Launched just 18 months ago with three employees, Four Peaks Building Group is on a rocket-like trajectory as a respected commercial general contractor in Phoenix, Arizona, that’s on track to double its business while rapidly ramping up staff.
As CEO Jason Humphreys quipped, “We’re shaking and baking now.”
Indeed, you don’t start a construction company and somehow miraculously succeed in such a competitive market. With a combined 78 years of deep industry experience among the founders, there’s a level of maturity at Four Peaks that belies its recent launch. They understand that building a winning construction company takes more than hammers and nails.
The general contractor enacted a pledge to deliver the three key construction project elements: schedule, quality, and budget. Going above and beyond, they also ensure a fourth pillar—oversight that guarantees success when choosing the right partner.
Startups often succeed by knowing what you’re good at and where to seek help, and Humphreys was quick to acknowledge his skillset is in construction. But to keep a new business running smoothly, he knows that all facets of the organization must function on time and with keen oversight.
It was crucial that Four Peaks implement an automated payment management solution to assure smooth, consistent payments for subcontractors and suppliers from the jump, Humphreys says. Everyone wants to be paid on time, and he knew that implementing Oracle Textura Payment Management would bring immediate value to his fledgling company by establishing trust and developing long-lasting relationships among the Phoenix construction community.
“I'm not an accountant; I like to build buildings, I don't like doing billing and paperwork,” Humphreys says. “Oracle Textura made it easy for us to start a company. It was in our business development plan and was one of the first products we wanted. It’s so well structured, it’s tried and true, it's cost effective, and it pays for itself instantly.”
While Oracle Textura remains the go-to payment management solution for the biggest construction companies on Engineering News-Record’s top 400 contractors list, Humphreys says it also scales perfectly to a startup the size of Four Peaks.
With business booming out of the gate, Four Peaks teetered on the point of adding a part-time accountant to help with billing at the end of the month. Implementing Oracle Textura negated the need for additional staff, which minimized the potential for costly manual errors.
“I’ve never been a fan of automation taking a job from somebody, but Oracle Textura removes the human risk of incorrect data entry,” Humphreys says. “When you weigh the cost of Oracle Textura, it gets rid of that overhead. There’s also the time management savings for our project management staff. My project managers can focus on construction and not chasing billing. It’s just been a no-brainer.”
Humphreys likes that billing is 100% ball-in-court of the subcontractor—not a Four Peaks project manager wasting hours bird-dogging the subcontractors to redo their billing while simultaneously figuring out schedule impacts and construction means and methods on a project.
“The whole system of Textura just frees us up so much. And the scheduling aspect, it's nice because nobody worries about payments arriving on time.”
Being a startup and admittedly “not tech-savvy people,” there was a certain trepidation at Four Peaks before implementing Oracle Textura. Their concern immediately dissipated as soon as Oracle Client Services came onboard for the implementation.
“We were concerned we might be on an island trying to figure it out, but the Oracle Textura staff made it a seamless transition to roll everything in there,” Humphreys says. “We actually included a couple of projects already underway into Oracle Textura and it was easy to get them caught up.”
Humphreys recalled witnessing Oracle Textura’s fast, simple implementation at three previous large construction companies and was confident that Four Peaks would see the same result. It took only an hour to write the Oracle Textura standard operating procedures for the Four Peaks office staff. It now takes just an hour to train staff on the entire solution to assure fast, efficient payment management every month.
They breeze through billing now in 30 minutes to an hour, where before the frustrating back-and-forth with subcontractors and suppliers could last up to six hours or more.
“If you use the whole system holistically, you reap the full benefit and value of Oracle Textura,” Humphreys says. “Like I always say, you could buy a Corvette and drive it 45 miles an hour, but what's the purpose of a Corvette if you're not going to get in it and do 120? Oracle Textura saves so much time—from our controller, project coordinators, and project managers and then to me for final approval.”
It’s no secret that end-of-month billing can be chaos for construction companies faced with a convoluted mish mash of forms and invoices. Some subcontractors send their billing out of QuickBooks or on an Excel document. A handful will submit handwritten invoices. Humphreys says it's almost embarrassing to submit manually generated invoices to a client.
Oracle Textura standardizes the subcontractor billing process and makes it easy to roll it all up into a neatly packaged owner billing.
And that’s a selling point in Humphreys’ eyes. Oracle Textura’s professional look makes a lasting first impression with customers and clients.
Bigger subcontractors are eager to do business when they find out that Four Peaks uses Oracle Textura. Humphreys also recalls negotiating with a potential client in Canada who was hesitant to ink a deal after discovering Four Peaks was such a new company.
“I told him about the structure of our business, and we got into discussing our billing process with Oracle Textura—the compliance, the lien releases, the payout,” he says. “He was familiar with Oracle Textura, and that helped seal the deal for us. We're a new company, but we're doing it the right way.”
UPDATE: We caught up again with Humphreys in February 2023, eight months after the initial interview, and he gave us greater insight into the benefits he's now measured from using Oracle Textura: “We saw our aging reports on our accounts receivable decrease by five to seven days because we bill everything through Textura. Contractor billing is uniform, clean, and we present a nice package to our clients, which has expedited our cash flow.”
He also praised the Oracle Textura implementation process. “I’m a big proponent of customer service and hands down you provide the best customer service I’ve seen in any market, industry, or personal business. You guys nailed it.”
Oracle Construction and Engineering, the global leader in construction management software and project portfolio management solutions, helps you connect your teams, processes, and data; empower better decision-making; and synchronize activities across the project and asset lifecycle. Drive efficiency and control in project delivery with proven solutions for project controls, construction scheduling, portfolio management, BIM/CDE, construction payment management, and more.
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Lucie is an experienced technology marketing professional with a current focus on payment and cost-related products in Oracle's construction and engineering global business unit. At Oracle, her work in product marketing is centered on customer engagement and creating the right content to support our customers.
She has over 20 years experience in engineering, product management, marketing, project management, and sales. She holds a BS in Electrical Engineering and an MBA, from McGill University, Montreal, Canada, and can be found most nights at the dance studio, prepping for her next ballroom competition.