Atomatic Mechanical Services provides design, installation, and service for heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems in commercial, industrial, and residential buildings. Relying on separate systems to manage job costing and service management for nearly 20 years, the company decided it was time to make a change and deployed a WennSoft solution based on Microsoft Dynamics GP. By bringing job costing and service management together in a single solution, the WennSoft solution helped Atomatic eliminate data reentry, streamline accounting, and empower employees companywide with the strategic insight they need to drive the business forward. Now, Atomatic can answer customer inquiries faster and more accurately and proactively plan how to service maintenance contracts in the most cost-effective way possible.
|That this solution is based on technology from Microsoft is reassuring. And, we are confident that WennSoft will continue to refine it to meet the needs of mechanical-services firms.|
|Dick Hoffman, President, Atomatic Mechanical Services|
For over 65 years, Atomatic Mechanical Services has been dedicated to quality design, installation, and service of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems for commercial, industrial, and residential buildings in and around Chicago. Atomatic has more than 145 employees and reported annual revenue of U.S.$35 million.
Since the early 1990s, Atomatic relied on a Concord job-costing system and FACS service management system to support operations. Lack of integration between these systems meant operations were not as streamlined as they could be. Once each week, employees in the accounting department manually reentered data from the service management system into the job-costing system, which the company also used exclusively for payroll, accounting, and reporting. This time-consuming process resulted in an average billing cycle of three to four weeks, and a lack of real-time insight into the business.
“Our job-costing system was based on UNIX and grew increasingly cumbersome to use and manage,” says Steven Wiet, CFO of Atomatic. “The process for looking up and retrieving data was not user-friendly, and it was always difficult to find IT people who could help us support the system.” Although many employees could still look up basic information on their own, they would often require the help of accounting to run reports. And for advanced reports, staff relied on Wiet for his experience with Crystal Reports.
The legacy system also lacked some basic features that the company needed to manage business proactively. “We didn’t have the ability to see purchase orders or committed costs before the invoice came in,” explains Wiet.
For Atomatic, the prospect of moving to a new, integrated solution became more attractive as the company grew. Aside from eliminating data reentry and improving productivity, the benefits of establishing a comprehensive, real-time source of company information would enable the company to have a deeper understanding of trends and a closer understanding of and control over costs.
|Atomatic headquarters in Arlington Heights, Illinois.|
“Equipment and materials are more of a fixed costs, making labor hours and their associated costs the largest variable we can control as a business,” says Dick Hoffman, President of Atomatic. “We were looking for a solution that would help us eliminate inefficiencies and gain control over our costs.”Solution
Looking to bring job costing and service management together under a single, integrated solution, Atomatic considered solutions from Maxwell, Data-Basics, Dexter + Chaney, and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner WennSoft. In the end, Atomatic chose WennSoft and Microsoft Dynamics GP because of the solution’s superior service management capabilities and full-featured accounting functions.
“Our first requirement was that the solution needed to handle the basics, such as core accounting, which Microsoft Dynamics GP does very well,” recalls Hoffman. “Ultimately, it was the service management functionality of WennSoft that drove our decision. As a mechanical-services company, our needs around managing service contracts and dispatching are unique and rigorous. WennSoft offers an extremely strong package in that regard and does a tremendous job of listening to users in our industry and responding to needs.”
|Microsoft Dynamics GP, because it is based on Microsoft SQL Server, makes it easier to access data and report on data. When I investigate something, it takes me half the time that it used to.|
|Steven Wiet, CFO, Atomatic Mechanical Services|
Atomatic worked with WennSoft to implement the solution in eight months, replacing the company’s service management and job-costing systems. Now, when on a service call, Atomatic service team members can capture cost and history not only by customers but also by each piece of equipment. This enables Atomatic to track service history and promptly answer customer inquiries related to that piece of equipment in the future. While on a customer call, Atomatic representatives can provide customers with insight into what’s happening with their equipment, discuss the service charges, and make recommendations about whether to replace equipment when the cost of maintenance fees outweighs a new purchase. In the future, Atomatic plans to provide customers with self-service access to this information through an online customer portal.
Atomatic also makes extensive use of the notes field in the WennSoft solution, such as when documenting service calls, customer requests, renewal information, and collection notes. “The notes field is a great help,” says Wiet. “If a representative is engaging with a customer, the representative documents it so that everyone knows what is going on.”
Because of the flexibility of the WennSoft system, Atomatic can track costs in virtually any way it wants to, including by customer, by equipment, by technician, by sales category, or other criteria. Says Wiet, “WennSoft is a very flexible solution that allows us to track our business the way we want to. It enables managers to investigate how people and resources are being used.”
