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When building homes, margins matter and nothing helps improve margins more than eliminating the friction in your processes with an integrated system like MarkSystems.
Read on for a Q&A with Andy Dreyfuss, Managing Partner of Nova Triad Homes from the North Carolina Piedmont region, as he explains how implementing MarkSystems is helping their business tighten processes and improve margins.
Q: What was life like before MarkSystems?
A: Life before MarkSystems was not optimal. You can run a business with systems that don’t talk to each other, but you will never be performing at the highest level, understanding your profitability at a house level or a unit level with accounting, sales, and construction talking together. You can make the playoffs with distributed systems, but you’re not going to win the Super Bowl.
In construction, there are a lot of dollars flowing through, but in the end, margins are tight, so every half-percent is critical. The better you understand that and the more you're on top of the drivers, the more successful you will be. You can make 5% with disparate systems, but if you want to make 10% or more, you will need an integrated ERP and be good at your craft to do that.
Q: What challenges contributed to the move to MarkSystems?
A: Before MarkSystems, we had a hybrid of QuickBooks and another construction management system, so we didn’t have one system to manage the whole process.
We needed an integrated system. One that could handle our needs from the beginning of the process all the way to the end—from prospects to managing warranty with our customers. The whole lifecycle of the product. We needed everyone in the company to be on the same platform seeing the same information in real-time.
Q: How did you find implementing an integrated system?
A: Implementation went relatively quickly. The MarkSystems’ team provides consistent support and communication with many touchpoints.
One of the lessons learned was to have someone on our team managing the project. Since it’s a big change, it’s a lot of work so you need to have someone dedicated who can bring all the functions together and represent them all and NOT have a day job.
The challenges in any implementation aren’t the software—it's the process. The software demands a consistent process, so you need to tighten up your processes as your implementing it. For example, who determines when lots are available for sale? If you don’t have an integrated system, it can be anybody. But when you have a solution like MarkSystems, someone has to own it and stay on it.
Q: What functionality have you liked most?
A: The contracting functionality has been intuitive. It’s been very easy to sit down with a customer and price out a house in MarkSystems.
We have a large number of options and selections and that can be overwhelming to home buyers. They could potentially be choosing from thousands of items, based on all the different colors and sizes available, so having a system that’s not only simple for us to use, but also is easy for our customers to understand is fantastic. Any time you can improve the customer experience, that’s a positive thing.
Our warranty process will be much more efficient too. MarkSystems is very robust and uses a work ticket system that lets us manage our subcontractor performance and ourselves. Other home builder software tends to forget about this aspect of the business. But houses settle and there are always some issues, regardless of the quality of the build. The better you can manage those problems, the better the experience for the customer.
Q: What was the support like throughout the process?
A: The MarkSystems’ team provides consistent support and communication with many touchpoints. The training was great, everything was recorded so we could go back and look at specific steps. The videos made the process look simple. You know how to get a customer from point A to point B and you have a lot of tools to take a difficult process and make it as easy as possible.
MarkSystems is as advertised, so it more than met our expectations. We anticipated that there would be some skepticism when you have a change of this magnitude, with some employees wondering if it will come together, but MarkSystems is a solution that your company needs to run their business. If it’s going to work for hundreds of home builders, it’s going to work for us. And it has.
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About the Author