Horizon Shipbuilding was named as one of the 2016 Alabama Innovation Award winners by the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama and honored with the Outstanding Achievement in Innovative Manufacturing category for its GORDHEAD collaboration software.

Before Horizon Shipbuilding developed its own specialized project management soft ware, the Bayou La Batre-based company relied on conversations remembered, estimates and drawings. And the more the company expanded, the more difficult it became to keep projects on track.

Horizon designs, constructs, repairs and maintains vessels for commercial, private and government customers, and was named the Mobile Area Chamber’s Innovator of the Year.

The idea for the software, called Gordhead, came when president Travis Short thought about how the project details he studied could be just as useful to managers and production team members.

Drawing on his persona; sense of humor, Short named the software after a muffled conversation he overheard on the company’s walkie-talkies, where one employee asked another, “Did you just cal me a Gordhead?”

Now Gordhead symbolizes a clear line of communication logging accurate, concise and timely information, including material costs, labor hours and schedules.

With the software loaded on wireless tablets, managers can see the daily impact to the company’s bottom line, resulting in shortened project timelines and a more efficient work schedule that saves labor costs.

But perhaps the greatest benefit, says Short, is an “increased degree of harmony among different levels of management . And when employees ask a questions or expresses a concern, they know they will be heard.”

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