Q&A with Flo-Tron Contracting Inc.

Aug 11, 2016

Flo-Tron Contracting Inc. is a full service HVAC firm that designs, fabricates, installs and maintains heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems. With the goal of reducing the amount of manual paperwork, improving visibility and reporting, and enhancing overall efficiency, Flo-Tron began to realize their current software  was no longer meeting their needs and determined a change was necessary. Flo-Tron decided to partner with Jonas Construction Software to implement a fully automated and integrated solution that could take their business to the next level.

Since partnering with Jonas Construction Software, Flo-Tron has significantly reduced their manual processes, as well as the amount of physical paperwork in the office. This is mainly attributed to Digio, Jonas’ document management system. With Jonas, Flo-Tron has been able to streamline their business in all aspects, including accounting, union reporting, document and equipment management. By eliminating time consuming manual processes and reducing physical paperwork, Flo-Tron’s back office is able to operate in a more efficient and organized manner. With Jonas Construction Software, Flo-Tron is confident they have the right software solution to help their business continue to grow and improve going forward. We recently spoke to Kari Cordell, Controller at Flo-Tron Contracting to discuss their success since implementing Jonas. 

Can tell us a little bit about your company and what you guys do?

Kari: Flo-Tron Contracting Inc. is a mechanical contractor in the Baltimore/Washington/PA area and we primarily do commercial HVAC. About 70% of that would be construction, and the other 30% would be service. We have about 45 to 50 employees, including office staff.

Prior to partnering with Jonas, what software were you using and how did you find it?

Kari: Before Jonas, we were on Maxwell Systems, and we found it to be cumbersome to use. Navigating through Maxwell was slightly difficult, and it was easy to get lost clicking through different screens. With Maxwell, not all of the functions were available in one area, forcing you to jump in and out of what you were doing. For example, if you were in service management, it was easy to get lost in other screens before finding your way back.

Can you compare the functions that you used in Maxwell, and describe how you are performing those within Jonas?

Kari: Jonas is laid out more in a much more systematic and easy-to-use manner. The icons are very easy to understand, and the functionality is very similar to other software we use. In addition, with Jonas, we have been able to eliminate many of the manual processes and paperwork that we were still using with Maxwell. For example, Jonas provides us with the ability to scan and attach documents much easier than Maxwell did.

With Maxwell, we primarily used service management, job cost and US payroll. With Jonas, we have the same capabilities but we now also use the equipment management module, which has allowed us to better track our vehicles and all the expenses related to it. Maxwell’s dispatch function was very rudimentary, while Jonas is much more advanced. With Maxwell, we basically were place holding technicians. With Jonas, we have the ability to enact work orders and move them back and forth with technicians. Similarly, with accounting, Maxwell was more basic, where Jonas gives you a level of receiving back and forth. We are also utilizing Jonas’ timesheet module, and we are getting ready to start using mobile as well.

How was the implementation process and how long did it take?

Kari: Despite some initial hesitation after purchasing the software, we were up and running in a couple of months. The training and implementation specialists were fantastic, and when it came time to go live, it was surprisingly a lot better than we anticipated. We did a lot of training and set-up beforehand, so I think it went much smoother than we thought it would.

 So why did you go with Jonas instead of either going with Viewpoint, or staying with Maxwell?

Kari: We looked at Viewpoint before we looked at Jonas, and we didn’t like their customer support. Jonas on the other hand, provides excellent customer service and had a really responsive support team. We had a three to four month window, where we had one dedicated specialist from Jonas support, and they were fantastic at getting us to the person who could help us directly. When we transitioned from one dedicated person to the full support team, the support continued to be excellent. With Jonas, we have an entire team helping us, rather than one specialist or expert like we did before.

Can you tell us a little bit about the sales process?

Kari: We only did one or two seminars before we decided to partner with Jonas. It was funny, because we had been looking at different software vendors for about two years but in the first demo with Jonas, we immediately realized that this is what we’ve been looking for.

What specific parts of Jonas are you using and how has it impacted the business?

Kari: We first started with job costing, service, dispatch, accounting and payroll. We are finding certain processes much quicker in Jonas than in Maxwell. For example, if you need a copy of an invoice, you could pull it up so much quicker in Jonas than in Maxwell. With Maxwell, we needed to print it out and scan it. Now, those steps are completely eliminated. With eTimesheets, I’m not typing in time sheets for the entire office anymore. Employees log their own time and I am able to upload and review it, which has saved us plenty of time. We also value the ability to change or edit within AP. For example, if something has been sent to the wrong job or the wrong GL, it is easy to make adjustments. With Maxwell, we would need a journal entry to change it.

The client gateway is also great and allows you watch or listen to webinars and recordings. It has been a really useful tool for training employees as well, and provides them with resources to familiarize themselves with Jonas on their own.

Since implementing Jonas, how have your various teams in accounting, dispatch, project management, and the technicians responded to the new software?

Kari: For the most part we’re doing well. Project managers in particular are enjoying Jonas. It allows them to see all facets of a job from one location. Through the project view, they can drill down and generate various types of reports. The drill down capability is very impressive, and with a click of a button, you can see all the PO’s, committed costs, and actual costs. So that’s been very helpful on a project management level. Overwhelmingly I think everyone is happy.

 What are the biggest differences you have noticed when comparing Maxwell and Jonas?

Kari: The previous processes we were using with Maxwell was tremendously time-consuming. With Jonas, and its document management solution Digio, we can find anything we are looking for. In the past, we would do an accounts payable journal and have to print it out because it was difficult to find in the Maxwell system. With Jonas, I can press a button, find the source document, and see it on-screen. With Jonas, we have the ability to see what is wrong on screen and fix it instantly, without ever having to print it on paper.

How have some specific business processes improved with Jonas?

Kari: In the past, completing field payroll for 35 workers used to take us almost a full day with Maxwell, and we have cut that amount in half. We have also reduced administrative payroll by half as well. In terms of union reporting, the design your own report function has been very useful. We designed a report that looked exactly like our previous union document. So now, at the end of the month, I click union report, and there it is. In the past, it took a half day to do union reporting, with Jonas, it can be done with a press of a button.