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How connecting remote workers helped Fairmark double growth

Josh Melanson connected his workforce to set his business apart from competitors of all sizes.

construction workers with backhoe

Construction is one of the oldest industries. While techniques, materials and tools have changed significantly over time, its administrative systems haven’t kept up. Whether tracking daily safety compliance, jobsite progress or invoicing, there is a lot of paperwork. Paperwork that must safely and efficiently travel from disparate jobsites to the office and on to clients or vendors.

Josh Melanson is the president of Fairmark Contracting, a civil construction company based in Langley, B.C. For him, finding efficiencies within the many daily administrative tasks of his business was necessary.

“Construction is getting–and this is a good thing–harder and harder from a paperwork or administrative side,” says Melanson. “We need to get data from the field back to the office, whether that’s my office or a customer’s office, in real-time. So that remote connectivity and the ability to fill forms out, digitally sign them and get them out of the field and into an office is paramount.”

Old industry, new ideas

With just two and a half years in business, Fairmark was quickly gaining steam when the pandemic hit. In fact, they were just about to move into their own office space. There were big hopes in how this new office could further strengthen the company’s connection. “Construction is an old-school mindset,” acknowledges Melanson, “and we’re trying to keep up with the expectations of the work but also build this cool team culture.”

While the field team of twenty was already working remotely at job sites, the six-person office team needed to be able to collaborate and communicate seamlessly from home, and later, in a hybrid mix of home and office. They were able to be productive and collaborate as an office team using Rogers Unison including seamlessly working with the field team, vendors, and clients, while maintaining what Melanson believes sets Fairmark apart: “Competing against guys that have been established for 70 years, how do you differentiate yourself? For me, it’s about that level of professionalism.”

Working with Rogers for Business, Melanson was able to improve professionalism out in the field. He equipped team leads and foremen with iPads so they could quickly handle paperwork. The rest of the field team got iPhones to ensure uninterrupted communication. Each day safety forms are filled out and filed right away, parts can be ordered as soon as the need arises and there’s the flexibility to FaceTime Melanson to show site progress or a specific issue.

Unlike competitors relying on paper, there’s no waiting to get back to the office to take action. Moreover, the quickness in which information can be shared over the Rogers network results in more timely updates to clients. “Network reliability gets tested as we work all over the place,” confirms Melanson.

Best of all, these efficiencies have allowed Melanson to focus on big-picture thinking. “We doubled the size of the business during the pandemic. We were able to find growth and do it in a safe and sustainable way.”

Opportunities for future growth

“Utilization and business analytics are something I am pushing heavily for,” says Melanson about how he’s looking to improve job costing. With a mixed fleet of pickup trucks and heavy equipment, asset management is an important piece of the puzzle. By working with Rogers, Fairmark is leveraging fleet management technologies to track asset utilization and ensure the security of equipment at remote jobsites.

Melanson believes a continued focus on digital efficiencies will continue to set Fairmark apart. “With the demands today and where we are going, those who implement this technology now are going to be the leaders, even in this old school construction industry.”

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