Raken’s mobile and web app was built for construction contractors and subcontractors to document activities at a job site.
Founded in 2013, the app bundles data collected from the entire project to help manage labor hours, project budgets, and serve as an overall review of the construction process to find efficiencies.
“We've tried to make the interface as simple as possible for those folks in the field so they can't get tripped up or lost or have a hard time navigating what they might need to be inputting to appease their project managers or other project stakeholders," says Nick Pettengill, Raken construction specialist.
Compatible with Android or iOS phones, tablets or desktops, managers, foremen and superintendents can generate daily reports, work logs, production schedules and budget percentages using timecards and customizable cost codes for labor, material and equipment tracking.
Pettengill said the dashboard provides high level company insights on performance in terms of labor hours, safety incidents, project delays, any missed deadlines. Data from any subcontractors' work on a site can be included. Also, Raken provides a library of toolbox-talk topics and a way to monitor signatures of attendees.
Raken“It’s really powerful data for someone like a safety manager or an operations manager who just wants to see sort of the trends of the company over the last few weeks or months,” Pettengill said.
Every photo, video or other file uploaded will show up organized by date and time and can be searched for in that fashion or by the project it is associated with.
Pettengill refers to the notes section of the app as a venting area, where managers can record any complaints or issues. “You never know when it might come back to save you if you know there's been something that happened, and you know you jotted it down and can cover your team from being financially responsible,” he said.
Raken also can set up a customizable survey for crews to answer every day to ensure tasks are being completed and signed off on.
From the web version of the app, all the data can be reviewed and edited as needed. In the office it is typically project managers, project engineers, operations managers, payroll and office administrators who are reviewing the data in Raken. “It could be a number of people, depending on what they’re looking for,” Pettengill said.
For example, the timesheets page has all the capabilities payroll personnel would need, making it easy to change cost codes and other items that may need to be edited.
The app will tell managers whether a timecard or report has been signed off on. Users can send notifications as a reminder for daily reports to be completed.
“Tracking the compliance is definitely something that we see being super-valuable,” he said.
Raken has been updating its user interface and establishing more integrations with software offerings, such as Sage 300 CRE and Viewpoint Vista.
“They're helping our customers connect, which is super-powerful, because this is data level transfer of information from their accounting systems into Raken,” he said. “It can get convoluted and complicated if you have duplicate entries in multiple places, so we've tried to keep those accounting software as the single source of truth.” For example, when changes by the accounting team, such as addition or subtraction of employees or cost code alterations, occur, they only happen in one place and are automatically updated in Raken.
The app is in the process of enhancing integration with Procore, which helps manage a variety of office workflows. “It's an excellent office tool and an excellent field tool. It's just not always easy for the field personnel that's out there today to adapt and understand how to use it,” Pettengill said.
From a cost perspective, Raken uses either a per-user model, so anyone who has a unique login would be considered a user, or a company flat rate based on size, which makes it easier for the entire company to use. The company offers three packages offering a range of access to certain functions of the app.
Paying annually is more economical than a monthly charge and is the most common form of payment. However, Pettengill said, some smaller companies with more inconsistent business opt for monthly charges due to uncertain revenue.
He said Raken works with small one- to two-person inspection companies that get called out to job sites to inspect the rebar on behalf of the city inspector. “It's a great tool for someone like that to use because it generates these professional reports so quickly and easily,” he said.
Conversely, companies like Hensel Phelps have almost 1,000 users online daily.
“The amount of information that gets input in our system daily across the 5,000 customers we have is staggering,” Pettengill said. “We try to be a plug-and-play solution for just about anybody in the industry. We're constantly adding new enhancements to bring value to those different groups of customers, because we get recommendations from them all the time.”