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Digital construction procurement platform Agora has been renamed Kojo as it expands to support new construction professions. The company is also launching new products to help customers manage inventory, track project expenses, and reconcile invoices.
According to McKinsey, the construction sector is expected to grow from $10 trillion in 2017 to $14 trillion in 2025. The company predicts that approximately $1.6 trillion in additional value could be created through increased productivity with tools such as construction digital twins and procurement automation. Kojo tools reduce the time it takes to place complex orders, streamline delivery schedules, and reduce the need for on-site inventory.
The company quadrupled annual recurring revenue in the last year by helping bring automation to the construction sector. This growth has been fueled by the unprecedented material sourcing challenges in the construction industry.
“Material prices were skyrocketing and supply chain bottlenecks made it difficult for contractors across the country to source the materials they needed to do their jobs,” Maria Rioumine, Kojo’s CEO and co-founder, told VentureBeat.
Kojo is a term that comes from lean manufacturing and suggests maximizing productivity while minimizing waste. The company claims to reduce the time superintendents spend managing materials by up to 38%, which translates to an average productivity gain of $173,888 per year. Kojo claims his tool also streamlines procurement-related office tasks by 75%, saving construction sites an average of $124,000 per year. In addition, teams can obtain more quotes and automate the process of placing larger orders to save an average of 3-5% in materials per order.
With Kojo, field service teams can access the Kojo mobile app and have real-time insight into existing orders, material inventory and delivery status. The app also makes it easy to back-order materials from previous jobs, create pre-approved bills of materials, and reduce the time previously spent back-and-forth with buyers to clarify what materials are needed.
New features that automate Requests for Quotation (RFQ) help contractors solicit bids from more vendors to reduce material costs. The software can also help set prices in advance and manage larger purchases.
Expansion into new professions
In general, the construction industry is a digital laggard compared to others. To gain approval, the user experience needs to be simplified and the workflow streamlined for construction workers, managers, and office teams. However, the work processes can vary greatly depending on the trade.
They therefore decided to focus specifically on the electrical trades to ensure the software would solve their sourcing problems. This success helped expand into other areas. The company has now expanded into all major trades including mechanical, concrete, drywall, roofing, flooring and self-executing general contractors.
“Our process for expanding into a new market or building a new tool always starts with on-site research,” said Rioumine. “We physically go to our customers’ offices and job sites to learn first-hand how they run their business so we can make sure we’re building a solution that solves their biggest problems.”
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