The paperless office might be in the far-off future, but one California remodeler is a step closer to taming the paper tiger.
Matt Plaskoff, owner of Matt Plaskoff Construction in Sherman Oaks, recently purchased a project management program called Prolog Manager 5.0 that allows him to integrate with Microsoft Word and store all his documents in one database.
Next, Plaskoff is planning to purchase Prolog Website 2.0, a Web-based project-management program. Instead of storing project information on the company's computers, he can input project data into the system, which is then stored on a central server.
"That's really where the world is going," says Plaskoff. "Everything is in one place." No matter where users are dialing from -- the office, field or home -- the software facilitates real-time project collaboration among builders, remodelers, architects and homeowners.
The software creates an online environment for redlining and annotating computer-aided design files and photos, and allows project team members to track work flow and online discussions about each project. The results are increased project accountability and control, and the elimination of paper-based communication.
Drawings and specifications, requests for information, submittals, project-action lists, daily work journals and punchlists are all managed on the online database. In addition, more than 400 standard reports are included for real-time online viewing, including purchasing, cost control, engineering and superintending. The program provides unlimited folder space to organize large volumes of drawings and documents associated with the project.
"Beyond the expansive feature set of Prolog Website, we have incorporated an extensive security system to ensure project information is managed and safe," says John Bodrozic, president of the software maker, Meridian Project Systems. Using the software, project information can be controlled down to the user, record, field, feature and report level. The remodeler can assign each team member personalized security rights. Once security levels have been assigned for team members, the user interface changes to expose only the information that individuals have been granted. No other information is displayed.
In Plaskoff's case, he breaks down pickup lists by room so his vendors can access information pertinent to the products they are supplying. He also gives his clients limited access to project information, which allows them to log on and track the job's progress.
Plaskoff purchased Prolog Manager only after conducting extensive research. At $2,495, the software wasn't cheap. Adding Prolog Website 2.0 and the necessary server software will cost $495 and $1,995. But Plaskoff says his investment will pay off with timesavings and increased organization. "The jury's out, but I talked to a lot of people before I spent the money on [Prolog Manager]."
For a smaller company that might not want to invest that type of capital in Internet-based software, Meridian Project Systems is introducing Project Talk, a software subscription service that allows remodelers or builders to rent software on a monthly basis. For more information, visit www.projecttalk.com. For more information on Prolog Manager 5.0 or Prolog Website 2.0, visit www.mps.com.