Prior to partnering with Jonas Construction Software, Structural Contracting Services was using DacEasy to handle their construction software needs. As DacEasy was primarily an accounting software, completing job costing and integrate their accounting with the rest of the business was difficult to say the least. This left SCS with an inaccurate view of their business, as they relied heavily upon manual processes, which led to outdated information and the inability to make proper decisions. A change was clearly necessary.
Through implementing Jonas Construction Software, SCS has been able to reduce their accounting personnel by 50%, while increasing their overall profit margin as well as their profit per job. They are also experiencing greater visibility and reporting capabilities, can better track and manage their equipment depreciation and costs, and are able to be more productive in the office thanks to a more streamlined workflow.
We recently spoke to Frank Calfa, President at Structural Contracting Services, to discuss their success since deploying Jonas Construction Software.
Can you talk about what you were using prior to implementing Jonas Construction Software, and what led you to decide to ultimately make the switch?
Frank: “When we started our company in 1994, there weren’t many construction software companies at the time, and there weren’t a lot of solutions either. Of the companies that existed at the time, they were very expensive, so we went with a canned solution called DacEasy, which is a moderated accounting system. We were able to make DacEasy work for what we needed to do, but there was no integration between accounting and job costing. The first year we had DacEasy, we thought everything was going to run smoothly, you know, put it in a computer and the information would organize itself. Well, we had a disaster come the end of the year. Nothing balanced between job costing and accounting, so it wound up forcing us to go to monthly closings, and it became something we had to do each and every month to balance our books. On the other hand, Jonas Construction Software has GL integration, so the two of them are always locked at the hip. Now we are rarely off between accounting and job costs, so we have it matched all the time. This represents a big time savings for us, not having to manually check if our books are balanced on a regular basis.
Since implementing Jonas Construction Software, what kind of savings and gains in efficiencies has the business experienced?
Frank: Due to the efficiencies we get out of the Jonas accounting system, we've cut down on our accounting personnel by half, while increasing our profit margin and profit per job at the same time. The project managers are now working with real-time data, and are therefore able to recover costs quickly. From a contracting point of view, we do repetitive work sometimes. So if you're doing the same job, it's nice to know in the first 10% of the job whether you're making money or not, and you can see whether you need to make a correction or not. In the old system, we didn't know we weren't making money until we got to the end of the project, and at that point it was too late to recoup those lost dollars. With Jonas, we are able to recoup the dollars because we're working in real-time. Purchase orders and committed costs are available instantly, and the project managers are able to see whether they're going over budget or not. Jonas has truly allowed us to be more profitable because of this.
With regards to equipment management and tracking specifically, have there been any tangible benefits since implementing Jonas Construction Software?
Frank: Definitely. Looking at equipment, and more specifically the Jonas equipment module, we have seen major benefits. Prior to Jonas, we would just have one bucket on our general ledger, which would track how many labor hours went into fixing our equipment, or how much material and parts were bought for fixing parts or equipment. However, there was no way of really knowing how much was going into a single piece of equipment. With the Jonas equipment module, we are able to actually charge labor directly to that piece of equipment, and the parts that go into it, and we are able to analyze this on a yearly basis. For example, we have Bobcat that we've now spent $7,000.00 on this year fixing it. Well, it's a $25,000 machine. We may say, ok, we've got a little bit more life. But let's say we spent $12,000.00, or approaching $12,000.00, we have to think about either replacing that Bobcat, or continue fixing it. We get a report based on every piece of equipment we own, as we're charging directly to the equipment, which allows us to make better decisions regarding equipment depreciation.
How do your employees like using Jonas, and how easy is to train new employees on Jonas? Are you able to get the support you need?
Frank: One of the things that we did early on was spend the necessary time training on all the modules, and we trained a lot of our employees. So if we need to replace an accounts payable person for example, there is somebody in-house that can train them on the accounts payable. Throughout the training process, I was involved and the office manager was involved as well, along with the majority of our employees so we have enough people now that know how to effectively use Jonas. If we ever need to call in for assistance, we do get the necessary help from support. However, most of our training is in-house at this point because we invested on training during the initial implementation process.
Overall, how do you feel about Jonas Construction Software as a company?
Frank: With anything you do in life, what you put into it will lead to what you get out of it. We have put in the legwork, and we get the benefits back. Thanks to the initial training from Jonas, we have everyone properly trained, and we always stay up-to-date with the latest updates from Jonas. I think Jonas does a good job staying ahead of the industry, which in turn gives us the latest tools we need to be profitable and competitive on a continual basis.