IURO Improves Efficiency, Communication, & Visibility With Wrike
IURO Constructora Integral designs and builds commercial and residential structures for a variety of clients. Building integral projects means developing with specific factors in mind — such as environment, budget, time and deadlines, and society and government policies — all with quality framework and congruent design. Their operation covers Cancún, Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, and Sian Ka’an. But they’ve gained a solid customer base and reputation of excellence in Tulum after their 15 years in business. The IURO team consists of a group of architects, designers, engineers, biologists, suppliers, contractors, consultancy and administrative staff, specialized technicians, as well as personnel in charge of the construction.
About four years ago, IURO realized they needed a better way to supervise their projects and communicate with key stakeholders. Charlie Hawthorne Flaherty, the Founder of IURO, was spending two hours every day just following up with his teammates and getting status updates for his projects. And with typically nine to 10 construction projects underway at once, that time was adding up. “Construction and design in Mexico are different. Lots more supervision is required because there’s less structure of law. We have to be so involved with good communication,” says Hawthorne Flaherty. “I thought I was tracking our follow ups, but people had forgotten about them.”
Without a central hub for all IURO communication, clients and staff were left confused and priorities became unclear. Billing and invoices were often lost in email threads or disorganized folder structures. “We were doing all these transactions by email,” notes Andrea Flores Diaz, the Commercial Director at IURO. “Sometimes it was hard for the client to keep track of how much money they had sent and how many invoices we had sent them.”
Plus, IURO workers and clients often speak different languages or are based in different time zones and countries, adding another communication barrier. “We had lawyers in Texas, the owner in Los Angeles, the designer in Scotland, the carpenter in India. And the project was moving. Imagine trying to do that over the telephone. It was a nightmare,” recalls Hawthorne Flaherty.
IURO knew they needed a way to give their workers, staff, and clients a single source of truth, so they could communicate, collaborate, and construct as quickly and efficiently as possible.
After trying Wrike’s free trial version four years ago, IURO decided to explore other tools — including OmniFocus, Monday.com, Trello, and Procore. “Even though we paid for these new tools, we didn’t like any of them as much as we liked Wrike,” notes Flores Diaz. “Because of the flexibility, price, and service, we went back to Wrike.”
Discovering new ways to improve efficiency
After moving their existing processes into Wrike, IURO soon identified new ways to streamline their workflow. “There are a lot of things that we used to do when we were all together in the same office that could have been done faster or better,” explains Flores Diaz. “We realize which tasks are pointless. Why do three people have to do this? Only one person can do this. Sometimes you don’t see these things when you’re in the office, you have to see it digitally. Wrike helps us with that and saves us time.”
IURO even started to reassess external processes with their clients and wondered, “Why are we still using email for this?” They discovered training their clients on using Wrike could simplify their interactions. “Now we teach clients Wrike, and we have added the use of Wrike in our construction contracts,” mentions Hawthorne Flaherty. “Any changes our clients want to make, they have to create a task in Wrike so we can budget for it or build it. That way there’s no doubt that we’re budgeting correctly and for what the client wants,” Flores Diaz adds, “We even have clients’ payment plans as tasks, so they know when and how much they have to pay.”
With Wrike, IURO found new ways to work better — as a team and with their clients.
Increasing collaboration and communication with staff and clients
Wrike is much more than just a project or process management tool for IURO. “Our previous tools didn’t have anything for collaboration,” remarks Hawthorne Flaherty. Wrike gives IURO the collaborative work management platform they needed to connect their team and simplify communication.
Even with the pandemic, “it was quite smooth to still stay connected,” explains Flores Diaz. “Now that Wrike is our office, we use two different Spaces. One is just for the directors, and the other one is the whole team. So we basically meet at the office in Wrike. We chat a lot there and have far more interactions than when we were at the office. We have gotten more clients involved in Wrike because there’s no other way of communicating. Email is just obsolete. It’s too many emails all over the place.”
