Advanced Technology Group (ATG) is an Oregon-based architectural and mechanical union contractor with regional offices in Washington and Arizona. ATG has a reputation for delivering superior results in the world’s most challenging construction environments across the commercial, industrial, data technology, semiconductor and medical industries. When the company’s systems and processes became a roadblock to becoming more data-driven, ATG turned to Viewpoint solutions and Viewpoint Analytics™.
- Accounting and operations data was stored across nine disconnected systems and managed using manual homegrown processes
- Lack of real-time data made it impossible for key decision makers to gain a clear picture of exactly how well or poorly jobs were progressing
- Double handling of data and manual processes was needed to bridge the gap between disconnected systems
- Unreliable connectivity delayed and deprioritized data
entry in the field
- A single suite for real-time data across accounting and operations that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time
- Increased transparency and collaboration » Fast-flowing project financial data for richer reporting and an understanding of project status and health in real-time
- Powerful analytics tools to discover insights for smarter decisions based on data rather than instinct alone
- Unlocked further gains in profitability and efficiency with self-serve reporting and analytics
- Reliable and consistent connectivity to ERP data for project managers
Trimble Construction One has elevated the quality of our project accounting and analysis. Instead of out-of-date information, our teams are using real-time data to monitor project activity and performance.— Jim Voss, Chief Financial Officer
ATG had aspirations to become a data-driven company but its current systems and processes were standing in the way. From accounting and project management to field management, the company was feeling the pains of data stored across multiple, disconnected systems and managed using manual and homegrown processes.
The company’s previous ERP was accounting-centric so its use was limited to the accounting team. “Only one person in the company really understood how and where the data was stored, what the data meant and how to generate reports from it,” said Lindsey Jones-Robinson, data service manager. “Ninety percent of the reports generated weren’t in a format the project teams could easily understand or use.”
Frustrated by the Paper Chase
Teams in both the back office and the field were spending countless hours re-entering data between systems, chasing down paper entries or trying to make sense of data reports. In addition to a loss of productivity, manually facilitating data between systems resulted in errors and made it difficult, if not impossible for key decision makers and stakeholders to gain a clear picture of exactly how well or poorly their jobs were progressing.
“It got to the point where the only thing our project teams cared about in the accounting realm were their costs as a whole and that their contract value and billed amounts matched, all of which they were tracking separately in spreadsheets,” said Jim Voss, chief financial officer. “The lack of automation and integration between systems was causing a tremendous amount of manual work and frustration across our company.”
Without reliable access to data, important decisions were based solely on past experience. During estimating or pre-job meetings, the team made decisions based on discussions recounting past experience but there was no real data to back up and validate those narratives. ATG couldn’t dive into its data to pinpoint things that helped drive its success to date so they could replicate what worked.
“We were so frustrated with our old systems and knew we needed to make a positive change,” said Voss.
ATG spent six months talking with the people who used its ERP and other systems to understand their pain points and what it would take to streamline their work. With a clear understanding of needs across the company, ATG was confident that migrating to the cloud and the Trimble Construction One suite of construction solutions would drive efficiency and unlock the true potential of data. With data easily accessible in real time to everyone in the organization, it could be used to improve communication, collaboration and decision making.
A Confident Choice
A go-live date was set and the Viewpoint team worked closely with ATG to migrate and audit its data. With the strategic approach it took to select Trimble Construction One, ATG was well prepared to move forward with a “no looking back” mindset. “We stopped all of our other systems on day one of our go-live with Trimble Construction One,” said Jones-Robinson. “I’ve heard stories of contractors that allowed parts of their old systems to remain online as they slowly migrated to a new system but not us. We were confident in our decision and didn’t leave room for anyone to back-track.”
Trimble Construction One replaced ATG’s ERP and nine other systems that were purchased or built in-house. In place of disconnected systems and spreadsheets, data now flows through a single integrated platform. With a reliable source of real-time data ATG is set up to gain intelligence on how projects are performing and dive deeper into data.
Before, it was always, ‘I’ve been tracking this number’ and someone else would say ‘I’ve been tracking this number,’ and there were long conversations to figure out where those numbers came from. Viewpoint Analytics does a great job of pulling and manipulating data as a starting point for our entire company to dive deeper into a single job or multiple jobs.— Lindsey Jones-Robinson, Data Service Manager
Shortly after its implementation, the company adopted Viewpoint Analytics, which helps contractors predict and prepare for optimal project and business performance, by accessing and analyzing data captured across the company — in the back office, project teams and in the field. Viewpoint Analytics intelligently aggregates data for easy to consume self-service reporting. Better understanding project data will help ATG boost productivity and profitability on current and future projects.
With Trimble Construction One, ATG has a combination of cloud accessibility, an integrated platform and powerful analytics tools to make smarter, real-time decisions and automate workflows and processes based on data rather than instinct alone. “Becoming a data-driven company in construction right now is really important,” said Voss. “In order to do that well, we are embracing the tool set Viewpoint has to offer.”
ATG operates more efficiently and has gained a strong level of construction intelligence with Trimble Construction One. The company left behind manual processes and numerous software systems that lacked integration and locked up data. Today, ATG has a single source of real-time data across accounting and operations that can be accessed from anywhere, at any time.
“We have a complete set of data, stored in one place that is really easy to access, which is huge for our company,” said Voss. “Trimble Construction One has elevated the quality of our project accounting and analysis. Instead of out-of-date information, our teams are using real-time data to monitor project activity and performance.”
A Whole New World of Information
The projections tool has enhanced understanding of how original estimate, cost-to-date, billings-to-date, total projected costs and open commitments flow through to contract and work in progress schedules. “This entire workflow is something our project teams didn’t have access to before Trimble Construction One,” said Voss. “All of a sudden, there is a whole new world of information they can use to manage their jobs effectively.”
ATG has also saved a tremendous amount of time in billing, particularly on large projects that have the potential for audit and need backup documentation. “We’re required to supply invoicing backup within a 72-hour period,” said Jones-Robinson. “Before Trimble Construction One it took three people the full 72 hours to compile the same information that is now done with the push of a button in a few minutes. It’s an incredible time saver.”
Better Connectivity, Mobility
With reliable connectivity, it’s easy for remote teams to enter data from the field. “Before moving to Trimble Construction One, our field teams were at a disadvantage and because connectivity was a constant issue, they delayed data entry because it was such a chore,” said Voss. “Now, the connection is consistent and reliable, whether we’re accessing it from the office, a job trailer or while working from home. It’s helped us become a more mobile-friendly company. Our field teams can log in from their mobile devices and tablets, instantly access real-time data and produce forms and reports without frustration or downtime.”
With Viewpoint Analytics, ATG is using data to uncover patterns that help streamline processes and lead to better planning for future jobs with more profitable results. “I’m excited about being able to dig deeper into that next level using Viewpoint analytics to learn more and dissect what it is that really makes us tick,” said Voss. “We are a successful company and it’s hard to point to specificthings that have helped drive our success.”
Data on Demand
With self-service reporting, Viewpoint Analytics empowers teams from project managers to controllers and accounting analysts to create reports and analyze data across projects so they can identify trends and opportunities for improvement, without knowledge of Crystal or SQL language. “Before it was always, ‘I’ve been tracking this number’ and someone else would say ‘I’ve been tracking this number,’ and there were long conversations to figure out where those numbers came from,” said Jones-Robinson. “Viewpoint Analytics does a great job of pulling and manipulating data as a starting point for our entire company to dive deeper into a single job or multiple jobs.”