Any custom integrator would relish the thought of boosting their bottom line by 38 percent. BlueSpeed AV in Tulsa, Okla., just did.
Indeed, sometimes software adoption can be hard to quantify for a custom integration company, but without hesitation, Jason Evans, operations and head programmer at BlueSpeed, says, “Using iPoint, we have increased our efficiency in terms of billable hours and time logged on the jobsite by 38 percent.”
The company adopted the iPoint end-to-end software solution about two years ago, and the results have been dramatic.
“We are completely engrossed in iPoint. Everything the software does, we use: invoicing, scheduling, sales orders, purchase orders, receiving, proposals, inventory, Return Merchandise Authorizations (RMAs), and work order and service tickets creation,” says Evans.
“The major, major, major, major change in our efficiency is due to the ability of our technicians in the field to generate work orders in real time. How fast we can now take work order information from the field and convert it through our invoicing process … and essentially generate cash … has increased dramatically. From an operations standpoint, that is my favorite part of the software,” he says.
BlueSpeed AV is a 10-year-old custom installation company that specializes in high-end residential system integration. About 80 percent of its business is residential, but when BlueSpeed does a commercial project, it tends to be large, such as a recent casino project. The company does design, installation and service for all its projects with a staff of two salespeople, two office administrators, one operation person and 10 technicians.
7 Pieces of Software to 1
Before BlueSpeed adopted iPoint back in April 2016, Evans says the company used seven pieces of software. The company used a combination of Google Calendar for scheduling, Trello to track the status of every project, Microsoft Excel and later D-Tools to create proposals, and Quickbooks for estimating and later invoicing.
“The main reason for making a switch was because my guys in the field were each using their own software and were having a hard time logging their hours, and clocking in-and-out of jobs. We also could not tell what they were doing in real time. They would go out and work all day long in the field, then come back to the office with their saved service tickets or work orders, and only then would we see what happened during the day,” says Evans.
“Now with iPoint, it is all real time. I can log in and see immediately a scope of work progress for the day for every job. I can see what they are doing and where they are in their progress as far as what tasks they have completed as well as what parts they have used for the day… all in real time,” he notes.
Evans uses the example of a service technician who discovers a bad HDMI balun. With the software, he can go directly into the service ticket, add the necessary balun, and present a total service ticket amount for the customer to sign. If the technician needs to get approval from the office, he can call in and Evans can view the service ticket in real time with no delays, no saving, no synching.
“It’s a real-time endeavor… I can literally watch him type. iPoint gives me all the data I need with just the click of a mouse,” he says ebulliently.
In addition to the work order efficiency, BlueSpeed AV’s accounting team now operates in real time.
“We no longer have to say, ‘We have to do billing for last week.’ Now, we do billing every day. As soon as those tickets switch over to ‘Complete’ they are reviewed and invoiced. Boom. We never have a stack of invoices sitting around that need to be mailed or emailed,” says Evans.
Changing Operations to Accommodate Software
One of the most consistent complaints integrators make regarding software implementation is that they are forced to alter their operations to accommodate the software.
Evans admits Bluespeed had to make some changes in the way it does things to use iPoint. “There is a certain flow to iPoint that the software walks you through in order to make the use of it easier,” he says. “So we did adjust the way we run our business to accommodate the ease of use of the software, but it was for the best. It took away the bottlenecks. It kept everything flowing in a straight line versus like a spider web. Instead of a lot of jumping back and forth between departments within our company, iPoint let us set up a process. It also gives you checks and balances along the way, which is really nice.”
For example, in Bluespeed’s inventory, when a TV is ordered for a project, the software sticks the project name on the purchase order and ties it to the sales order. So when the TV comes in, the packing slip indicates exactly what project it is for. Once you indicate that you Receive the product, it moves to Staging. That means it is no longer in your Inventory.
“It essentially keeps everything in line. The flow does not allow you to do it wrong. So there is no chance you can accidentally sell that TV out from under the customer when a quick sale occurs,” says Evans. “Most integrators will likely have to slightly alter the way their business operates. You can’t shoot from the hip with iPoint. If an integrator takes the time to make some slight tweaks, it will absolutely be beneficial.”
One-Month Implementation Time
“It took us a month-and-a-half after implementation to get all the kinks and bugs worked out,” recalls Evans. “iPoint actually called us more often volunteering to help us versus us calling them needing help. If you follow their doctrine, I think an integrator can implement the software in 30 days. We took a little longer just because I was stubborn and wanted to figure it out on my own.”
Evans discounts the contention that end-to-end software solutions are only for larger custom integration companies. “This software would be beneficial for even a two-man operation because it keeps you laser-focused on the end goal of being profitable and making money. It whole-heartedly pays for itself.”
Another feature that Evans likes is the proposal creation. “As you build your proposals and add products, it shows you the bottom line right at the bottom of the screen. So you can immediately see your profit margin as you create the proposal. There is no guesswork. ” he says