Archive for the ‘Service Companies’ Category
Sage Construction Anywhere (SCA), the cloud offering from Sage Construction and Real Estate has been a long time coming, but it’s definitely worth the wait, and will continue to get better as new versions are rolled out.
SCA was launched in May, 2012 and information from Sage about the product continues to arrive. Recently I participated in a webcast where Sage marketing executives related their plans for the product and gave Business Partners the green light to share them with customers.
The first release of SCA contains three components, a “connector” installed at the home office which links to your Sage construction accounting applications, Windows project portals running on Microsoft’s Azure platform, and access anywhere from a secure remote device. The portal is designed to run on a variety of devices including home PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. It contains a flexible way to request and access reports from your back office system, project maps and all of the necessary security and housekeeping functions. The connector installs quickly on your server.
A compelling example in the area of risk management was given to illustrate the value of having this kind of access from the jobsite. A superintendent could easily check the insurance of an arriving subcontractor before allowing them to begin work.
The first release of SCA currently is available only for Sage Timberline Office/Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate. SCA will eventually link to all Sage construction applications and will provide access for project participants like owners and architects even if they don’t have Sage construction software.
Functionality to be added in the near future (some of it this year) is going to target the needs of specific roles in the organization. First up is the superintendent, with some functions applying also to the project manager. Here are the planned features:
- Project Document Access and Management (including file syncing)
- Remote Time Capture (job centric and employee centric)
- Jobsite Time Approval
- Daily Reports
- RFI Management
Some companies currently using VPN’s to access data from the jobsite will find that SCA gives them the same access with greater flexibility and control.
Service Technician Tools
The first release of SCA is a good start. More exciting is the fact that Sage is devoting some serious resources to SCA and knows where it’s going. Further down the road you are going to see Service Technician Tools which will include customer site access to service requests, status, and service history, with more functionality sure to come.
Facilitating an Increasingly Mobile Industry
Today’s decision making can’t be confined to a desk since managers and their teams are at job sites, with clients, and on the road. In order to keep projects on track and make sure everyone is in the loop, Sage Construction Anywhere places critical project data at management’s fingertips wherever they go. Sage envisions greater collaboration, faster communication and improved jobsite decision making, speeding up projects and changing the way construction companies operate.
Sage Construction Anywhere is an easy-to-use, cloud-based service that gives you instant access to real-time project information anytime, anywhere from web-enabled tablets, smart phones and other mobile devices. For more information on available cloud technology, mobile applications, and TimberCloud Hosting contact Ledgerwood Associates.
Responding to customer service calls effectively and managing resources in multiple locations are required to maintain a high degree of customer satisfaction.
With increased competition and fewer jobs, effective estimating, cost management and budgeting are all essential to success. Sage Timberline Enterprise is an all-in-one software solution that provides everything a service and specialty business need to more effectively manage daily operations with more visibility and insight into the finances of your business.
Advanced integration across Purchasing, Inventory, Service Management, Accounting, and other modules provides superior access to data with improved workflow, accuracy, and the ability to communicate with ease. Enterprise helps everything fall into place by improving the way you provide service and manage your business.
For more information on this topic contact Ledgerwood Associates, the #1 Sage Timberline Business Partner in the Southwest!
BEAVERTON, OR (August 4, 2011)—Sage North America today announced the release of Sage Master Builder Version 17. Sage Master Builder allows construction companies—including those in the service and specialty segments—to more closely manage their clients and projects. The latest version focuses on three key areas, including: improving service operations, enhancing decision-making and streamlining administrative tasks.
The newly enhanced multi-day Dispatch Board enables more effective and efficient management and communication with field technicians. Incoming calls, work orders and bills can all be accessed from a central location and can be personalized for a company’s specific needs and processes.
Customizable User Dashboards provide the specific business metrics owners need for a holistic view of their company’s operations, while new Custom Alerts keep them on top of key business milestones and events. The new Year-End Wizard guides users through easier year-end closing, and more than 70 built-in human resources forms save construction businesses time and help reduce their liability.
“Sage Master Builder gives smaller construction companies a way to manage their businesses in a more productive way without having to invest in a larger, higher priced and more complex software suite,” said Jon Witty, general manager of Sage Construction and Real Estate. “With Version 17, Sage Master Builder includes new”mailt enhancements that companies need to take service management, reporting, and business analysis to the next level.”
Sage Master Builder integrates estimating, production, scheduling, accounting, service management and analysis in one convenient and easy-to-access system. For construction companies and service/specialty contractors outgrowing off-the-shelf accounting software, it is the ideal solution to get the information they need, when they need it and in the right format.
In an industry highly sensitive to scheduling and costs, the need for integrated software that enhances visibility and control of business operations and projects has never been greater. Sage Master Builder allows companies to see and command their business like never before.
Designed for the high-volume needs of service and specialty companies so they’re able to operate more efficiently and improve the quality of their customer service, enterprise delivers distinct advantages and benefits that will resonate with key roles across an organization, including:
Accounting Managers: The centralized database makes financial reporting streamlined and easy.
