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'Excess Granted': Subs can now capitalize on project overages

'Excess Granted': Subs can now capitalize on project overages

by KARL SORENSEN, BW research lead

Leftovers are arguably most appreciated over the long Thanksgiving weekend. On job sites, however, they are unwelcome guests. After all, excess project materials usually mean unrecoverable costs. 

That is exactly the problem that Justin Ward, founder of Charlotte NC-based MEP Ally Inc., set out to solve in April 2013 with the launch of Threader, a mobile application designed specifically for the subcontracting community. Ward, a former plumbing contractor with more than 15 years in the field, wanted to devise an app that would serve his fellow subs, a contracting tier which he believes is too-often "neglected."

    T H R E A D E R

    T H R E A D E R

"Our goal is to stay relentlessly focused on the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) contractors," he explains. "We wanted to build something that earned the respect of that community, and that had a positive, direct impact on their bottom line."

MEP Ally's principal product, Threader, is a software-as-a-service platform that allows contractors to remotely track, buy, and sell jobsite materials within (and outside) organizations. Throughout the course of any project, design changes or procurement oversights usually result in overstocked or understocked shelves. For those with too much, contractors have limited options and run the risk of incurring restocking fees, disposing unsalvageable material, or expending resources to store materials. For those with too little, the subs run the risk of purchasing material already owned.

Screenshot of the Threader Marketplace

Screenshot of the Threader Marketplace

"It's an operational tool that so happens to have a marketplace," explains Ward. With this intuitive mobile application, subs can track overages and shift material around within the company, as well as from jobsite-to-jobsite, without needless expense of time or money. And for those who cannot find a good home for their unused leftovers, contractors can resell them to other firms within Threader 's network.

Adds Ward, "How we currently track material is inefficient. Excel does not communicate through the internal silos of an organization. But if I have a way to track my material, I can move it and make money from it."

Immediately upon launch, MEP Ally added a network of 15 contractors to the Threader marketplace. As that customer base has grown, so too has the value of the app. "Our goal is to maintain the integrity of the platform by using resources and our network to solve the bigger problems among the trades."

With plans to expand even more this year, along with other MEP offerings, Ward says he isn't just building products. He's building trust. "I'm not in the business of just selling components," notes Ward. "Our goal is to communicate to contractors that we have their backs -- that we are their allies -- with the products that we sell."  

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