Roebling is a web-based software product that helps civil engineering and technical services firms prevent profit margin erosion, avoid claims, and steer clear of problem projects by providing a better front-end project risk management experience. It’s also a robust CRM tool that gives firms succinct and easy access to key historical data about all of their projects and clients.
We created Roebling based on our own 15+ years inside of URS and AECOM (the second-largest design firm in the world), where the go/no-go process for individual projects and the risk review process generally did not function well at all. Historical knowledge was constantly lost and project managers spent hours creating risk review packages for senior management that grew ever larger, taking up resources and time that we simply couldn’t afford to spare if we were going to reach our goals.
When customers log in, they’ll see the landing page above customized for their organization. It will allow them to create a new project record, load an existing project record, view all of the projects they’ve created so far in Roebling, or perform analytics on their entire portfolio of projects. You’ll see each of these options in more detail below.
In the footer, there is contact information for Roebling technical support, a quick link to recent projects, and the latest from the Roebling blog, where we discuss issues and trends of import to the AEC industry at large.
Customers will be taken to this screen when they select “create a new project” on their landing page. Here, they will input a few key details about the project – the name, their client, the ultimate owner of the project, the contract value, and a short description. When complete, they will have three options to proceed: build a financial model, analyze the project’s overall risk, or go straight to the project record dashboard (if they are on this page editing the project.)
These are perhaps the most important fields in Roebling. They allow customers to build a short-form financial model for their projects in order to calculate gross margin as a percentage of net service revenue (i.e. revenue to the firm that is not a pass-through to subconsultants), net margin (or overall profit), and the direct labor multiplier (which has a direct correlation to the project’s overall profitability). As we will see, these KPIs are considered through the Roebling AI in assessing the project’s overall risk.
The financial model also allows customers to adjust their general and administrative overhead rates and the labor breakdown between office and field personnel for the project. These can also be set globally, depending on the customer’s operating procedures and preferences.
The Roebling “secret sauce” is our proprietary AI that analyzes project risk across five different “towers” of risk (in a nod to our namesakes’ crowning achievement, the Brooklyn Bridge!), produces a risk score, and suggests mitigation measures, including the efficacy of the proposed project contingency.
These five towers assess risk based on (1) the project description; (2) the owner and the client; (3) the customer’s project team and the scope of work; (4) pricing and payment terms; and (5) the legal terms and conditions and project insurance requirements. Customers will answer a series of questions within each tower and, based on their responses, Roebling will calculate an overall score for the project on a scale of 1 to 100 (the higher the score, the riskier the project).
This is an individual project’s project record dashboard. Once the financial model and analyze project pages are complete, Roebling will produce the project risk analysis, including a summary of each of the five towers of risk, a snapshot of the project financial analysis, and an overall risk score for the project.
The Roebling Recommends field is part of our AI, and will be continuously refined as we collect more data and analyze more projects. It will consider overall project risk in light of the inputted contingency, the expected profitability, and other responses to the risk towers in order to suggest mitigations (like increased contingency) or specific contract language that should be negotiated (or at least flagged in the project record so future teams working on the project are aware of any major issues).
The project record dashboard can be downloaded as a PDF file and share directly from Roebling with key customer stakeholders, who can subscribe to automatic alerts every time a project of a certain risk score (or lower) is created in Roebling. This gives management immediate visibility into potential problem projects before the customer signs the contract – a critical way to prevent margin erosion.
The project portfolio analytics tool within Roebling allows customers to run analytics on their portfolio of projects. This allows an enteprise-level assessment of risk and an “apples-to-apples” comparison of key terms and conditions in new pursuits. Metrics about owners, clients, market sectors, risks, and much more can be generated here and shared with various stakeholders through an export function.
The project record archive within Roebling gives customers quick and easy access to all of their projects. They can search their entire portfolio, quickly sort projects by key financial metrics or even the Roebling risk score, or jump directly to a project record dashboard.