IURO also uses Wrike to bridge language and location barriers for their team. “Not a lot of our teammates speak English,” continues Flores Diaz, “but you can set up Wrike to be in Spanish too, which is amazing. We also have the flexibility to communicate anywhere because you can have Wrike on your computer, on your phone, even on your watch.”
The better IURO can communicate, the clearer their priorities become. “With Wrike, you can easily see what’s required of you. If it’s urgent we usually tag or mention someone, so they know that it’s a priority,” states Flores Diaz.
Gaining visibility into project progress, timelines, and budgets
With Wrike, IURO’s progress and priorities are clearer than ever before. “Clients can see exactly what’s going on,” Hawthorne Flaherty notes, “even when we haven’t called in three days.” IURO’s clients can see conversations between architects and engineers, for example, adding a level of visibility that “allows clients to trust that things are moving forward, and that we haven’t forgotten about them,” says the Founder. “Because of this transparency, a lot of times what happens is they finally step back and say, ‘Wow, you guys are really moving. This is great. I can see the progress’.”
This visibility into project progress and timelines keeps IURO’s teams aligned and on budget. “Say the clients know that we have already passed stage one and we’re starting stage two,” Flores Diaz explains, “If they want to make a change that’s in stage one, they can see it’s already completed and green. So if they still want us to go back and make a change, they understand why it’s going to take more time, it might cost more money, or the project won’t end on the same day as established in the initial contract.”
Key views within Wrike give IURO leaders the insights they need to quickly adjust plans, shift priorities, and inform teammates as needed. “With Dashboards,” explains Hawthorne Flaherty, “I can zip over to see what my team is doing and get my updates. It’s raised everybody to a new level of interaction and a sense of control because they can see what their priority is. When inevitably something changes and priorities shift, not just one person knows. Everybody on that project knows what’s happened. You don’t have to call 18 million different people.”
Improving the team’s flexibility and scalability
Well before COVID-19 forced companies to switch to remote work, Wrike gave IURO more flexibility than their previous tools could deliver. “Obviously nobody expected a pandemic,” empathizes Hawthorne Flaherty, “but Wrike made us much more adaptable. Working remotely was not much of a change because we were already using the tools in Wrike. The other companies around us, and even many of the companies we work with, they didn’t have the tools.”
IURO can configure Wrike to how they want to work, not the other way around. And teams within IURO can work differently from each other as well. “For each project,” he continues, “we can structure Wrike how we want as opposed to trying to work the way that we do in Mexico into another person’s work style. Nobody else had that flexibility.”
The system also provides IURO with the scalability that’s critical to their long-term success. “We often have a number of projects running simultaneously,” says Hawthorne Flaherty, “But you don’t necessarily always control when the projects are going to be moving in construction, so you might have to grow from 10 people to 17 people in less than two weeks. To manage that fluctuation, you need something scalable. We have our workflows automatically set up the way we’d like to work, so when a new person comes in they have all the tools we use. Wrike makes it easy to scale. It makes us able to deal with the ebb and flow.” And if anyone leaves the team, “Wrike makes it very easy to pass all their work and pending tasks to a new hired person or divide the tasks amongst the current team,” explains Flores Diaz.
And with so many unknowns still remaining with the pandemic, IURO feels confident that Wrike is the right partner to support them along the way. “Whatever comes along,” asserts Hawthorne Flaherty, “Wrike gives us flexibility because we already have a structure to communicate. From the job site on top of the roof, down in a basement in the middle of the jungle, and when I’m in the United States visiting my family. I work as if I’m at the office, and there’s really not much difference.”
IURO now has a single system that works for their team and their clients. “Wrike allows us to function better in construction and design,” concludes Hawthorne Flaherty. “It really lends itself to the way that we need to work.” Flores Diaz adds, "Wrike has raised a lot of interactions and communication within our team and it's very clear what our priorities are."
With those clear priorities and automated processes in place — visible to clients as well as teammates — IURO can efficiently meet their deadlines on time and on budget. By partnering with Wrike, they’ve transformed and improved how they communicate, collaborate, and construct. IURO found the right tool to scale their business, no matter what comes next.