University of Minnesota Saves Millions with Fewer Construction Change Orders and Claims, Improves Collaboration with Project Management Solution
 
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University of Minnesota Saves Millions with Fewer Construction Change Orders and Claims, Improves Collaboration with Project Management Solution

The University of Minnesota is one of the most comprehensive public universities in the United States, offering more than 370 fields of study at campuses in the Twin Cities, Duluth, Morris, Crookston, and Rochester. It also has six agricultural experiment stations, two biological stations, one forestry station, and regional extension services throughout the state.

The university’s capital planning and project management department oversees approximately 300 capital projects annually, valued at US$250 million. Typically, 10 to 15 of those projects have budgets exceeding US$2 million.

 
 

 
 

Challenges

A word from University of Minnesota

  • "With Oracle’s Primavera Unifier, we have introduced standardized project management methodologies, resulting in significant savings and enabling us to be better stewards of the projects entrusted to our group.” – Kevin McCourt, Business Manager, Capital Planning and Project Management Department, University of Minnesota

  • Deploy a robust project management solution to support the university’s new capital planning and project management group, which oversees more than US$250 million in projects annually across multiple campuses and school facilities
  • Standardize and automate processes and closely track the cost of capital projects, which range from classroom building construction to campus infrastructure initiatives, to ensure on-time, on-budget completion
  • Improve ability to locate and manage project documentation to increase transparency and collaboration and reduce the number and size of claims
  • Ensure prompt payment to contractors and suppliers to meet contractual requirements and promote good relations

Solutions

Oracle Product and Services

  • Gained a consistent project management methodology and process for the university’s construction projects with Oracle’s Primavera Unifier, improving the team’s ability to complete projects on time and within budget and achieving return on investment in three years
  • Integrated contract and financial management and enabled the capital projects group to track and benchmark costs to gain a more accurate picture of expenditures associated with building certain types of campus structures, whether instructional buildings or infrastructure projects
  • Reduced the number of change orders by 15%―saving US$3.7 million in 2009 alone―thanks to more detailed cost and scope information, audit trails, and transparency
  • Reduced legal risk and claims payments by creating a centralized repository for project information and documents―such as change orders and architectural drawings―which enables the university to monitor the flow of information and streamlines access to critical documentation
  • Integrated Primavera Unifier with Oracle’s PeopleSoft Financials, automating the flow of payment and timesheet information for more rapid payment processing 
  • Enabled the university to consistently pay contractors within 30 days, as contractually obligated, compared to 60-to-90 days previously, ensuring work continuity and good relations with contractors
  • Improved collaboration by enabling contractors, architects, as well as other internal stakeholders, to enter and view change orders, drawings, and more, as well as access critical documents from a standard browser
  • Enabled accurate, real-time data reporting and online project summaries
  • Made it easier for contractors to work with the university as processes and reporting systems are now consistent for all project managers
  • Used audit capabilities to assess project manager performance and provide opportunities for coaching to improve overall performance

Why Oracle

“An important reason that we chose Oracle’s Primavera Unifier was that it is designed as an owner’s application; in other words, it is designed with the business user in mind,” said Kevin McCourt, business manager, capital planning and project management department, University of Minnesota. “It offers comprehensive project management capabilities, is not complex to use, and is highly configurable.”

Implementation Process

Two university employees and two consultants implemented Primavera Unifier in two phases, using the solution’s configuration capabilities to customize the group’s business processes. It first converted those unrelated to finance. The team next developed the financial and accounting processes, which included creating an automated interface to the university’s PeopleSoft general ledger system.