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Smarter Building

In 2009, Jason Adams wasn’t sure what was next. The thirtysomething entrepreneur based in Bend, Oregon had already built up a successful land development business, but the area had just been hit with a housing crash, turning Bend into one of the fastest depreciating real estate markets in the country. Adams watched 90-95% of his […]

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With a detailed map of the approval and review process, Adams created a visualized project schedule. Now, his entire company could see the current status of every project at any time, anywhere in the process. But he didn’t stop there. He designed it to give employees specific instructions at each stage in the process. Essentially, the data platform tells employees exactly what they need to do, when they need to do it, empowering them to reprioritize what they need to work on. As a result, Arbor Builders increased the number of city submittals by 450% and almost eliminated time-wasting meetings. Adams then applied the same process to other aspects of his business, including financing and warranty service, to push efficiency and organization at every level.

If you ask another builder when a particular house will be done, they can’t tell you because they don’t know. If you ask them about specific features of the house, they’re not sure. Arbor Builders’ employees can not only tell you exactly when the house will be completed but also exactly what will be inside. Adams admits his team isn’t perfect, but he believes his company can pivot quickly and fix mistakes because of the data at their fingertips, every single day. “Analytics gives us the visibility to create the plan,” he explains, “but also helps us understand that the plan is being followed.”

Adams’ passion for data led him to launch another venture, Build Intelligence, which helps other production home builders transform their businesses the way he has. “The pinnacle of success will be empowering more builders with a forward-looking view,” he says. “Having the insight to know when to speed up, slow down, or stop, based upon rapidly changing market conditions, will be critical to the next generation of successful home builders. And cutting down the cost of time will deliver more affordable homes to the market.”

Some industries are slow to change. But if Adam’s journey is evidence of anything, it’s that even the most complicated, outdated, and approval-laden industries can be transformed through data. That innovation can happen anywhere if you have the insight to look at it differently, to ask questions and push against norms. “The pinnacle of success,” he explains, “will be empowering more builders with a forward-looking view.”

*A variation of this article was originally printed on Forbes.com

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