Project Management Software Gives Better View of Financials to General Contractor
Western National Construction found itself in a quandary when it realized that commitments didnt show up in financial reports until they were executed, which was up to 90 days after they entered the pipeline. That meant there was no easy way to get an overall financial picture of a project underway.
"It could be a $60,000 commitment, but if its not signed and fully executed, our accounting system had no idea where it was in the system," says Ken Hodges, manager of technical services for Western National Construction.
The Irvine, Calif.-based general contractor turned to Timberlines Project Management for a system that integrates with accounting for a real-time view of the profitability of a project.
Standardization of tracking methods
Prior to using Project Management, project managers had their own methods of keeping track of a project, using Excel spreadsheets and disparate databases.
"What Project Management did was allow us to bring everyone on board and bring all the information the project managers were using into Timberline. That gives us a cohesive picture for everybody to use," Hodges says.
Western National Construction most appreciates the real-time financial reporting it gets with Project Management, Hodges says.
"It allows us tremendous visibility on our projects," Hodges says. "We can tell significantly farther in advance than we were able to in the past about where our project is going. We can tell whether its going to be under budget, over budget, how the specific project manager is managing the project."
Using Project Management cut the amount of time it takes to prepare contracts and change orders in half, Hodges says. In the past, contract administrators would type out lengthy contracts in Microsoft Word, which would later have to be entered into the accounting system. Project Management allows Western National Construction to eliminate the data entry duplication because contract administrators create the contracts within Project Management, which automatically enters the information into accounting.
"It really cut down on the amount of time it would take for the contract administrator to produce the document because its all coming out of the system," Hodges says. "It also eliminates a lot of the inaccuracies that occurred in the past with math errors. Its a tremendous achievement for us."
Western National Construction has remote offices with project managers who need the real-time reporting capabilities of Project Management, so the company set up an intranet to allow access to the Timberline data.
"Its helped us out that anybody anywhere can access Timberline directly," Hodges says.
Simple to Customize
Hodges says his company likes the fact that Project Management is intuitive and simple to customize.
"The way the work flow works is exactly the way we use it in the field," Hodges says. "Theyve done a good job making the product into something that the operations guys and people who may not be familiar with computers are able to pick up fairly quickly."
Project Management helps users make informed decisions so they can act quickly, Hodges says. "We can find out in real time that hey, this doesnt look like its working for us and we need to make a change in strategy or figure out whats wrong with this line item. We can pinpoint problems quickly."