AOS Engineering, headquartered in Plano, TX, provides mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design consulting and engineering services to commercial clients across the country.
Shane Arrant, Greg Speer, and Trent Ownen started AOS in 2005 in order to provide something diﬀerent than what others in their industry were doing, making communication and relationships a key success metric, and working with the whole development team throughout the job. That focus has led to growth and the opening of multiple oﬃces, including
Plano/Dallas, Houston, and Fort Worth, TX.
10 years ago, AOS was using Excel spreadsheets to keep track of projects and their production schedule. Nothing was tied together or systematized and projects were hard to manage. Using Excel limited team visibility and collaboration. Monday’s production meeting took 15 minutes to just gather a complete list of active projects for discussion.
And since AOS used QuickBooks for their accounting system, they really needed to tie projects to QuickBooks in order to get proﬁtability data and know if they were hitting their margins. Having projects in one location and tracking employee time back to projects was also a huge problem.
The Solution – Phase 1
Quickbase to the rescue. Step one was building a Quickbase app to keep track of their engineering and design consulting projects and manage operations across multiple oﬃces. Having everything in one place was the goal.
The Result – Phase 1
Quickbase gave them real-time access to open and active projects, sorted by Due Date, ensuring their Monday production meeting started quickly, saving everyone’s time.
With multiple remote oﬃces, communication and updates using Quickbase also became more streamlined. And by integrating projects, tasks, and timesheets, it was now easy to see proﬁt margin by job. An additional beneﬁt has been better data used for budgeting and estimating. By being able to review similar projects, this has led to more accurate and proﬁtable estimates. And once work has started, it’s easy to know if a project is within budget and tracking along with typical timeframes.
Project managers don’t need to look on a server to see project, scope, and budget, any questions are addressable in Quickbase real-time. And, we can see all info from start to ﬁnish, through all phases…proposal, production, and ﬁnancial. – Shane Arrant
The Solution – Phase 2
This last year, AOS Engineering engaged VARC Solutions to properly build out their CRM and connect Quickbase with QuickBooks using VARC Solutions’ Q2QConnect application.
AOS’s Quickbase application was oﬀ to a good start but wasn’t optimized using relational database concepts for linking clients, contacts, tasks, locations, and business development eﬀorts together. So, while the data was accessible, seeing how everything tied together wasn’t as clear, and running more sophisticated reports and dashboards wasn’t as easy as it should have been.
VARC Solutions was able to translate AOS’s vision into reality, improving the app structure, and streamlining repetitive processes. VARC Solutions has also played a key role in advising AOS on how to get more out of Quick Base.
The Result – Phase 2
Now, AOS team members can pull up a client or contact and see all projects, time, tasks, marketing eﬀorts, and ﬁnancial results on one screen. Everything is now one-click away.
Creating a new project was a laborious 3-step process. And with up to 20 new projects a week, this was painful and took too much time. Now everything is integrated, with one-click buttons to make the process easier. Associating timecards with tasks and projects now takes 2 steps instead of 5. And by reﬁning the change order process using Phases has drastically improved process management.
By integrating customer and order information into QuickBooks using Q2QConnect, gone are the days of manual re-entry of data into QuickBooks and no more printing out spreadsheets!
The AOS business development and marketing team has been able to take their eﬀorts to a new level this year. In the past, building a marketing list was painful…scouring emails, collecting and entering business cards, etc. Creating a Christmas card list was a laborious process. And tracking outbound marketing activities and ROI was elusive.
By adding marketing events, activities, and marketing expenses, tied to prospects and clients, and assigned to team members, AOS has improved accountability and can now drive business results and ascertain ROI. VARC Solutions also helped AOS log ongoing conversations with clients and prospects for better and more consistent follow-ups.
Adding a marketing calendar to track upcoming events and activities, and email notiﬁcations for task assignments has also helped the team be more focused and action-oriented.
Leslie Wood, Business Development Manager at AOS, wanted to know WHEN to reach out to folks. Now, when business cards are entered from a trade event, she’s notiﬁed and knows who to reach out to and where the prospect came from. Once a project is completed and invoiced, she gets a notiﬁcation to know when it’s appropriate to reach out with a thank you card…a really nice touch these days.
And always important for sales team alignment and cooperation, AOS is now able to tag clients to each business location, providing a clearer line of sight and client ownership. Now, it’s easy to track client growth by location and drill down to see “My Clients” for a given location.
Implementing robust dashboards and reporting has also been key. AOS can see their total sales vs goal, their top 15-20 clients, yearly sales, a sales chart for every month, open proposals and their sales pipeline…all updated real-time. Being able to assess the state of the business in 5 seconds, without having to “learn” Quickbase is now a reality.
And the AOS Engineering application hasn’t only been built for ownership’s beneﬁt. Team engineers and project managers can easily track the granular details of each consulting project. It’s easy to create and see a task list by user, for designers to be able to see what’s scheduled, all in one central place.
Quickbase is so customizable. It’s extremely easy to make changes and we can tailor things to our team’s needs.” – Shane Arrant
As you can see, Quickbase is a solution that continues to evolve with ever-changing business requirements. And partnering with a Quickbase Solution Provider like VARC Solutions allows you to stay focused on your business, while VARC Solutions focuses on building scalable and forward-thinking applications and integrations.
For more information on VARC Solutions, visit https://varcsolutions.com, call 281-412-6914, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on AOS Engineering, and their mechanical, electrical, and plumbing design consulting and engineering services, call Leslie Wood at 866-760-2673 or visit https://aos-engineering.com.