Throughout this week, members of the BuiltWorlds team are embarking on a Road Trip through South Florida. Their mission: to learn all about the area’s key innovations that are pushing the built industry forward in new and unique ways. One of the companies spearheading that drive toward the future in South Florida is Stiles Construction, a 67-year-old commercial real estate firm that’s shaped the Fort Lauderdale skyline.
As the BuiltWorlds team toured jobsites nearby Stiles’ Fort Lauderdale headquarters, they learned more about the company’s push for new technology on the jobsite. “That’s a 42-story tower that we plan on blanketing entirely with DeWalt wifi,” said Kris Lengieza, Vice President of Operational Excellence at Stiles, when referring to a jobsite beginning to lay the foundation. “We can more effectively use tools like Procore out in the field, then, so the guys don’t have to go back to the office.”
Streamlining the building process in that way helps Stiles run a particularly tight jobsite. Everything is scheduled, notated, and it’s getting easier to see who is on the jobsite, what they’re working on, and what tools they have. “We didn’t really track how good of a job we were doing,” Lengieza said of Stiles in the past. “I don’t think that’s atypical of organizations. I think we were pretty common in that.”
Click play above to see a Stiles construction come together.
Where Stiles is atypical, however, is in their approach to remedying that gap in information. On top of deploying advanced technology on their jobsites, Stiles has noticed the reluctance the industry often has to adopt new technology and quelled its fears with friendly, enjoyable coaching sessions.
“We have provided all of our superintendents, all of our field guys, iPads, so now they all have the devices and we have now enabled them. We’ve given them no excuses not to do it. But that’s not enough. You need to get people understanding where the benefit for them is, so what we’ve done is gone with a grassroots effort where we will bring in superintendents and anyone that wants to join us for a training.”
– Kris Lengieza, Vice President of Operational Excellence
The grassroots effort that Stiles is using to shepherd new technology onto their sites is only as effective as it is flexible, too, and as the company has quickly learned, taking input from everyday users is immeasurably valuable. Superintendents can suggest new avenues to use Procore on the jobsite, for example, and the company has taken these ideas on several occasions to better shape their software solutions.
As Stiles expands operations throughout the southeast, they’re continuing to call upon their workforce to propel change forward. To embrace innovation, they’ve learned, they must do it as a collective force. Changes can’t only come from the top down. “Now people are seeing the benefits of what we’ve put in place,” Lengieza explained. “We’ve also been changing the culture a little bit. If you have something that you don’t like the way it works, tell us about it. We might be able to fix it.”