In South Florida, the challenge of aging infrastructure in dire need of updating has helped Hartzell Construction achieve a grand vision of offering high quality craftsmanship and construction services, from residential remodeling to high-rise concrete restoration. Read on to learn about the role that Acumatica Construction plays in the company’s tremendous growth and diversification into additional specialties.
A Bump in the Road with ProContractor
After researching software that could handle accounting, estimating and project management, Hartzell Construction owner, Anderson Pinto, decided to purchase ProContractor, – a popular choice among construction companies at the time. However, Anderson discovereed that the software extremely difficult to use and ever more difficult to generate the insights, reports, and data Hartzell Construction and the expanding business required. “With ProContractor, there were so many steps to produce a simple change order, it was like pulling teeth,” Anderson says. “The search function was horrible. To find anything, you needed to be in a very specific area and know exactly what you were looking for.”
In addition, Hartzell Construction created a manual vendor and subcontractor approval process as a ProContractor work-around, which ended up being lengthy and error-prone. The paper trail per project was often hard to reconstruct and reconcile, and as the company grew, so did the paper – mountainous piles and files eventually filled an entire room.
Introducing Acumatica Construction Edition
That’s when Anderson began a search for new software and discovered Acumatica Construction Edition. This cloud-based construction accounting software manages projects, costs, and provides company-wide access connecting opportunities, contracts, schedules, budgets, change orders, subcontracts and compliance from one screen, allowing construction firms to make more data-driven decisions.
“When I looked at Acumatica Construction Edition for the first time, I saw how easy it was to use; it didn’t appear to be as complex as ProContractor,” says Anderson. Also impressed with Acumatica’s mobile application that gives project managers critical information while on job sites, Anderson had no hesitation to align with a relative newcomer in offering construction technology solutions. “I truly believed Acumatica would be good to partner with after seeing the innovative technology Acumatica is bringing to help modernize the industry.”
Hartzell Construction’s Transformation
Hartzell purchased the Construction Edition and implemented Acumatica modules including CRM, Financials, Project Management, Inventory, Intercompany, Distribution, Field Services, and Outlook integration. Acumatica streamlined and automated the company’s entire operation, from its subcontractor approval process to job cost reporting to inventory, improving its total gross margins at least 15 percent, Anderson says.
“For me, the biggest benefit is to be anywhere in the world and see what’s happening in my business- our overall finances and each job,” he says. On previous vacations “my wife hated it because I was calling the office all the time. (With Acumatica’s mobility app) I can understand what’s happening inside my company without having to be in the office looking at paper.”
With Acumatica Construction Edition, project managers are connected to the office and can see how they are performing against budget, which subcontractors need to be paid, and even understand the profitability of a current or past project. Stella Carneiro, Hartzell Construction’s Controller estimates she has saved 20 to 25 percent of her time previously spent looking those items up for project managers, allowing her to now concentrate on higher priority tasks.
With a simple drill down, project managers can see critical project data, material arrival timelines, invoice approvals, and track the actual expenses applied to a project – information they didn’t have previously.
Improving Gross Margins
With the improved data made available with Acumatica Construction Edition, Hartzell Construction “can catch things before they are red lined and fix issues ahead of time,” says Stella Carneiro, Controller at Hartzell Construction. She estimates the firm has reduced the number of unprofitable projects and contributed a 10 percent increase in gross margins.
Better controlling inventory bumped gross margins another 10 percent, Stella Carneiro says. “Before, inventory tracking was minimal so we’d end up purchasing something twice or hold inventory for something we were not going to use. Today, inventory is much better controlled and that’s money we aren’t going to lose anymore.”
Eliminating Paper Improves Productivity
“With the old system, I wasted a lot of time with paperwork,” says Anderson, explaining he hopes the company will be paperless someday. “Acumatica has cut 60 to 70 percent of our paperwork. We used to have an entire room with paperwork on projects and we no longer have that, which to me is amazing.”
Instead of spending time shuffling through hand-written receipts and jotting things down on paper to reconcile and understand what happened on a particular project, he now looks at a dashboard that provides all that information and more.
“A good 70 to 80 percent of my time is now spent helping my guys and the business grow,” Anderson says. “My time is spent properly managing the company and improving the company’s bottom line.”
Rapid Growth with Improved Profitability
Anderson Pinto and Reinaldo Mesquita are now laying the groundwork for process changes that will improve Hartzell’s operations and grow revenues. One reason they chose Acumatica Construction Edition is that the software doesn’t pretend to be an all-in-one construction management program but offers an open API so third party software can seamlessly connect.
For many in the construction industry, that means working well with Procore Construction Management Software and other construction applications, which Acumatica does. Hartzell is implementing SmartSheet, ProEst Construction estimating, and is evaluating electronic signature and barcoding options. In the future, Anderson plans to add customer and vendor portals to allow them to see project statuses and to upload invoices, among other tasks.
“Our growth rate is now $1.5 million to $2 million a year, and we should hit $15 million this year,” Anderson says. His plan is to nearly double revenue within three years and grow his team of 60 to more than 150.
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