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Case study

How one general contractor is keeping it together

Staying organised in the office and on the job site is no easy task for Centric. But with Dropbox, they've got a strong foundation to build on.

The Roasterie Kansas City factory, with twin-propeller aeroplane built into design of roof

Founded in 2010, Centric Build is a general contractor in Kansas City whose projects are just as much about technical innovations and problem-solving as they are about square footage and floor plans. They depend on simple, reliable tools to keep everyone organised, whether they’re in the office or on a job site.

Centric’s key results:

  • Thousands of projects easily organised
  • Cut down on paper use, saving time
  • Money saved on other software

The challenge

Access & organisation for thousands of projects

Centric prides itself on saying ‘yes’ where others say ‘no’. They engage in projects that pioneer possibilities and drive social movement. Whether it’s a family home or a commercial building, every project requires collaboration of a large team, including managers, designers and contractors.

From the beginning, Centric aimed for an open, flexible, nimble culture that could adapt to clients’ needs. They also wanted a cloud-based version of a server where they could organise all their files and access them from any device. Dropbox was the right fit from the start, and 12 years later, a much larger Centric still uses Dropbox to keep thousands of projects organised, synced and secured

Whether we have four or 130 employees, it's still the same process, and that’s a good thing. Dropbox is Dropbox.

Matt Hall, Managing Director, Centric
3 men stand around table reviewing architectural drawings

The solution

Secure file sync, share and storage

Around 90 employees currently use Dropbox, including eight engineers and 45 project managers. What kinds of files do these employees store and share through Dropbox? Everything: estimates, invoices, construction drawings, employee timesheets and more. As soon as Centric wins a contract, the project administrator will create a project folder with as many as 20 subfolders for items like budgets, drawings, contracts, schedules and safety reports. The administrator will then assign the project team – including the project manager, engineer and site manager – and give them access to that folder.

File versions can multiply on team projects, but Dropbox solves this with its syncing feature. When someone at Centric opens a file, they see who else is working on it and avoid saving over the other person’s work.

Dropbox helps share files – but not everything is meant to be shared widely. For example, most employees shouldn’t have access to HR files or the information required for project estimates. Dropbox keeps files secure through file permissions, all while giving everyone access to the files they do need, promoting a fluid work culture.

Centric also provides shared Dropbox links to external parties to share single files, without giving access to an entire folder. People outside the organisation see exactly what they need to see, and nothing more.

We’ve looked to change so much of our software. Dropbox is the only one we’ve stuck with.

Matt Hall, Managing Director, Centric
Matt Hall, Managing Director, Centric, points at television displaying folders of files

The results

Increased organisation & efficiency

Centric’s Dropbox usage has increased as the company has grown, but Dropbox is as simple to use as ever – and Centric likes it that way. It’s still the same process to organise, access and share files from any device. And everyone knows Dropbox, making onboarding new people easy. Training amounts to illustrating the standard project folder organisation and locating particular files, such as financial forecasting templates.

Without Dropbox, Centric wouldn’t be nearly as organised and they likely would use the same old-school setup as other construction companies: hundreds of filing cabinets lining the perimeter of the office. Dropbox has helped Centric cut down on paper use, saving time and money of printing and filing documents. It also saves time for employees, who can create, access and share documents from anywhere – in a fraction of the time.

Centric is always looking to improve, including trying new software. Dropbox is the one software that Centric has stayed with in 12 years, because the company has no reason to switch. Even after purchasing a project management tool, Centric still organises everything in Dropbox, knowing everything is secure.

In Dropbox, Centric has found a one-stop solution to saving every file in the company for every employee at every level.

Time is money in any industry. With Dropbox, you don’t have to work the old way, and that saves a tremendous amount of time.

Matt Hall, Managing Director, Centric