Powell Contracting Case Study
Since 1967, Powell Contracting LTD. has been servicing and installing temporary concrete barriers, noise barriers, crash cushions, guide rails, ground mount signs, overhead signs and sign structures in Southern Ontario.
Their projects include outfitting highways such as the 400 series in Ontario, transit systems, airports, municipal contractors and more. Over the years, Powell Contracting has also acquired additional companies that complement their offerings such as hydrovac, traffic control and logistics companies. Owning these companies enables them to self-perform most of the work rather that subcontract it out allowing them grow their customer base.
RECOGNIZING THE PROBLEM
Prior to partnering with Jonas in 2013, Powell Contracting had 50 employees and was using Sage 300 for accounting, and Schedule It for project scheduling. Schedule It was a resource scheduler and was not specific to construction. This meant that it lacked dispatching capabilities, and was not robust enough to handle the unpredictable, and often hectic nature of the construction industry.
Because of these limitations, Powell Contracting relied on hand-written work orders and printed schedule sheets. Sustainability Manager, Phil Breault recalls, “By the end of the night, the handwritten schedule sheet was worn through because of so many pencil marks”.
Moreover, because their scheduling tool and accounting software did not integrate, they had to input work hours in Schedule It, and rekey the same data into Sage 300, performing double entry. These manual processes were time-consuming and prone to human error, ultimately slowing down efficiency and productivity.
In addition, Sage 300 and Schedule It did not accommodate their growing need for job costing. Powell Contracting’s job types include service and installation for temporary barriers, noise barriers, crash cushions, guide rails, overhead signs, and more. Between Sage 300 and Schedule It, it was extremely difficult to drill down into the finite costs and details of each job. Because of this, Powell Contracting were unable to determine which types of work were the most profitable, preventing them from knowing what areas of the business to focus on.
Also, by owning a number of companies that perform hydrovac, traffic control, logistics, and more, Powell Contracting needed a single solution that could be implemented across each company. In order for the business to acquire more companies, a solution that could handle Multi-company operations and Inter-company accounting functionality was a necessity.
With these issues in mind, Powell Contracting put together a list of requirements for their next software partner. Firstly, the software needed to be an integrated solution to reduce manual entry. Secondly, they sought a software with detailed job costing. Lastly, with Powell Contracting owning multiple companies in different industries, having a single software solution for both operations and accounting all was a must.
JONAS CONSTRUCTION SOFTWARE TO THE RESCUE
In the five years that Powell has been with Jonas, they have been able to grow exponentially and address many of the issues they were experiencing with their previous systems.
With Jonas’ fully integrated solution, Powell Contracting was able to eliminate hand-written work tickets and schedule sheets. By utilizing Jonas Dispatch Scheduler, Powell Contracting is provided with the flexibility of a construction-specific solution, which has made dispatching technicians twice as fast is it used to be. In addition, with Dispatch Scheduler syncing with Payroll, Powell Contracting has been able to eliminate double-time entry, saving administrative staff multiple hours a week.
Furthermore, Powell is extremely pleased with the integration between Payroll and Job Costing. When discussing this, Breault said, “Tying together our job cost with our payroll gives us a level of detail that we never had before. We are able to cross-reference against estimates, see if there are extra labor hours, and tell if we are on time and on budget.” With Jonas, Powell Contracting now has a level of analysis which has led them to achieve higher margins.
Powell Contracting has been able to take full advantage of Jonas’ Multi-company & Inter-company functionality, and have implemented Jonas across all of their supporting companies. With Jonas, they have been able to increase revenue, and have only added twice as many administrative staff. With the ability to quickly implement Jonas across all of their companies, Powell Contracting has been able to acquire and onboard new companies much more efficiently. With Jonas, they are now in a position to acquire more companies, outsource less, and bolster the services they provide to their customers.
Furthermore, Jonas has also helped Powell Contracting gain more insight and clarity into their projects. Through Jonas’ Project Management solution, Powell Contracting is able to determine where the problem points for each project are, and now have the foresight and capability to address it before a major issue arises. This has enabled them to ensure projects are always on time and on budget.
Since partnering with Jonas Construction Software, Powell Contracting has been reaping the benefits of a fully integrated solution. With Jonas implemented across all of their companies, Powell was able to standardize and simplify all administrative processes. Furthermore, Jonas has provided a lens that they never had, giving them the ability to drill down and make more informed and calculated decisions.
With Jonas, Powell Contracting now has a system that can help the business grow and scale. When describing the impact that Jonas has on their business, Accounting Manager Nicole Martins said, “Jonas is like the purchase of a new house. If you have a solid foundation you can build upon that. All the extras like the mobile pieces are finishing touches. But even without those, the house is still beautiful.”
When discussing how Jonas will impact their business in the future, Martins said,“Jonas created a harmonious environment for growth.” As they continue to evolve, Powell Contracting plans on implementing more Jonas mobile products to further streamline their operations and modernize their business.