CONNEX Jobsite Has the Power to Increase Productivity, Improve Collaboration, And Tackle Complex Project Management Operations

May 10, 2021 Karli Langner


Running a construction business is unlike managing any other business.

Running a construction business is unlike managing any other business. With so many moving parts and a lot at stake, having the right tools is a key to success. Technology platforms can do wonders from an efficiency standpoint by connecting internal supply-chain processes with suppliers, buyers, logistics providers, inspectors, and owners. A platform can monitor what is happening throughout the supply chain, delivering opportunities to optimize operations. A digital platform allows a company to simplify data and analytics across their trading partners to simplify operations and track business performance.

Grand Parkway Project

The SH 99-Grand Parkway Segments H, I-1 and I-2 project spans 52.8 miles around northeast Houston within Chambers, Harris, Liberty, and Montgomery counties, making up approximately 25% of a 180+-mile circumferential scenic highway.

At 180+ miles, the completed project represents the longest highway loop in the United States, traversing seven counties and encircling the Greater Houston region, which is the fourth-most populous city in the United States.

In March 2017, the Texas Department of Transportation awarded the $855 million design-build construction contract for Segments H, I-1 & I-2 to Grand Parkway Infrastructure (GPI), a joint venture led by global infrastructure leader Ferrovial Construction, along with Webber LLC and Granite Construction Inc.

The project is receiving 10 million cubic yards of inbound materials including dirt, air cement, 680,000 cubic yards of ready-mix concrete, concrete slabs, 1.2 million cubic yards of sand mixed with cement, and precast materials such as beams and panels for the walls.

The project is scheduled to be completed in April 2022.

CONNEX Jobsite

GPI faced a huge challenge and needed a system to help manage the business processes associated with the vast amount of materials required for a project of this size. 

GPI’s portion of the project consists of 55 miles of new roadway construction around the outer ring of Houston. The materials include 10 million cubic yards of dirt, 600,000 cubic yards of concrete – plus an additional 150,000 cubic yards of concrete for structures, large volumes of asphalt, and 200,000 linear feet of beams. Now more than ever before, the use of technology has been imperative in managing all of the materials coming in. With CONNEX, we can easily share real-time plans, designs, and daily reports, and communicate with our materials suppliers through one easy-to-use interface.

- David Romero-Garcia, Project Controls Manager at Grand Parkway Infrastructure, LLC

Command Alkon’s CONNEX platform is a cloud-based technology approach that allows for digital delivery ticket workflows, eProof of Deliveries (ePODs) and automated invoice reconciliation. CONNEX enabled GPI to manage all of its materials and all materials suppliers on one easy-to-use interface.

Managing paper tickets on a job this size can put the project at risk of not knowing how much material was actually delivered and paid for each day. Now that electronic ticket data automatically flows through GPI’s systems, they know exactly how much material has been received, and their project managers and other team members can view daily job costs to manage budgets.

With CONNEX, GPI tracks materials entering a jobsite. Users can accept materials electronically in the field and are also able to electronically append field test results and photos.

Inbound materials and haul costs are then automatically coded and accounted for so that GPI no longer has to deal with the pain of month-end accruals. They have also started to use the solution to make electronic order requests straight from their mobile device.

Now when requesting orders, there is no miscommunication with phone calls or emails. Everything is centralized and everyone is on the same page.”

- David Romero-Garcia, Project Controls Manager at Grand Parkway Infrastructure, LLC

GPI’s field engineers used to take days reconciling invoices at month-end, especially because the projects that they work on are typically spread out, and they had to chase down all of their tickets from each office. Now, digital delivery tickets are pre-coded, invoices are automatically reconciled against goods received, and they have visibility into their materials and hauling costs daily.

We know at the end of the day how many tickets the supplier has uploaded and sent in a day, even if our field personnel haven’t approved the tickets yet. Having that information in real-time has been very beneficial to keeping up with our job costs.”

- David Romero-Garcia, Project Controls Manager at Grand Parkway Infrastructure, LLC

CONNEX Jobsite has also put a lot of time back into the hands of accounting personnel and field engineers. Checking invoices and managing disputes with suppliers used to be a huge time investment. Now that everyone has access to the same information in real time, they are able to use the excess time to focus on other areas of the operation. Their relationships with their suppliers have greatly improved, as well as the internal relationships among the engineers, foremen, and the accounting department.

Building the Network

In the past, GPI’s operations with their trading partners were disjointed. It would start with a number of phone calls to their suppliers to confirm an order. The supplier would send the load, and there had to be someone on-site who could take that paper ticket and ensure it was properly stored in the field office. The foreman or superintendent would physically hand those paper tickets to the engineer, who would then register them in an Excel file and hand the bundle of tickets off to the accounting department.

The accountant would receive an invoice from the supplier with a list of tickets that oftentimes did not match what was in the accountant’s register. When they would receive an invoice, they would have to ask their suppliers to send copies of the tickets that were signed. Then, the accountant would need to determine which construction segment would have received that load and then check with the engineer to make sure he approved it before finally reconciling the invoice. It was an extremely tedious process.

Now, GPI and all of their trading partners can connect and exchange information from one single source, providing a deeper understanding of what is happening within the supply chain. The power to connect internal supply chain processes with suppliers, logistics providers, inspectors, and owners brings visibility into the condition and location of orders, trucks, and materials at all times and simplifies invoice reconciliation and AP workflows.

"We no longer need to manually check tickets one by one. We just have to check if the delivery ticket has been approved by the engineers. What use to take one to two hours, now it takes about 30 seconds to reconcile an invoice."

- Miguel Hernandez, Segment Accounting Manager, Grand Parkway Infrastructure, LLC

Ferrovial Construction, one of the members of the joint venture, started piloting CONNEX Jobsite about eight years ago on their North Tarrant Express 35W and LBJ Expressway projects. The system has vastly improved since that time, and Ferrovial Construction is extracting the most value out of the system for the Grand Parkway Infrastructure project than they ever have before. Going forward, they are going to standardize the use of CONNEX Jobsite on all of their major infrastructure projects.  They plan to use it on their North Tarrant Express 35W 3C project in Fort Worth and on their I‐66 project in Virginia.

I think we have worked together very closely. Your team has listened to our needs and has taken great efforts in developing the application to do what we need it to do. We're extremely proud of our partnership with Command Alkon.”

- David Romero-Garcia, Project Controls Manager at Grand Parkway Infrastructure, LLC

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