Kajima Building & Design Group (KBD Group) has been designing and constructing award-winning facilities in the United States for over 55 years.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, KBD Group is a subsidiary of Kajima Corporation, which has grown from humble beginnings in a Tokyo carpentry shop 170 years ago into a powerhouse global leader in architectural design, construction services, engineering, and real estate development. Ranked as a Top 25 international contractor by Engineering News-Record, Kajima today counts some 19,000 employees globally with $16 billion in revenues.
KBD Group has enjoyed an explosive growth track of its own. In less than two years KBD Group revenues have drastically increased—now approaching $1 billion annually—as the number of projects has mushroomed from roughly 30 projects to nearly 50 today. Large distribution center projects have helped spark the growth spurt, interspersed with manufacturing facilities, banks, and interior projects.
As its portfolio rapidly expanded it was clear that KBD Group needed to streamline the accounting review of subcontractor and owner pay applications.
“It was a very manual process,” recalls Jennie Robison, controller for KBD Group. “When we received our subcontractors’ pay application, we’d sometimes have missing documents and find math errors resulting in delays in payments to our subcontractors.”
KBD Group implemented Oracle Textura Payment Management in late 2021. A cloud application for construction payment management that helps general contractors, owners, and subcontractors simplify the construction invoicing process, Oracle Textura, part of the Oracle Smart Construction Platform, is a secure and simple-to-use platform that automates construction finance processes for accurate billing, prompt payment, improved compliance, and lien waiver management while making cash flow more predictable.
Even with a sense of urgency to quickly shore up security, KBD Group performed its due diligence as Robison and her team researched several payment management providers.
“We spent about six months evaluating products,” Robison says. “We were in search of a solution that provided the banking process and security procedures in place, and Oracle Textura fulfilled that requirement. And that was very important to us.”
Robison had heard that Oracle Textura was an expensive alternative, and since cost was a consideration, Oracle Textura almost didn’t make the cut. But in fairness to the process and because of the Oracle Textura sales team’s professional persistence, she listened to their pitch.
“We were practically sold after the first Oracle Textura demo,” Robison recalls. “The capabilities were just so much stronger, especially around security, compliance, and electronic payments. We thought it might be too expensive but turns out it’s very reasonable. And the value we get, especially with our rapid growth, is excellent. Our subs are also happy with Textura as it has improved the timing for them to receive payments.”
KBD Group has been purposely deliberate with its Oracle Textura ramp-up since last year’s implementation. Initially it started with a few projects as they learned processes and settled on procedures. They recently began entering all their projects into Oracle Textura.
“We looked at our projects to see what was under the 50% completion mark; we felt like we’d get more bang for our buck with a slower rollout and not disrupt the process for our subcontractor and owner pay applications.”
Oracle Textura also provides value that the others couldn’t match. Banking security clearly was a key reason KBD Group selected Oracle Textura, given the erratic nature of previous manual processes. A KBD Group project coordinator would spend time retyping the subcontractor’s pay application into their ERP, which then went through a rigorous approval process that included a final review by the accounting department.
“We were trying to find a way to reduce the extra time spent, just streamline the process,” she says. “We saw our people spending a lot of time with no value add, going back and forth, collecting documents that should have been the responsibility of the subcontractor, and it was taking away from the folks at the job.”
As KBD Group’s business soared, Robison says more staff would have been necessary if not for Oracle Textura’s streamlined pay apps process.
“Oracle Textura allows a quicker review process and is much more accurate,” she says. “With our increase in projects, we have not had to add additional accounting staff. The time savings has been tremendous.”
Selecting Oracle Textura also smooths relations with their subcontractors. Robison discovered that approximately 70% of their current subs were already familiar with or using Oracle Textura. Everyone wants to be paid on time, and with Oracle Textura, subcontractors are in charge of getting their pay applications completed on time and managing their confidential banking information, while KBD Group has the responsibility for reviews, approvals, and disbursement.
“We really liked the idea of the subcontractor being in complete control of that information,” she says. “And of course, we wanted to consistently pay our increasing number of subs in a timely manner.”
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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.