At GlenSide Engineering we design, build, install, and maintain custom machinery for some of New Zealand’s largest organisations. Based in East Tamaki and operated by Phil Dunn, our jobs are typically large and complex with many components often fabricated on-site. Our customers are large manufacturers who rely heavily on the automation and continued operation of the machines we provide them.
Jobs at GlenSide Engineering start at the quoting stage. Being highly specialised machinery, each job needs to be completely thought through, costed, and designed down to the individually fabricated components even before it has been won. This often involves a significant time investment by the design team before job commencement, and we weren’t able to see how this time invested was returned when/if the job went ahead, or how much time goes into designing machines that ultimately customers don’t purchase. Nor did we have a measure on the percentage of quotes that were converted to jobs.
In the design phase, we would prepare hand-written costings (literally) for the various components and the prices quoted/estimated for fabricated items. This could sometimes number into the hundreds of units. The delay between job acceptance and quoting meant these costings were difficult to match up to jobs.
After producing a detailed costing in order to quote the work, these same components had to be re-typed into orders for suppliers on job acceptance or as the components were required throughout the project. The time estimates made for staff also had to be relayed to the foreman in order to plan and prioritise the work to meet deadlines. All of this information then had to be re-entered into an invoice at the end of each month.
Our long running jobs are characterised by progress-based invoicing. The value of the components and time incurred to-date was estimated and a percentage of completion assessment made each month for invoicing. To complicate things, variations frequently occur and are invoiced on the same invoice. Measuring progress was difficult to assess each month with invoices yet to be received from suppliers and paper-based timesheets completed by staff.
Our system for managing the back-costing of jobs was good but manual. This was typically completed in Excel on job completion to assess a job's profitability. This was a tedious task and involved the collection of all job related costs and time.
WorkflowMax has allowed us to keep track of our jobs and job costs even before jobs had been won. Through a clever use of Job States and Job Templates we can capture the time and materials expected to be incurred prior to quoting. By loading supplier price lists into WorkflowMax we have sped up the costing of quotes and increased volume of quotes generated. For the first time we can see the actual time invested in designing and costing a job, which feeds into our reporting on job profitability.
WorkflowMax’s Purchase Orders and Custom Templates provide us with a clear and elegant supplier purchase order. Because components have been detailed at the quoting stage it is now a much quicker task to place these orders on job acceptance - WorkflowMax picks up the relevant components from the estimated costings and places these orders with the selected supplier as an emailed Purchase Order.
Timesheets are now entered directly into WorkflowMax against the relevant jobs. WorkflowMax’s Staff Time Summary report is used to populate Smart Payroll’s weekly pay information, and we always have an up-to-date picture on the value of job progress.
Through a clever use of Job States and WorkflowMax’s job progress reporting , we no longer have to invoice jobs monthly. When job milestones are reached or jobs are completed mid-month, we receive an email notification that the job is ready for invoicing. This has had the effect of improving cash-flow in the business.
The reward for all of this effort is a real-time idea of job profitability on any given job or group of jobs. We can see what the actual costs on a job to-date, the value of the progress made to-date, the value of what has been invoiced to-date and how all of this compares to our expected margin when we quoted it.
Not only do we have greater visibility on our performance, it actually takes us less administration time each month and the potential for errors is greatly reduced. Plus, there's been the improvement to our cash-flow through invoicing based on job state and progress rather than date. Magic.
“Thanks to the work we've completed with Link Solutions, for the first time I can see in my business not only how much we’ve really made on a job but also how that compares to what I expected when I quoted it.”
Phil Dunne, GlenSide Engineering