Habitat for Humanity is an internationally recognized non-profit housing organization that works in local communities throughout all 50 states in the U.S. and approximately 70 countries. As part of the global organization, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha has served the Omaha Metro community since 1984 and is considered a cornerstone for bringing people together to build strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter.
Despite playing such an essential element to supporting Omaha's needs for affordable housing, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha previously did not have a standard integrated process for managing its residential construction projects, which caused concern for Ken Mar, the organization's Chief Operating Officer. "We used Excel to track projects and would communicate updates with team members and contractors over the phone or through text messages, which often led to delays and ultimately extended project timelines," said Ken. "For instance, if a job site required additional tools or more lumber, we called or texted the site supervisor and had to wait for their approval." Over time, it became evident that this disjointed approach to project management and communications wasn't scalable and wouldn't support business growth.
To expand the organization, Ken reached out to his construction committee to search for alternative software to manage projects and was referred to Buildertrend. After researching Buildertrend's solutions for construction project management, Ken realized that it was everything the organization needed: an intuitive software that offered real-time project updates and a centralized document management platform.
Ken was featured on The Building Code podcast. Listen to his story below to learn more about the Habitat of Omaha + Buildertrend journey:
Buildertrend was unlike any software the organization had used before, so it was essential to incorporate the software into Habitat for Humanity of Omaha's workflow incrementally. "We started by requiring the team to take pictures on-site and upload them using the Buildertrend app so that they'd get comfortable using the platform." This process allowed employees to get more screen time with Buildertrend, which eventually led the team to explore and utilize more of Buildertrend's features.
After just two years since its initial setup, all of Habitat for Humanity of Omaha's construction and home repair workflows now run through Buildertrend. "Now, we can do just about everything with Buildertrend, including managing projects, keeping track of to-do lists and scheduling," shared Ken.
Today, about 70% of Habitat for Humanity of Omaha's 110 employees are using Buildertrend every day, whether it's at the main office, a construction site or at Habitat ReStore, its discount home improvement stores and donation centers.
"We know that Buildertrend will help us accomplish the goals we set."
CEO, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha
When it comes to choosing the most popular Buildertrend feature, Ken believes that the employees would have a tough time picking just one since so many features are used on a daily basis. For Ken, however, identifying his most used feature of the platform was simple - Buildertrend's To-Do List. "It allows my team and me to document moving parts of a project easily and track it in the system in real-time, which helps make sure everyone is on the same page."
Habitat for Humanity of Omaha also credits Buildertrend's award-winning customer support as one of the top benefits of the platform. "The best part about Buildertrend is that the company offers on the job training," shared Ken. "Not only did we receive in-person training with a Buildertrend team member at our office, but we're also able to access customer support whenever we need it."
While for-profit business and non-profit organizations differ in many ways, there is one shared concept that applies across the board: do more with less. With that in mind, using disparate software wasn't sustainable for the organization.
"If we were still using Excel to manage project workflows, we wouldn't be able to handle the number of projects we'd take on for the year," said Ken. "We've been able to accomplish a lot with Buildertrend because it's unified our team's communications and allowed the organization to build a standard process for all of our projects."
At this rate, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha is on track to impact the lives of more than 200 families this year, with plans to build 56 homes and updating an additional 150 homes.
Since donations can differ year-to-year, the number of projects that the organization works on tends to fluctuate. "With Buildertrend, we can add as many projects as we want. Regardless of whether we need to add 10 or 100 homes, we know that Buildertrend will help us execute the goals we set," said Ken.
According to Ken, "The beauty of Buildertrend is that there are no limitations to the software. The software can scale based on the needs of the user. A builder managing 10 homes a year will use the software differently than a home builder managing 100 to 200 homes."
"Whatever your dreams are for scaling your construction business, Buildertrend will likely perform 99% of what you need to do," Ken added.