First impressions are everything. That’s why SA Construct deal with first impressions of buildings – they manufacture and install superior exterior cladding for commercial buildings like shopping malls, office buildings and plants. Their expertise is in high demand and, despite the global financial crisis and a slow down in local building trade, SA Construct has experienced 100% growth every year.
Jarrad Morgan, owner of SA Construct, attributes this growth to the quality of their work. "Everyone is trying to make their building look better. We work with a product that's not easy to work with, and we create super high-quality cladding. But we also run a tight ship, and it's the simple things – being easy to deal with, answering your phone, being available – that make the difference to the client."
Unlike many other service-based industries, the construction industry in Australia works on fixed price contracts – this means it’s vital to keep track of cash flow and understand exactly how much time a job is taking and what the profitability is. “We’ve going to get X-number of dollars from a job,” explains Jarrad, “and it’s on us how we manage those costs to see if we make money. Before we implemented WorkflowMax, I used excel for everything. I entered all the bills in, bill what I got, and hoped I was making money.
“It was a really bad way to manage the business. I was not comfortable with it, I had no idea where my business was at any point in time. I didn’t know if one job was going bad or good. But now, if you ask me how I’m going on any job, I could tell you right now, in real time, because of WorkflowMax.”
“We started using WorkflowMax in 2012. The power and the awesomeness of WorkflowMax is that at the end of the job I can look at how many hours I spent in each category. When we estimate a job, we allow a certain amount of hours per category, and then we can check how many hours we actually spend versus the estimated time.
“When we initially started, everyone was filling in a time-sheet. We used to spend 3-4 hours copying that time-sheet into the computer – which was a complete waste of time and money.
We wanted an app where the employees could enter time themselves – so WorkflowMax works amazingly well. Every employee has a login; some of them just enter their time-sheet, others have the ability to do more. Now we are tracking everyone’s costs in real-time.”
WorkflowMax has taken the guesswork out of quoting. Now, Jarrad and his team have all their previous projects on file, so they can see how previous jobs went and improve their estimates. “Now, my estimates are highly accurate as I base them on the data we get from WorkflowMax reporting. Previously, estimating hours was like betting on a horse race, but now I have data to back me up − which is really empowering.“
For Lisa Palmer, SA Construct’s financial administrator, WorkflowMax has been a lifesaver. “Payroll used to take a whole day, now it only takes a hour. The time saved is just massive.”
Managing the company’s demanding workload has gotten easier with the software, especially now that SA Construct are using Xero. “We enter all the supplier invoices into WorkflowMax as purchases, and then convert them into a supplier invoice. We enter about 100 supplier invoices every month into WorkflowMax. They all go into Xero − perfectly.”
“Once a month, I do invoicing through the job, and create sales invoices − they get seamlessly transferred into Xero just as well. The integration between WorkflowMax and Xero is as seamless as it can get. We create the invoices in WorkflowMax against each job, and they automatically go into Xero − perfectly. All the information within an invoice is seamlessly transferred, so we can we see in Xero which jobs they relate to.”
So why does WorkflowMax work so well for SA Construct? “We don’t have the old, crappy, slow, boring, paper technology a lot of businesses use. We’re all about what’s quickest, easiest, fastest – the most streamlined way to get things done.”
“We’re a pretty risky business,” says Jarrad. “We do everything in-house. Lots of other construction companies sub-contract their projects out. WorkflowMax gives us a live, real-time update of everyone’s hours, the cost per hour, what we’re charging, our profitability, everything. From this, we know our working capital and what our work-in-progress number is, and we know whether we’re having positive or negative growth.”
Jarrad wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the software to other construction companies. “WorkflowMax is the perfect solution for a company like us. We’ve been able to take what was once guesswork and use real-time, accurate data to run our business much more effectively.”