IT Managers: Based on Microsoft SQL, updating and administration are centralized and scalable.
Service Managers: Use the state-of-the-art dispatch board to match the right technician to jobs.
Owners: Superior integration, functionality and access to information to manage the bottom line.
For more information on this topic contact Ledgerwood Associates
With Version 17, Sage Master Builder includes new enhancements that companies need to take service management, reporting, and business analysis to the next level. For construction companies and service/specialty contractors outgrowing off-the-shelf accounting software, it’s the ideal solution to get the information you need, when you need it, and in the right format.
Improve your service operations and customer service:
- Service dispatch board enhancements: Take control of your service operations like never before. Email work order details to your field technicians to improve performance. Multi-day views, dispatch board personalization, and other features make scheduling and dispatching more efficient so you can operate leaner and more effectively.
Gain easier access to information you need to make better decisions and improve your bottom line:
- Customizable user dashboards: You’ll be able to monitor your company’s key metrics at a glance. Tailor your view of the real-time information you need most to achieve your goals, and drill down to view the underlying detail.
- Custom alerts: Want to be informed when a project goes over budget? How about receiving an over/under billing report that goes right to your email every month? With the new custom alerts feature, you’ll be able to create, edit, or modify pre-configured custom alerts that will appear on your dashboard or get emailed. Have the vital information sent to you when you need it.
Make administrative and accounting tasks more efficient and less risky:
- Human Resources Forms: Avoid costly claims and other employee related liabilities with proper documentation. Over 70 customizable forms are included to handle a variety of common HR tasks, including evaluations, applicants and new hires, time and pay, and disciplinary.
- Year-end wizard: An intuitive tool guides you through the year-end closing process, making it easier and more organized.
For more information on this topic contact Ledgerwood Associates, the #1 Sage Timberline Business Partner in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and the Southwest.
Service and specialty contractors have complex and highly specialized business needs. Examples of these types of contractors include: electrical, HVAC, plumbing, roofing, siding and sheet metal, landscaping, painting, carpentry, concrete, excavation, drywall, masonry and flooring.
In contrast to general contractors, who typically focus on longer term, large-scale jobs, service and specialty-oriented companies have many more specialized jobs to bid, manage, and execute. They have to juggle customer requests, coordinate service schedules, track parts, and manage a fleet of trucks; all of which must be done as effectively and efficiently as possible to ensure quality service while maintaining maximum profitability.
In a tough economy, service and specialty contractors are intently focused on reducing costs by maximizing their team’s efficiency. They want to take advantage of the newest technologies so they can streamline their operations and optimize customer service. The leaner their business processes, the more productive their teams can be. So, they’re looking to simplify operations by employing tools that enforce accountability while tracking business performance.
Service and specialty contractors looking to identify potential cost reductions and productivity improvements should first examine their information systems and related business processes. Many contractors experience difficulty with one or more of the following in their systems and processes:
Lack of Integration – Using multiple applications or manual processes
Error prone multiple data entry points
Tedious Workflow due to high volume and complexity of jobs and agreements
Difficulty managing complex inventory (e.g. parts, multiple locations)
Purchasing of equipment, parts coordinated with inventory, accounting and service
Poor equipment tracking and management
Communication breakdowns between staff, dispatch and back office teams
Dispatching the right technician with the right skills for the right amount of time
Difficulty making billing adjustments, and billing schedule
How new technology can solve these problems
Software is currently available that provides integration across purchasing, inventory, service management, accounting and other functional disciplines. Benefits include improved access to data, improved workflow and accuracy, and better inter-team communication. Here’s what you should look for in a top notch software package for service and specialty contractors:
- Complicated importing and exporting of data and bouncing back and forth from one software application to another are eliminated.
- Applications improve customer service by allowing dispatch to respond to incoming service calls, manage field technicians and process work orders and bills from a single work space.
- Modern, easy-to-use interfaces are intuitive and flexible. Layouts can be customized. Navigation is accomplished using process maps and Outlook-style menus.
- Work spaces provide interactive inquiries so users can easily work with their data. An example might be to examine a client site, edit trip data, and drill down to associated purchase orders or invoices within that work space.
- Information is stored in a centralized database providing the flexibility for remote access and add-on application integration. Automated and web-deployed updates help IT departments save time and cut costs.
- Process maps provide a visual representation of everyday role or department processes that simplify training.
- Critical financial and cost information is easy to access so users can quickly make important decisions and manage the bottom line.
iPad and Mobile Technology
Mobile technology is improving communication between service technicians, office and dispatcher with on-line real-time access to schedule changes and GPS location data. As a result, technicians always know where to go and what to do. Techs are also capturing more business opportunities in the field.
How to find the right technology and Solution Provider
You want a company with deep industry and business process expertise and a proven track record; one that can focus on creating a long-term relationship to create knowledge and usability of their systems. They can assign the right people, skills and technologies to help you improve your performance.
