MarkSystems® software provides substantial gains in business insights, productivity, and profitability
Benefits of Switching
- MarkSystems® program has strengthened the company’s ability to grow profitability and made them more competitive and more productive.
- The MarkSystems Internet ToolKit™ has taken communications with vendors to a more productive level, automating tasks and freeing up accounting to be more productive.
- Cloud-based software has enabled easy modifications, from any internet-enabled device, at any time.
- The company has halved the amount of time for monthly financial reporting, which has freed up valuable time for staff to focus on more productive areas.
Few resources are more valuable or cost-effective for homebuilders than the MarkSystems program from ECi Software Solutions.
When it comes to gaining a detailed and accurate understanding of just how well his business is performing, working smoothly and efficiently with trades and other key construction partners, and having the ability to quickly respond to sudden changes in the marketplace, Jim Haffner relies on MarkSystems.
The VP of Information Technology at Capital Homes in Tulsa, Oklahoma, is an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience on the IT side of the home building business. He knows just how easy it is to see precious profit dollars on a project vanish because of inaccurate or outdated information, inefficient processes, or failure to quickly adjust to changing market conditions.
Fortunately for Haffner and the rest of the Capital Homes team, problems like that are very much a thing of the past after the company switched to MarkSystems.
MarkSystems software’s integrated accounting provides job costing functionality
“Before we made the move to MarkSystems, pricing our homes prior to executing contracts was largely a matter of gut feel and guesswork,” says Haffner. “We didn’t have a good handle on where the money was going during the production process. All too often, it was a surprise—and frankly, not a very pleasant one—to see the final margin on a house after it closed.”
Back in the pre-MarkSystems days at Capital Homes, says Haffner, the process of figuring out what kind of margin a house really generated was tedious and labor-intensive, with the accounting team having to go through all the purchase orders on the project manually before they could calculate the final cost.
“It was very clear that we needed better job costing if we were going to price our homes properly for the markets we serve,” Haffner recalls. “At the same time, it was just as clear that other critical areas of operations also needed upgrades and improvements.”
“Working with key trades and other construction partners was taking up an inordinate amount of valuable staff time. Our accounting team would get a constant stream of phone calls from our vendors wanting to know when they were getting paid and how much,” he recalls. “We knew we needed better job costing ourselves, but some of the people who were supposed to play a role in that area were spending all their time on the phone!”
Haffner and the rest of the management team started searching for a solution and it didn’t take long to find one. “We looked at other programs but MarkSystems was really the only one that gave us all the features we needed,” he says.
MarkSystems software is a true end-to-end solution for homebuilders
Haffner also points out that MarkSystems functions as a genuine one-stop resource for the full range of construction applications and requirements, which also made a big difference.
“Unlike some of the other options we looked at, MarkSystems doesn’t have to rely on other software companies to write add-on modules for their software. We had a single point of contact for all our software needs and we knew would be able to talk to the people who actually wrote the module if we had a question about it.”
The MarkSystems team made the software conversion easy
Converting to new software can be a high-stress undertaking for any organization, but once Capital Homes decided to make the move to MarkSystems, the software company’s implementation team went to work to make sure everything went smoothly.
“A team of three people came out from MarkSystems with a detailed game plan already mapped out for us,” recalls Haffner.
“We went through a checklist of basic, system-level questions about how we ran the business with them and once they had that information, they put together a week-by-week schedule with regular status update phone calls to make sure the process stayed on track.”
The result: Capital Homes went live on MarkSystems right on schedule in just three months and the sales team was up and running, free of processing contracts problems in the first week after the switch!
“We found working with MarkSystems was very much of a partnership relationship,” says Haffner. “The MarkSystems implementation team gave us their cell phone numbers and we never had any problem getting hold of someone during those critical three months to get our questions answered when we needed something.”
And once the system was up and running at Capital Homes, the relationship remained just as strong, Haffner reports.
“We have an ongoing relationship with MarkSystems that has really helped us make the most of what the software offers and strengthened our business overall. We really like being able to contact one of their experts and hear how other homebuilders are handling the issues we all share. It’s become an invaluable resource since we made the switch.”
MarkSystems software products have improved data accuracy and vendor relations
It’s been just about three years now since Capital Homes converted. For Jim Haffner and the rest of the team, all of the challenges that were involved in running the business in those pre-MarkSystems days are just distant memories.
“With MarkSystems, our visibility into where exactly our money is going during the production process is greatly improved,” Haffner reports. “Before we converted, the accuracy of our data probably rated little more than a two or three out of 10. Today, thanks to MarkSystems, the accuracy of our data is closer to a seven or eight out of 10 and getting better all the time.”
In addition, Capital Homes’ implementation of the MarkSystems Internet ToolKit™ has taken communications with vendors to a new and far more productive level.
“Instead of having to make all those phone calls they had to make before we switched, our vendors can now go online and access all the information they need. Now, they’re running their businesses themselves and that’s made a tremendous difference to the overall productivity of our accounting staff.”
MarkSystems cloud-based software gives Capital Homes 24/7 business access from anywhere
Converting to a cloud-based system like MarkSystems has been just as positive, Haffner adds. “Moving to the cloud has given me the ability to log into the system from home and make any changes we need,” he points out. “I don’t need to log in through our secure system into our network at work in order to modify someone’s user security, create a new vendor account, or do anything like that anymore. I can do it all from home.”
And, says Haffner, the benefits of a Cloud-based system are just as positive for Capital’s field people, who now have the ability to go online and conduct business literally at any time and from anywhere with access to a web browser.
“The MarkSystems program has strengthened our ability to grow profitability and made us both more competitive and more productive,” Haffner reports happily. “We’re able to adapt far quicker to what’s happening in the marketplace and we’re no longer involved in what was basically a guessing game as to where our profitability stood on each house. And thanks to MarkSystems, information is flowing far faster and more smoothly.”
“We’ve easily halved the amount of time we used to need to do our monthly financial reporting and that has freed up valuable time for our people to focus on more productive areas,” says Haffner.
“We not only have so much more insight into how we’re really doing than we did before converting to MarkSystems but we’re also operating far more efficiently, both internally and with our outside business partners. MarkSystems has become a key resource for Capital Homes today and it’s only going to become even more important going forward.”