Founded in 1944, Sellen Construction is the largest locally-owned General Contractor (GC) in the Pacific Northwest. As one of the region’s top contractors, Sellen is known for improving the lives of others by building mission-driven projects with safer and more sustainable practices. To continue their positive impact on the construction industry, Sellen underwent a digital transformation in 2017 to standardize their digital technology ecosystem, define their approach towards innovation, and create a culture of inclusivity and learning to support the adoption of new technology.
“We wanted to look at how things are connected beyond point solutions to deliver better projects, empower our workers, and collaborate with the industry,” says Jenny Moshea, Head of Technology at Sellen.
To support their digital strategy and vision, Sellen partnered with Autodesk and select partners to adopt technology solutions that allowed them to:
- Focus on process, collaboration, and knowledge sharing;
- Fulfill its subcontractor and supplier diversity and inclusion initiatives; and
- Collect data with the goal of understanding project performance and risk management through predictive analytics.
A Unique and Collaborative Approach to Projects
A lack of standardization was leading to inconsistent workflows. To enhance collaboration, communication, and efficiency, Sellen created its “Digital Core”, which includes Autodesk Construction Solutions. The goal behind Sellen’s Digital Core was to enable standardized workflows across projects, connecting construction data and processes across design, pre-construction, and construction.
“When I joined the company, job sites had isolated and unique technology components,” says Moshea.
“We needed to standardize and consolidate to improve our practices to help build better for our people, clients, and the industry.”
With their technology stack in place, it was time for implementation. However, Sellen knew that technology was only one element of their strategy. They needed to consider how the technology would integrate within their company culture. Instead of making demanding mandates, they decided to try a unique approach with the roll-out: a board game.
“To have a little fun, we reimagined our Digital Core as a board game.”
“The game is a visual representation of our Digital Core, and the way that we engage with and train project stakeholders on new technology and when it should be implemented throughout the project lifecycle…And who doesn’t love a good game?” says Moshea.
How it Works: Testing the Digital Core
The Sellen Technology team brings the board game and accompanying cards and game pieces with them to every project kickoff. Each tool within the Digital Core maps to a function. The game is a catalyst of communication and collaboration between project stakeholders to understand who needs to be trained on what product and when.
Implementation of this methodology has helped improve the pre-construction process for Sellen.
People Powered: Engaging a Multi-Generational Workforce
Sellen is committed to developing an equitable future through fair hiring practices. To engage the community, attract talent, and build new relationships, Sellen is using BuildingConnected to break down bid packages to prequalify smaller subs, allowing them to be more inclusive.
“We have a tremendous opportunity to connect with historically underutilized subcontractors and help bridge the gap to entry into a number of our larger projects,” says Moshea.
Getting Innovative: Using Data for Better Decision-Making
With a technology strategy in place, Sellen is now working on centralizing and storing data with the goal of furthering their connected technology strategy. With centralized project data, the team will be able to connect the dots of project data to drive more predictable and successful project outcomes.
“That data is especially useful when it comes to identifying areas of improvement such as being able to measure ourselves and our subs in the areas of quality and safety,” says Moshea. “Our people and partners are our greatest asset, so we need to make sure that safe, quality outcomes come first.”
Cultivating the Future of Connected Construction
By connecting their construction technology beyond point solutions, Sellen has been able to deliver more consistent results, empower their people, and collaborate with the industry. They also show that the path to connected construction is unique to every organization and needs to be implemented in a way that achieves goals and aligns with values and teams.
“We’re all in different parts of the journey. It’s not defined by one model or one workflow,” says Moshea.
With their Digital Core, Sellen has woven consistency across jobsites and throughout the project lifecycle, connecting projects today and laying the groundwork to reap the rewards of connected project data now and into the future.
Want to learn more? Read the full story of how Sellen Construction Engages its ‘Digital Core’ to Improve the Lives of Others.