Before you decide on a solution provider look for the following:
Superior Implementation Methods
Refined methods for implementation, training and support services must include conducting a needs analysis to determine the solution and critical path schedule for a successful implementation while communicating progress at every step. Pre-built standard implementation methods reduce the time and resources needed for a successful software migration. You want a company with proven experience in specialty and service business operations, one that can provide:
- Software implementation, training and support services focused on the construction industry.
- Specialized material and resource database development for estimating and procurement.
- Hardware and network integration.
- Outsourcing with third parties or applications that specialize in your trade for creating maximum value to core competencies.
Experienced professionals deliver innovative solutions to assist in transforming your organization’s finance function, using best practice in finance management to achieve improved business performance.
The ideal company will help you define roles for each employee within the office workflow for increasing productivity and eliminating unnecessary costs.
Trust and Value
The lowest price is not always the best value. Look for a company you can trust to be there over the long haul; a company providing services that add value to your solution:
- Personalized Service – A company that wants to know you and your capabilities and resources for getting your business where you want it to go.
- Real-Time Answers – If your system needs attention yesterday, the ability to log into your systems and give you a helping hand.
- Reports You Need and Use – Consultants skilled at creating customized reports.
- Local and Regional Training and Seminars – Face-to-face and online skills improvement.
- Communication –Publishes an email newsletter or blog with technical tips and schedules of upcoming classes and software enhancements.
- Users Groups – Has local and/or national users group to learn from other users and create informal learning chains.
- Hardware and Network Support –Works with local and national Information Technology companies to share resources and knowledge of customer’s technology environments and recommend reputable companies.
Backed by Software Industry Leaders –Represents only the best in class software for the service and specialty contractors industry.
The ideal solution provider will work closely with you to develop the scope and standards of the services you require. They will incorporate substantial capability improvements and cost reductions into an innovative solution that meets your needs. They will apply pioneering process improvements and standardized leading-edge technologies to create and sustain business value.
What can you expect for your service and specialty contracting business? Finding the right technology and the right solution provider will likely result in streamlined financial operations coupled with substantial and sustained operating cost savings; transformational business outcomes with less risk, less capital and faster timelines.
We are hearing it all the time here at DB Data Inc. Construction companies are doing more work with less people just to try and keep from collapsing financially. In some cases, employees are doing double duty and doing jobs they don’t normally do. And what happens when we do something we are unfamiliar with on top of our current job coupled with the pressure to perform? Things fall through the cracks. Unfortunately those “things” often come in the form of lost dollars, whether it’s a change order that got overlooked or an adjustment to a contract that fell through. If only there was a way to avoid those pitfalls…Oh wait!! There is!!
If you are currently using Timberline’s Service Management there is a solution for you that comes in a form that is better than a human because it does EXACTLY what you tell it to, does not talk back and NEVER calls in sick!!!
My Assistant works with all of Sage Timberline Office. It can remind you to bill for work orders, assign a purchase order, order inventory and just about ANYTHING else you can imagine.
Sometimes no matter how organized we are things fall through the cracks and with the increased pressure being felt by companies across the board why not invest in some “peace of mind”. Consider My Assistant as your personal watchdog that ensures you never forget or miss a task again.
You can also see a demo by clicking here.
To read a My Assistant Timberline Service Management Success Story go here.
At the January 2009, International Roofing Expo at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas, I spoke with several owners of roofing companies about the software they use for cost accounting, estimating and project management. In a couple of the breakout training sessions, there was a general agreement that Sage Timberline Accounting is recognized as the best cost accounting software for medium to large roofing companies. This made me happy since I represent Sage Timberline. There was also alot of rumblings about consolidating all of the various softwares into a single integrated software that can handle processes of a typical roofing company. For example, roofing companies need Customer Relationship and Sales Tracking software which is commonly referred to as (CRM software). CRM software is more important to Residential Roofing companies opposed to Commercial Roofing companies. These companies would love a solution that allowed the CRM software to track and create sales proposals and then flow seamlessly into the Cost Accounting software if the work is awarded. From here, the accounting department can buy the materials, manage the job and bill the client.
You have equipment. You have Timberline Accounting Software. What you don’t have is a way to marry the two, right? This need is not unknown to us. Over the years, there has always been a need for equipment maintenance software that works with Timberline accounting software. Sure, Timberline has it’s own equipment cost module, but it lacks the ability to schedule maintenance and track which job your equipment is at.
I have seen the Equipment Maintenance application created by Enabling IP, a company in Australia. It looks just like the rest of the Timberline applications and promises to do all the cool things you wished the Timberline Equipment cost module did. Check it out at www.enablingip.com. It integrates with Timberline Payroll, Accounts Payable, Purchasing, Inventory and Equipment modules.
If you like what you see, why not let us know? You can comment here or contact us at DB Data Inc, we’re just a phone call away!