Maxwell Systems helps contractors cut costs and improve control
By Jim Flynn
As all mason contractors know, the foundation of any project must be well constructed. If there are air pockets or incorrect mixtures, mason contractors can be exposed to lawsuits or civil and criminal charges, not to mention the potential injuries or fatalities that these errors can cause.
The same philosophy is true in running a masonry business. You must build a solid foundation of streamlined processes to ensure maximum efficiency and effectiveness to be profitable, especially in today’s economic climate. If you have “air pockets” in your business operations, such as a disconnect between your departments, or you rely on a disjointed mixture of data, productivity obstacles and financial challenges will result.
As competition increases, bids become tighter, and profits become smaller, it is imperative to review your processes and assure opportunities aren’t slipping through the cracks due to a lack of internal communications or coordination.
Multiple Systems Can Equal Multiple ProblemsIn many construction companies, the estimators, project managers, and accounting team work in their individual silos and share little, if any, information with one another. This further hinders the owner’s ability to manage effectively and keep an eye on true costs and profitability.
This type of work environment has been amplified as a result of the growing number of technologies available to help contractors improve their businesses. Estimators have become more efficient with automated takeoff and estimating solutions. Project managers are able to run projects more effectively with software specifically tailored to their needs. And, the accounting team has been able to process payroll and better manage financials with their software tools.
These various software tools can help contractors; however, as disparate systems, they also present some serious challenges.
If you are using different software packages to handle estimating, project management, financial management, workforce management, equipment and materials management, and procurement and inventory, your team is entering the same information about a project in multiple systems, multiple times.
Duplicate data entry is time consuming, and redundancy is often prone to error or even worse, omission. This hits your bottom line hard, and often without you even realizing it. Your errors and omissions equate to reduced profit or financial loss on jobs.
Accuracy is also an issue. If two departments are working from different sets of data, it will be difficult to determine what information is accurate. Also, in order to produce the necessary management reports, data must be pulled from separate systems and then merged. This is time consuming and hinders timely response to issues. When you can’t react quickly, can’t make confident and informed decisions, and can’t trust the integrity of your data, you’re most certainly not managing for optimal profitability.
From Bid to CashThe answer? Utilize a complete solution from one vendor to streamline operations from bid to cash. By having everyone on your team using the same solution with features tailored to each particular role, you will achieve true connectivity between departments, increase productivity, improve data integrity, and gain better control of your business.
With an end-to-end solution, your takeoff and estimate details are automatically carried through to project scheduling and used in procurement and billing, and beyond. By having takeoff, estimating, proposal management, project management, financial management, service management, and procurement management all handled with one solution, you are able to monitor and control profitability and productivity for jobs of any size and make the most of every project.
Something for EveryoneWith digital or digitized takeoff, you will save time, improve accuracy, and cut costs on paperwork. By automating your estimating process, you can quickly and accurately quantify, price and bid projects. You’ll know the true cost to execute jobs and understand where profit can be made. This is especially valuable when contracts are awarded based on low price, and profit margins are minimal.
When a job is awarded, the original estimate can be used to automatically set up a new job when you use an all-in-one solution. From there, the project manager can quickly view various costs for a project to make decisions, easily schedule time and labor, and track important documents. Also, your project manager will be able to identify profitable opportunities and create change orders, as well as track them so you never lose track of outstanding requests. With an end-to-end solution, project managers have centralized, real-time information to easily compare budgets against pending and posted costs.
Financial management is in a complete solution, too, so your job costing and ongoing changes are synchronized with hard financial data, enabling you to control proper recognition of revenue. With access to all project information, the finance team can streamline data entry and easily create real-time reports for management. You can easily manage complex human resources, including payroll, worker’s compensation, union, certified payroll, EEOC, and more with an integrated workforce management tool.
With equipment management included in a completion solution, mason contractors are able to track equipment usage and maintenance costs and bill against projects. Again, managing with true job costs, you will be able to run your business with insight and boost your bottom line.
Maxwell SystemsThe same goes for buying and managing your materials. You can easily track materials inventories, plant costs, and customer invoicing; route purchase orders; automate payments to truckers; and monitor costs. Procurement is another step in the seamless process, and you will be able to efficiently buyout jobs and track materials, purchase at the best possible price, and manage projects effectively.
Better Manage Projects, Maximize ProfitsIn a market where bids are tight and profits are low, the right solution can give you an important competitive edge. Having estimating, job cost accounting, and project management combined in an all-in-one solution, you can bid quickly and accurately, streamline processes, eliminate redundancies, and cut costs.
To reach your business’ success potential, you should consider investing in a complete solution that brings your team together, improves control, allows you to manage with insight into productivity, and helps you understand how to maximize profit on every job.
Originally published in Masonry magazine.
About the Author
Jim Flynn is the President and CEO of Maxwell Systems.