It had been a challenge for Johnstown, Colorado-based Fiske Electric to effectively manage the large amount of jobs and customers served every day. With a couple hundred residential projects a month, three or four big commercial projects a month, and 30-40 service jobs each week, this almost $8 million electrical contractor needs the right tools in place to ensure maximum productivity and profitability for each of its jobs.
The WIP capabilities really help our project managers clearly see the status of a job and we are able to print out WIP reports to determine what can be billed at any point in time.— Kevin Fiske, Vice President
In 1977, the company was founded by Clifford Fiske and his father Virgil Fiske to service all of Colorado and southern Wyoming. In 1984, Kevin Fiske joined the company and now serves as vice president. He and Clifford, now president, purchased the company from Virgil in 1996. The two have grown the business to employ more than 75 individuals.
The company had been using a software package to handle accounting and project management tasks. However, Kevin Fiske explained that the system was extremely difficult to use and that setting up jobs and schedules of values were particularly labor-intensive. After struggling with it for years, he knew that the time spent on overhead tasks could be much better spent on more business-critical activities.
After evaluating three assorted software options, Fiske Electric chose ProContractor as its comprehensive construction accounting and project management software solution, primarily because of its ease-of-use. “ProContractor is built on a much more up-to-date technology platform that was more in the direction we are going and we saw it as a longer-term solution than the other options,” explained Fiske.
He recalls how the accounting team was hesitant at first to switch over to a new system because the old system did what it needed to get done, but that the project managers were excited about the possibilities the new, comprehensive solution had to offer. It didn’t take long to win the accounting team over as well.
Save Time and Improve Visibility
One of the areas that Fiske Electric has seen the most time savings is in setting up jobs. In the old system, it would take three to four hours to set up commercial projects and now it only takes 20-30 minutes. The time to set up residential and service jobs has also decreased dramatically and, with the number of jobs the electrical contractor manages each month, this is a significant savings.
“I also see a big difference in setting up schedules of values,” said Fiske. “The old system was unable to bill using WIP. It was extremely difficult for us. With ProContractor, it is real easy. The WIP capabilities really help our project managers clearly see the status of a job and we are able to print out WIP reports to determine what can be billed at any point in time.” He also added that “the draw requests and billing are very clean and easy in ProContractor. Change orders show up on the draw requests and the draw requests are easily modified. It all makes sense.”
In brief, ProContractor makes it easy for Fiske Electric to create, track, organize, route, and manage project documents electronically, helping to streamline workflow and maintain better accuracy.
Instead of entering RFIs, change orders, change requests, and other project documents in Word first and then into the accounting and project management system, Fiske now can accomplish it all in ProContractor and make it easily accessible for project managers and the accountants. There is no need to re-enter the same information twice. “Having all the documents for a project in one place is very helpful,” Fiske added.
Valuable Information at Your Fingertips
The team at Fiske Electric has also found the Project Dashboard in ProContractor to be valuable. “We find it really valuable to spend time in the Project Dashboard checking on job phases and making sure we are on track. We like how it combines all of our important reports into one screen,” said Fiske. He explained that now they can easily access and print cost-detailed reports, summarizing labor, for example, or generate labor performance reports directly from the Project Dashboard.
“I start at the Project Dashboard and drill down on the jobs from there,” he added. “It makes it easy to find trouble spots and drill into the details to determine where we are going wrong on a job. It’s much easier to catch things earlier.”
Fiske concluded with appreciation for how ProContractor is so easy to use, which saves the team a lot of time. Plus because they are using it fully, taking advantage of more features than what they wanted to use in their previous, difficult to use system, their return on investment is two-fold.