Environmental Designs was founded in 1989 and became an Asset™ customer in 2005.
What challenges were you facing prior to choosing Asset?
After several years of getting by with existing systems that we had for quite some time, we decided to purchase CLIP, a green industry program. However, it simply did not live up to its promises. After about two more years of suffering, we were ready to abandon CLIP and began looking for a better solution.
We realized we needed to find a software package that was fully integrated and would eliminate—or at least minimize—double entry of information. We needed a solution that would allow for detailed job costing. Without detailed job costing, we really did not know where we were doing well and where we were failing.
We were in desperate need of an estimating and proposal program that would allow multiple estimators to use a uniform process and be able to manage this process. We were also in desperate need of scheduling software. Keeping track of work progress and completion was no easy task.
What did the software selection and decision process look like?
We assembled a project team with input and direction from the owners of EDI, Shawn M. Ryan and Patrick A. McDonough. We labored over replacing CLIP for almost a year. Once we had decided to make a change, we spent 6-9 months researching and detailing our pros/cons list. We developed a very specific “laundry list” of items that our software purchase must have. We attended trade shows and other events, asking other companies in the industry what they use. We learned that Asset had the flexibility to be implemented in stages, which would allow us to mold it to fit our way of doing business. The fact that Asset was fully integrated was very important to us as well. Many others did not have their own accounting modules but instead would interface with other accounting software packages. We saw this as a negative, especially after our experience with CLIP, where it claimed to interface with QuickBooks but did not work for us. Through this process, we narrowed it down to three possibilities. As we neared a decision, we held a meeting with all key personnel. We systematically laid out all of the pros and cons of the available software packages and held a vote. After seeing the possibilities the decision was simple.
How did Asset solve your challenges?
Asset gave us an efficient means of detailed job costing, something we’d never had before. The use of Asset in conjunction with CREWtek has made scheduling a breeze and has substantially reduced the time spent on data input. Asset has delivered more than we could have imagined and the support from the Include® Software team has been great. They’ve always been there for us when we needed them.
What advice can you offer about implementation?
Because of its comprehensive nature and flexibility, implementation is more of a process than a task. Our experience provides some critical lessons for successful implementation:
Plan for implementation to occur in a realistic timeframe
Develop an implementation team
Get buy-in from all key staff at the beginning
Describe the results of choosing and implementing Asset.
Because of Asset, we’re more profitable than ever. Our estimating and bidding process is much more efficient. We’re able to monitor results throughout the year (actual versus budget) and make necessary adjustments. We have job-level profitability information to assist us with making educated decisions about renewals and pricing. We can now make these decisions in confidence. Prior to using Asset, we chose not to track job costing information because of the enormous administrative cost. Now that we’re making better decisions at every step, our bottom line has increased dramatically. In fact, our Net Profit has risen over two points since implementing Asset. In other words, it paid for itself in a hurry.