Atomatic uses the pricing matrix in the WennSoft solution to tailor proposals. “We use the pricing matrix very frequently to adjust categories, see labor rates and parts involved, and examine pricing on subcontractors,” says Hoffman. “We can set a fixed margin or tweak it to apply to the situation. In today’s economy, it’s especially helpful to have a tool like this that lets us easily analyze costs and see how those costs impact our profits.”
|Atomatic provides HVAC construction, maintenance, and controls services for |
In future work, Atomatic will deploy the WennSoft MobileTec solution, which sends work tickets to technicians’ mobile devices. A technician opens the ticket, works through each task, and enters his or her time. At the end of the service call, the technician sends a PDF summary that the customer signed to the Atomatic back office, enabling the company to send out the related invoice almost immediately.
By implementing the WennSoft solution based on Microsoft Dynamics GP, Atomatic minimized data reentry, improved employee productivity, and established a centralized, up-to-date store for all company information. “The greatest benefit we’ve received from our new system is integrating our job costing and service management,” says Hoffman. “Our dispatch and billing are much improved, and we have information about equipment, contracts, and quotes in a single place and available to more people.”
In addition, Hoffman is confident about his company’s future with the WennSoft solution. “That this solution is based on technology from Microsoft is reassuring,” he says. “And, we are confident that WennSoft will continue to refine it to meet the needs of mechanical-services firms.”
Empowered Decision Making
Employees across Atomatic now have the information they need to make more informed decisions that minimize costs, increase profitability, and improve customer service. Says Hoffman, “In the past, it was habitual for our managers to delegate the task of finding information to someone else, and now that information is easily accessible to everyone. This has been a huge benefit because we can retrieve information faster and with less work.”
The WennSoft solution helps employees act faster and with greater confidence. Examples of empowered roles include:
Customer service representatives, who can input information while on the phone rather than relaying those edits to accounting staff. Previously, information gathered on calls was updated once every week. Hoffman notes that the new solution also helped to immediately reduce call-handling times because it was easier to find and input data.
Sales representatives, who can view collections notes related to a customer in the system, which was a process once dependent on the accounting department.
Members of the design team, who can now quickly pull up job-costing data when drafting new construction plans.
Project managers, who were good at managing projects from a task side and can now manage those projects from a financial-management perspective as well.
Competitive Edge with Better Customer Service
|The moment we went live on the solution, our billing cycle reduced from over three weeks to less than two weeks, without us having to change our processes.|
|Steven Wiet, CFO, Atomatic Mechanical Services|
Now with comprehensive information about a service account, Atomatic representatives can offer special benefits that the company’s competitors are unable to match. “With the WennSoft solution, we can offer our customers details about their equipment and service agreements that save them money, such as benchmarking and other metrics,” says Wiet. “Our customers might otherwise keep track of this information on their own or they might not. But we’re winning accounts because we can offer this level of service.”
Greater Business Insight
With the WennSoft and Microsoft Dynamics GP solution, executives and managers at Atomatic have greater insight into the business. “With the recent slowdown in construction, our service business has become even more important,” says Hoffman. “The WennSoft solution has helped us do a better job in tracking and converting our new construction customers to become service maintenance customers.”
Reporting is much more powerful with Microsoft Dynamics GP and the WennSoft solution. “Our ability to analyze profitability and optimally manage our operations has gone up considerably with the new solution,” says Wiet. “Microsoft Dynamics GP, because it is based on Microsoft SQL Server, makes it easier to access data and report on data. When I investigate something, it takes me half the time that it used to.”
Billing Cycles Cut by Two-Thirds
|Atomatic has designed, installed, and serviced HVAC residential systems |
After implementing the new solution, Atomatic dramatically improved several accounting processes. “The moment we went live on the solution, our billing cycle reduced from over three weeks to less than two weeks, without us having to change our processes,” says Wiet. “And as we continue to improve our processes in the future, the billing cycle will only get shorter.”
With WennSoft and Microsoft Dynamics GP, payroll processing also improved dramatically. Weekly payroll once took more than an hour, but now Atomatic can complete the task in less than five minutes because of improved performance resulting from WennSoft and Microsoft Dynamics GP with the underlying SQL Server database.Microsoft Dynamics
Microsoft Dynamics is a line of integrated, adaptable business management solutions that enables you and your people to make business decisions with greater confidence. Microsoft Dynamics works like familiar Microsoft software such as Microsoft Office, which means less of a learning curve for your people, so they can get up and running quickly and focus on what’s most important. And because it is from Microsoft, it easily works with the systems that your company already has implemented. By automating and streamlining financial, customer relationship, and supply chain processes, Microsoft Dynamics brings together people, processes, and technologies, increasing the productivity and effectiveness of your business, and helping you drive business success.
For more information about Microsoft Dynamics, go to:
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For more information about Atomatic Mechanical Services products and services, call (847) 818-4300 or visit the website at:
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