About United Engineering Resources
United Engineering Resources, Inc. (UER) provides geotechnical engineering, environmental consulting, construction inspection and material testing services through two wholly owned subsidiaries; Signet Testing Laboratories, Inc. (Signet) Case Study and MatriScope Engineering Laboratories, Inc. (MatriScope). The UER group of companies has been serving California’s construction market, working on major public and privately funded projects since 1966.
The construction service industry faces many unique challenges due to the high volume of individual projects set up (600 new projects annually each with a unique pricing structure) resulting in a labor intensive contract administration process, detailed time and expense invoices, and related budget management. Due to a recent acquisition, UER experienced a 200% increase in annual revenue which resulted in the need to seek improved productivity tools and streamlined processes.
An extensive evaluation of leading project management and billing software providers in the A/E industry was conducted by senior management over a 12 month period. “BillQuick was the only vendor that met all of our criteria for efficient management of project invoices utilizing time and expense, lump sum, and guaranteed maximum price billing formats,” said Robert V. Tadlock, President and CEO. Prior to awarding the contract to BillQuick, UER contacted a number of existing customers representing similar business sizes and was encouraged by the highly complimentary responses received, underscoring the BillQuick team’s unfailing support and dedication during and following each firm’s software implementation.
Right away, UER could tell that the BQE’s process for getting from initial data migration to full implementation was going to be well-orchestrated. When asked about the migration process, Tadlock replied, “Immediately following our purchase, we were contacted by their implementation team for an initial consultation. When we informed them of our 100 day plan to convert more than 10 years of project and billing data from two separate billing and accounting systems and that we expected to be fully functional by day 101, they didn’t flinch.”
Leading the way with custom programming were BillQuick experts who saw to it that the very challenging migration of historical data was a seamless effort. Working diligently in the background was the data migration team whose sole purpose was to provide competent data for the conversion and setup of more than 2,500 projects, including all related invoice history and transaction tables. Custom report writing was initiated almost immediately in order to assure concurrent testing of our final data migration using the 20 new custom invoice and project management reports, allowing for final system sign-off to meet our go-live date. With the complete dedication of all team members, UER was able to successfully go live and complete their first on-schedule billing cycle 23 days earlier than the initial 100 day plan.
Benefits & Results
1. Time and Expense Billing – Time and expense billing was previously accomplished through a multi-step process that converted the field related timecards into Excel spreadsheets for billing and payroll purposes followed by manual entry into the company’s billing program. The first step in process improvement came by way of a BillQuick recommendation to develop a custom programmed trigger that would import all required billing data directly from Excel. This allowed UER to significantly reduce the cycle times for producing invoices and eliminate a major step in the billing process while improving the accuracy of their customer’s invoices.
2. Project Management & Custom Reports – Project management and custom reports were another area of significant process improvement. With hundreds of projects to setup annually, automation in budget management and change order tracking was essential. Custom reports were developed using previous manual templates which were then enhanced, allowing UER to automate previously labor intensive reports developed in Excel that took up to 2 hours to complete for each project. “We now can produce batch reports allowing us to keep our customers better informed related to project percent complete letters, contract amendments and budget vs. billed to date summary reports,” said Tadlock.
3. Customer Service – Customer service was excellent in helping UER drive the process to closure using realistic timelines. “We’ve exchanged many emails and phone calls with the BillQuick team after hours and respected their unwavering commitment to bring another customer on board as timely and efficiently as possible. Our high expectations and diligent participation was matched by their professionalism and enthusiasm at every turn. Invoices which were taking 2 weeks to complete are now being finalized in 3 days following data import of time records,” explained Tadlock.
In the end, UER was able to reduce their invoice processing time by 70%, improve cash-flows with a record all-time DSO, averaging less than 60 days, eliminate all department overtime, and reduce the number of staff required to complete previous billing and payroll processing by two fulltime employees. Tadlock pointed out, “From a technical standpoint, it allowed us to move all subsidiaries onto a full SQL database platform. With BillQuick at the core of our project tracking; we were able to successfully improve the integrity and stability of our billing and project management data, while significantly improving application processing and reporting speeds, and providing the platform for integrating additional enterprise applications in the future.”
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