An Interview with Alan Childs, Vice President of Construction at Foreman Electric

An Interview with Alan Childs, Vice President of Construction at Foreman Electric

Foreman Electric was founded in 1949 in Odessa, Texas, as a small electrical company completing residential and small commercial wiring jobs. It has since expanded into a large electrical contracting force in West Texas with three locations. Foreman Electric completes residential and commercial wiring jobs along with service work, powerline work, distribution, and construction, employing close to 500 people.
 
As the Vice President of Construction, Alan Childs oversees the operational and procedural daily tasks of its branch managers. Additionally, Mr. Childs develops the standard operating procedures, implements new software, and train people on the software. Foreman Electric uses eSUB as its field data collection and operating solution. Mr. Childs sets up new technologies that they use and manages all roll out and training for new features and software applications.

 

 

What is Foreman Electric’s mission statement?

We follow the Assess, Design, Execute. Every project that we get we want to assess the whole thing, we design the outlines for it, we design the electrical, we wire it on paper. When we send guys out in the field, that’s where the execution comes in.

 

What differentiates Foreman Electric from other electrical contractors?

What makes us different is how we treat customers. Customer service is our number one goal, so we bend over backwards for our customers. We do everything in our power to make them happy, do exactly what they want, when they want and how they want it. No matter what it costs to us, and that’s a big deal to us.

 

What challenges was Foreman Electric facing that caused you to seek a project management solution?

The biggest issue we faced was tracking. We had no way of knowing our costs on a daily basis, on a weekly basis for that matter, or even monthly in the grand scheme of things. When we found eSUB it was just a really easy choice for us, just to say ‘hey we can track everything to a T with this on a daily basis, almost down to the hour.’
 
Previously, everything was done by hand and and through Excel sheets. Hours and hours were spent with numerous employees trying to put it all together. And there was always discrepancies.
 
On top of that, we are growing tremendously. In June of last year we had 18 employees, right now we have a little over 500. Just at this branch (in Odessa), we have 92 employees. Therefore, as the company grew, and as we were gaining more projects, it was all just getting out of control. There was no way to track it or watch it or manage it period, if you don’t have something in place. So that’s when we started looking for a way to automate our operations.

 

What projects are you working on now that you’re most proud of?

Right now we’re working on the Ector County Detention Center, which is a really big project for us. And one of the bigger projects we’ve done here in Odessa. Bigger stuff than we’ve done before.
 

What is the biggest benefit you’ve gotten through eSUB?

The biggest benefit for me is purchasing. It’s very easy for the guys to call in and get a purchase order, go straight to eSUB. From there, we know exactly when they get it, when they respond to it, inbox back when you want the guys to know it’s ready to be picked up or be delivered same day.
 
Documents were back within 20-30 minutes, when it could be a day maybe longer and delay a project.

 

What is the biggest benefit Foreman Electric has gotten from eSUB?

eSUB holds everybody accountable. And at the end of the day that’s it’s biggest feature. Our team isn’t  randomly installing something for free when even a light switch costs us money. With eSUB, they know they have to go in there, they have to input it, it sends it over to the office, the office sends it to the contractor, then we have a signed sworn document saying they are going to pay for it and we do get paid on it.

 

What competitive edge does eSUB give Foreman Electric?

It gives us time. It gives us a ton of extra time to actually do the work, install the work. We’re talking 50-100 hours a week of admin work that we used to do, that we’re not having to do anymore. Everyone who was doing that can now focus more on what their actual job is.

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