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Boost Companywide Performance With a ‘Complete’ Software Solution
Originally published: 06.01.11 by Karl Rajotte
Many HVACR contractors have purchased software solutions in an ad hoc way. That is, if they needed a payroll system, that was one investment; then, if they chose to implement automated estimating, that was a separate investment; and so on, across the business.
Although these investments probably improved efficiency, they did not accomplish the ultimate goal of any business investment: optimal productivity and profitability. That’s because separate programs can’t seamlessly share data, provide real-time project information, or improve workflow and communication. In fact, they create obstacles by causing duplicate work, creating delays and mistakes, clouding true job costs, and failing to provide timely insight into how a job or the overall business is performing.
There is a solution: complete construction/contracting management software that can be used by the whole team to efficiently manage entire projects.
How do you know your company needs such a solution?
When processes are duplicated, and software applications can’t share information, business tend to see three major problems:
• Redundant data entry.
• An increase in mistakes.
• An inability to manage with or analyze real-time data.
Growth Brings Out Shortcomings
These problems become bigger and more costly as companies
But these won’t solve the problems. Outgrowing piecemeal solutions is common as the overall velocity of work increases and the need for quick access to accurate and up-to-date critical information grows. Connecting and streamlining processes with a unified solution can reduce waste, uncover lost opportunity, expose shortcomings, and maximize resources — all which impact profit and the bottom line.
Such as system enables contractors to quickly determine costs for materials, labor, and equipment; prepare detailed estimates and proposals; negotiate bids; keep projects on schedule and on budget and easily compare budget against pending and posted costs; identify and issue change orders to capture additional profit; manage equipment utilization and maintenance; efficiently manage employees in office and field; have insight into financial data and work-in-progress reports; and simplify billing, payroll, procurement, reporting, and more.
What a Complete Solution Can Do
A complete solution allows one-time data entry, so that the information captured during estimating flows through to accounting, project management, and beyond. Team members, working in or out of the office, are able to eliminate redundant data entry, which can be extremely time consuming and prone to error. Errors, or worse — omissions — can negatively impact job profitability and cause costly mistakes.
Of special interest to HVACR contractors, a complete solution helps manage all critical aspects of the business, including:
Estimating accurately and negotiating effectively, which is especially critical when competing on fixed-price contracts.
Effectively assigning crews and equipment to ensure that a contract is fulfilled according to schedule.
Properly managing the buying process by finding the lowest-cost materials that meet contract specifications, and monitoring fluctuating prices for commodity products to stay on budget.
Easily processing and reporting payrolls, as well as recording work and calculating earnings, benefits, fringes, insurance liabilities, and taxes.
Handling complex human resources issues, including Workers’ Compensation, Union, Merit Shop, Certified Payroll, EEOC, etc.
Working efficiently with accounts receivable and payable.
Using mobile technology to access up-to-date project information, whether in the office or in the field, and eliminate job folders filled with papers.
Controlling job costs and proper recognition of revenue, whether from a project or service agreement, and ease of tracking to-date job costs against budgeted costs, including committed costs for material purchases.
A complete solution also provides contractors with a wide and deep visibility into every aspect of jobs and operations from beginning to end. So throughout projects’ lifecycles, managers can identify and prevent potential financial losses, spot discrepancies and errors, and manage projects with accurate information in real-time.
For accounting processes in particular, a seamless system ensures that commitments and payments are processed efficiently and accurately because all data is in a central location and applications for accounts payable, general ledger, project costing, billing, payroll, and purchase orders are integrated. This not only improves accuracy and saves time, but also allows owners to gain strict control of costs and financial obligations, and manage with strategic information readily available for timely decision-making and forecasting.
Furthermore, contractors have true job costing and can track jobs, identify variance items that affect budget and/or schedule, and anticipate problems in time to resolve them, and so stay on top of performance and profitability.
Providing end-to-end control and streamlined processes, a bid-to-cash solution can be the single most valuable software investment an HVACR contractor of any size can make. Contractors can have all the applications they’ll ever need, as well as a unique weapon that allows them to control costs and gain or maintain an increasingly important competitive edge.
Karl Rajotte is Director of Product Management – MEP at Maxwell Systems, Inc.. You can contact Karl at 1-800-688-8226 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please visit www.maxwellsystems.com for additional information.
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