US infrastructure engineering firm leaps to the cloud to connect bridge building teams worldwide
Hardesty & Hanover, LLC, a full-service infrastructure engineering firm with 125 years of experience in solving complex engineering challenges, has turned to cloud content collaboration technology to support multi-million dollar bridge building projects across the globe. Using Huddle, Hardesty & Hanover is securely sharing information, project directives and documentation with colleagues in locations such as Boston, New York, Washington, Miami, France and Brazil. Replacing FTP and dramatically changing the use of legacy systems, such as Lotus Notes, Huddle gives everyone involved in a project the ability to access, review and approve relevant content on their mobile devices.
Founded in 1887, Hardesty & Hanover specializes in managing the entire life cycle of engineering services and support. The company employs multi-disciplined teams of expert engineers for bridge and highway engineering projects, as well as projects for complex movable structures such as locks and stadia. It also works closely with numerous offsite consultants, contractors and sub-contractors. With many colleagues never meeting face-to-face, project content and tasks were traditionally shared via a mixture of email, antiquated ICT systems, paper and FTP. In dealing with past projects, around 40,000 full-sized shop drawings for steel structures alone had to be shared with relevant parties. Hardesty & Hanover recognized that there must be more efficient systems available to support collaboration on similar projects moving forward and started researching online collaboration technologies.
“We wanted to do a better, more efficient job when it came to communication, file management and overall project delivery,” explains Barry Keung, Structural Engineer, Hardesty & Hanover. “With old databases in Lotus Notes, files stored on our own servers, hand-drawn sketches of details on bits of paper and people based everywhere from Florida to New Hampshire, New York to Washington and France, Canada, and Brazil, we needed a central environment where everyone could access what they needed. Projects often have very short time scales so we also wanted people to be able to get up and running immediately. After a month of evaluating the technology available, we chose Huddle. Unlike Box, which was limited primarily to file sharing, Huddle had all the collaboration features we required.”
In order to enhance the value to its clients, Hardesty & Hanover decided to roll out Huddle to support new design projects. Project teams now use Huddle to disseminate information to all colleagues involved in the job, such as project directives. Details such as bridge designs, who is designing what sections, and the clearances that need to be obeyed, are all posted on Huddle’s whiteboards. In addition, all documentation relating to projects is stored in Huddle’s secure workspaces, including PDFs from different stages of submission so that progress on jobs can be tracked. All approvals, comments and feedback on documents can be instantly reviewed and recorded.
“One of the biggest benefits of Huddle is the fact that its audit trail and version control enables us to track every phase of a document,” continues Keung. “Before Huddle, there would be seven or so different versions of a file with everyone thinking that their document was the final. Now, we can lock documents, make them read only and there’s no questions around which is the final version. Having access to Huddle on our mobile devices is also great as we can all stay up-to-date when on the move. It’s transformed the way we work.”
“Today’s workforce needs to share and work on information with people across the firewall just as effectively as they do with people that sit next to them,” explains Alastair Mitchell, CEO, Huddle. “Hardesty & Hanover is a great example of an organization that has to collaborate on a daily basis with people all over the world and could no longer rely on legacy systems. It’s fantastic to see a company with a 125 year history look to innovative cloud technology to solve its business challenges and help teams get their jobs done.”