofing systems and learn more about their overall projects and technologies. The portal includes aerial imagery of the buildings over time along with ongoing imagery, diagrams, and financial records including warranty information.
“We believe that it is critical for our customers to be informed and educated so that the best long-term decisions can be made in regards to the roof,” confirmed Shinn. “Whether it is safety, customer service, or strong communications for sensitive production, using technology like EagleView provides a positive experience for CentiMark customers.”