Foundation Software in Action
04 November 2016

An Excavation-Shoring Contractor Digs Deep into Their Data

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First in on the jobsite, Subsurface Construction Company, LLC, of Raleigh, North Carolina, has no problem digging in and shoring up to ensure a sound and solid foundation. They’re a geotechnical contractor with over 20 years of experience, and being employee-owned and operated by professional engineers also describes their ethos. They take ownership of their work, from planning to process to completion.

Their small business accounting software wasn’t giving them the reporting they needed, the way they needed to see it. They recognized it was time for a change with their contractor software. Now regional manager of their new Greenville office in South Carolina, Jodie was a project manager at the time and remembers one of the obstacles he was facing on their old contractor software system: “Our manager had challenged us with the task of measuring certain key metrics for our performance on a weekly basis, and that was very difficult to do through our contractor software at the time. Its reporting style just didn’t have the information we needed to make those calculations efficiently.”

As their office manager Kirsten recalls, “We got to a certain size where we knew we needed something that was more industry-specific.” At the same time, Subsurface was looking to transition from a pretty manageable and user-friendly system, and they weren’t about to create more work for themselves. “We weren’t looking for anything obscure,” Jodie says, “and we weren’t willing to pay for a custom system.” The hunt was on.

No Holding Them Back

Subsurface’s search brought them to Foundation Software. They viewed a free video demo of FOUNDATION® online, and that caught their interest. There was a lot more they could do, it seemed to them, especially with reporting job data. To get a closer look, they scheduled a live tour of the contractor software with a member of Foundation’s fully in-house sales staff. Jodie, along with the rest of the team, liked what he saw. “For me as a project manager, the number one selling factor was its versatility. Being able to have that flexibility, we were sold on FOUNDATION.”

Today, Subsurface takes advantage of that flexibility on a daily basis. “Through that versatility and freedom, almost every report we look at as a company is a custom query,” Jodie says. That means that Subsurface’s staff uses FOUNDATION’s powerful Microsoft® SQL Server® database and convenient Excel® integration to pull custom datasets and organize them in easy-to-manipulate dashboards. “That’s been very helpful,” he adds.

Subsurface’s penchant for queried reports isn’t exactly typical. But it’s one FOUNDATION’s date-sensitive, relational database affords them. Any data they want over the course of their system history is available to them, exactly as they want to view, measure and analyze it. FOUNDATION comes loaded with countless reports and financial statements, as well as custom report designers, but Subsurface isn’t limited even to these, and why should they be? Just like on the jobsite, they want to dig right in, and FOUNDATION lets them dive deep. “For year-end, we created all new job cost reporting. Our contracts and progress schedules are all queried from FOUNDATION into Excel.”

Sound complicated? Subsurface doesn’t find it so — far from it. Entry is simple, Kirsten insists, and very user-friendly. As for the reports, “They’re all customized but super simple to do,” Jodie says confidently. “All our profit and loss and balance sheets are customizable for any date range you want to look at, and you just change the date and get the data you’re looking for.” Speaking of year-end and month-end reporting, he adds, “What used to take us days just takes hours now. It’s a much less stressful time.”

Building on an Education

Reporting from custom queries may not be for everyone — but it can be, as Subsurface has learned. And Foundation Software supports that learning any way they can, from educational webinars to two- and three-day Foundation College classes around the country, even on-site consulting for advanced training. Subsurface has taken advantage of Foundation College to keep their staff’s skills sharp, in addition to the software’s regular user conference. “The ability to go to a class to learn how to query is great,” Kirsten says. “That’s what’s ridiculously helpful now.”

“We did a few of the webinars, and they were helpful,” says Jodie, and these are now part of Subsurface’s resource library that they can refer back to at any time. Like Kirsten, he also attended a Foundation College on Excel queries, led by one of Foundation Software’s senior consultants. He took a tremendous amount away from it. “That was absolutely the best money we ever spent.”

Over time and with some personal investment, he’s proud of the system he was able to help build at his company with FOUNDATION. Kirsten sees it too: “We plan better. It allows more of the data to be captured, and it’s easy to go back and research something in the past very quickly.” Jodie recalls a time when they hired a project manager from one of the largest global contractors in their field. “He came to work for us, and he was amazed at how much information was at his fingertips, without compromising security.” Subsurface always knew their company was up there with the biggest players; now they know their accounting is too.

“The information available at your fingertips saves our project managers and estimators a tremendous amount of time. I’d call it a game changer in the way we do things,” concludes Jodie. “I’d buy it again.”

 

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