D.J. Kranz says a long list of repeat clients is due to its focus on excellence. When D.J. Kranz Co. Inc. began constructing the Maple Grove Hospital in Maple Grove, Minn., the general contractor knew the structure was designed to have an emergency department, five operating rooms, a state-of-the-art labor and delivery department and a number of general medical and surgical patient rooms. The 301,000-square-foot, five-story project has space for 90 beds – and a potential to expand to 300 beds. It may seem like a standard hospital project, but D.J. Kranz wanted to help the hospital provide the best environment possible for healing.
“Maple Grove Hospital, a partnership of North Memorial Health Care and Fairview Health Services, is a progressive facility built to provide high-quality healthcare services to the residents of Maple Grove and the surrounding northwest metro area of Minneapolis,” President Bruce Quam explains.
“Nature is a focus of the hospital, and large, open areas provide natural light and views of the beautiful campus. The site was designed to save as many of the existing trees as possible. As a result, the campus has a very mature woodsy feel to it.”
Quam says the hospital’s design was based on the principles of the Green Guide to Healthcare, so D.J. Kranz partnered with electric utility Xcel Energy and the Weidt Group, a consultant, to select the most energy-efficient mechanical and electrical systems. The company’s goal was to use systems that not only would yield a fast return on investment, but also provide substantial rebates to the owner from the utility companies. At an off-site location, D.J. Kranz created full-size models of the patient and procedure rooms so medical staff could test the design and easily make changes before actual construction.
“The hospital was built under an aggressive timeline, and we finished both on time and under budget,” Quam explains. “The owners, staff, patients, construction team and general public have been extremely satisfied with the end result.”
He notes this is just one example of D.J. Kranz’s “dedication to construction excellence.” Founded in 1928, the company says it has earned a reputation for excellence in its work by delivering superior projects, as well as a high level of service and value. The contractor is confident that “our goal of construction excellence is consistent with our customers’ building expectations” because 80 to 90 percent of its annual project volume comes from repeat clients.
“Construction excellence is exhibited by our complete dedication to the customer, providing the most superior end result possible,” Quam says. “A majority of our business consists of repeat customers, and some customers date as far back as 1956. They desire the highest level of customer care, and after working with us, expect it again and again. We deliver on this by exceeding the owners’ expectations.
“At D.J. Kranz, we provide a high level of service and a superior building product at an exceptional value,” he continues. “Beyond this, the team at D.J. Kranz has a high level of integrity and truly believes in doing what is right and ethical.”
He explains the company’s 24/7 emergency response program is a prime example of this. “This program assists our customers in a time of crisis,” he says. “For example, on one cold January morning, we received a call from a customer that had a car drive through their showroom window at 3 a.m.
“Our team responded and had the crisis under control within an hour of receiving the phone call.”
Quam points to the Luther Brookdale Chevrolet project in Brooklyn Center, Minn., as another example of D.J. Kranz’s promise to deliver excellence through its work. This project required the construction of a new showroom, office areas, a customer lounge and service drive areas inside the building, as well as the addition of a dual-bay car wash on-site.
The company also remodeled the building’s exterior to feature a system of glass and metal panels, which met the manufacturer’s design requirements of an energy-efficient storefront.
Additionally, Quam explains, D.J. Kranz renovated the vehicle display and parking lot areas with new storm sewers, curbs, lighting, asphalt paving, underground utilities, vehicle display pads and landscaping.
“The major challenge with this project was performing the work while maintaining our customers’ ability to operate their business,” he says. “Accomplishing that involved performing the work in multiple phases, and quickly turning over the most critical areas to minimize the interference to their customers.
“The last phase of site work will be completed this spring and will wrap up a successful project for the owner and ultimately their customers,” he adds.
Continuous communication with its customers and subcontractors helps D.J. Kranz deliver projects on schedule. Quam explains that close coordination with project team members helps the project remain on task if problems with the weather, or supply or labor shortages, crop up.
“D.J. Kranz realizes that a successful project requires many people working together, and we value the contributions of all,” Quam stresses. “Our superintendents focus on making the job site efficient and try to instill an atmosphere of teamwork.
“They eliminate any situation where a trade would fall behind schedule by holding frequent foremen meetings and encouraging the crews to anticipate their needs and schedule,” he continues. “SureTrak is a program that has worked well to map out project milestones, deadlines, and critical path tasks. With this software, long lead items can be anticipated and ordered.”
To keep budgets in check, D.J. Kranz works efficiently and strives to get supplies and materials with the best value.
“Supplies are purchased locally, which not only minimizes shipping costs but also helps to stimulate the economy in which our clients and employees live,” Quam explains. “We analyze and anticipate staffing needs, trying to keep our crews working efficiently – sometimes between various job sites. Budgets are reviewed often so that our customers can utilize cost savings.
“We also assure that our customers receive cost-effective pricing by obtaining multiple bids on all subcontracted work,” he continues. “Additionally, recycling construction waste – wood, metal, concrete, cardboard – provides a cost savings as well as a substantial savings to the environment.”
Acknowledging that “the economy is tough for the majority of construction-related companies at this time,” Quam says D.J. Kranz has encountered a number of challenges in the market. Bidding has become more competitive, and capital continues to be difficult to obtain for projects.
“Our clients realize the challenges with obtaining capital, and they are working alongside us to determine the wisest strategy for their budgets,” Quam says.
“This may mean renovation rather than a new building, or creatively searching for ways to maintain their current structures,” he adds. “They know that pricing is very competitive, and we have responded with an expanded subcontractor list to ensure that our prices stay competitive.”
To keep its own costs in line, D.J. Kranz has adjusted its staff to have the lowest-possible overhead, but has maintained its dedication to quality work.
“We continue to treat our customers with the utmost respect and provide cost savings whenever possible,” Quam explains. “We refuse to compromise quality, and we believe this choice will be best for our customers in the long term.” This is key to ensuring the company’s continued growth, he stresses, as well as its reputation for construction excellence.
“Despite our rapidly changing world, one thing remains the same – D.J. Kranz treats its employees, customers and subcontractors with respect,” Quam says. “We all realize the importance of building above and beyond the requirements of the owner. Throughout the course of any project, we remain flexible and are willing to assist with a broader scope of responsibility.
“First and foremost, we want the customer to be satisfied and call us for the next project that comes along,” he continues. “That will only happen if the customer is satisfied with our work – not only from a quality and service perspective, but also from a cost perspective. Our project managers, superintendents and craftspeople are very critical of the quality of the work that is being installed on our projects. D.J. Kranz has retained a well-trained staff and will be well positioned for the upturn in the marketplace. The economy will recover. We believe the future is bright.”