Contractor Gains Financial Transparency with ExakTime, an Arcoro product, and Acumatica
Roberts Glass, based in Indianapolis, specializes in designing, manufacturing, and installing glass curtain walls and systems for commercial customers. Executives lacked insight into critical KPIs due to siloed information housed in their previous client-server application. Roberts Glass deployed and integrated ExakTime, an Arcoro product, and Acumatica Construction Edition, gaining remote access for its field team, real-time financial data, and instant visibility into project profitability.
“ExakTime and Acumatica Construction Edition have helped us grow revenue because we’re much more efficient at managing projects,” said Jeff Hamilton, president.
Updating Outdated Systems
When Matt Dodson and Jeff Hamilton purchased Roberts Glass and Service three years ago, they inherited outdated financial and time tracking processes. The Indianapolis-based company specializes in designing, manufacturing, and installing glass curtain walls and systems for commercial construction contractors, those building new hospitals, hotels, retail, office, and industrial spaces.
The company’s financial software was a legacy client-server application that was stored data locally on desktop computers, and often didn’t match project and employee time tracking information.
“Data was very siloed,” says Hamilton. “We also had paper spreadsheets scattered throughout the office.”
Executives had no insight into projects since the information was stored on individual project manager’s computers, which also meant they had no insight into what stage a project was in, its costs and labor hours or the gross margins a project carried. Project information was not shared until months after a project ended. Job site address, project names and labor hour information often didn’t align with the correct projects in their financial software. A lot of manual intervention was needed to match jobs in the two systems.
“We knew operating this way wouldn’t allow us to grow or be more efficient and get information out to the field,” Hamilton says. “If I look back over the last three years, we’ve doubled revenues while maintaining our profit margins.”
Fortunately, Roberts Glass was deemed essential in Indiana during the pandemic. “We’ve been working full force, have seen no adverse effects, and actually, the first half of 2020 was a record first half for us with no signs of slowing down.”
But executives knew they wouldn’t be able to sustain that much longer with an aging system.
“ExakTime and Acumatica Construction Edition have helped us grow revenue because we’re much more efficient at managing projects.”
Integrating Processes for Long-Term Growth
An IT professional, Hamilton determined the company needed a mobile solution with a robust construction and project focus, so he began his search for construction software that could provide those critical requirements and serve as a platform for growth soon after purchasing the company.
Hamilton liked what he found in products from two partnering construction software companies: ExakTime and Acumatica Construction Edition. ExakTime offered the mobile time tracking the team needed and was integrated with Acumatica Construction Edition, which offered robust project management features.
Tearing Down Data Silos
Roberts Glass executives used to wait months for aggregate financial data. Once deployed, ExakTime and Acumatica Construction Edition provided real-time labor and financial information.
“We’ve torn down the silos we had with the previous client-server solution, so now we have access in one view of the data,” Hamilton says. “We’re now able to see where we are cost-wise with our existing construction projects; we’re able to look at the profitability of each project, look at the customer base and understand where we are most successful.”
Besides, all project managers have visibility into what the company has completed year-to-date, what types of projects they are managing, and what’s in the pipeline.
ExakTime Provides Instant Time and Expense Management
The seamless integration allows time tracking data collected through the ExakTime mobile app to be pulled into Acumatica Construction Edition, providing real-time visibility into exact labor costs for every project.
“The information was manually input before and arrived six months down the road and was very inaccurate,” Hamilton says. Roberts Glass often ran into problems with their previous time tracking solution which would pull incorrect project and customer names. “There were a lot of manual interventions,” Hamilton says.
“Now we have the ability to enter the jobs in Acumatica Construction Edition with a job name based on what customers called it, and employees in the field can select the right job with one click,” he adds.
“ExakTime also has GPS features so it can recognize where an address is and search on it to find the job.”
The integrated software then looks in Acumatica Construction Edition to match it with the right job. “It really has increased our accuracy, what hours were worked and where employees were working,” Hamilton says. That information is delivered in real-time, which means they can see how profitable a project is instantly, not six months later.
Gaining Mobile Field Access
Hamilton’s next task is to provide field access for project managers working on a job site through Acumatica’s mobile app. That’s something they never had before.
“Our glazers may spend a half-day, or a crew may work for six or seven months on a project and travel directly to the job site each day,” Hamilton says. Because they had to rely on phone communication, some items were incorrectly communicated, some tasks were inadvertently redone, or worse, employees arrived at a job site without knowing the current status of the project.
With Acumatica Construction Edition, employees will be armed with an iPad with field notes for specific projects. They will have access to architectural drawings, any attachments, and any other information. “Before, assumptions were made, mistakes were made and it was time-consuming to try to figure out what needed to be done to complete a job,” Hamilton says.
Accounting Team Reduces Interruptions
Acumatica Construction Edition has freed up some of Roberts Glass’s controller’s time because she no longer has to look up information for others and convey that over the phone to remote workers. Previously, a lot of financial information was saved on her computer, and access was restricted.
Now, using Acumatica Construction Edition, which provides the ability to set varying levels of access and security, employees have direct access to information pertinent to their jobs. “We have dashboards, and some have their own personal dashboards where they can look at KPIs, revenue, projects we’ve bid on – all the information our controller no longer has to pull for them,” Hamilton says. “Our controller is a lot more productive without having those interruptions.”
At the same time, “Employees are more productive because they have instant access to the information they need. They don’t have to call headquarters or waste time searching for the right information,” shared Hamilton.
Strong Foundation for Growth
Acumatica Construction Edition was easy to learn and provides a strong foundation to help Roberts Glass continue to grow.
“What we’re trying to do is maximize our margins and profits by making sure we’re working on projects as efficiently as possible,” Hamilton says. “Acumatica Construction Edition has helped us grow in terms of revenue because we’re much more efficient at managing projects.”
Having data instantly available allows executives and employees to make data-driven decisions, whether in the office or at a job site. “First thing every morning, I can see what our case-load is like, what’s in our backlog, what are our active projects, and see from executive-level key indicators of the health of the business,” Hamilton says. “I don’t have to wait until the end of the month or two or three months after that to have clean labor data to learn the profitability of a job. With Acumatica Construction Edition, all of us have that data in real-time.”
While Roberts Glass has no immediate plans to expand through acquisitions, “I’m confident that if we find a business we want to acquire, we can get them going quickly with Acumatica’s cloud-based system. ExakTime and Acumatica Construction Edition have increased our job accuracy surfacing hours worked on a job and the location of the job giving us insight into project profitability,” said Hamilton.