Georgia-based Batson-Cook Construction, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Kajima USA, is a general contractor, construction manager, and design-build contractor. Its experience crosses a wide variety of sectors throughout the Southeast, including education, healthcare, hospitality, office, retail, multi-family residential, industrial, and religious buildings. With its broad array of work and various projects, Batson-Cook’s financial forecasting needs to be very detailed, accurate, and reliable.
For years, the company’s finance department had been using various systems for budgeting, forecasting and reporting, including Excel spreadsheets. Using multiple tools and manual spreadsheets created significant challenges. Those included trying to consolidate all the necessary information specific to Batson-Cook’s financial planning, scheduling, and projections of projects while maintaining version control to ensure general managers were working with the same updated information. It was clear that visibility into budgeting and forecasting outside of the finance department was limited, which again made managing budgets and forecasting extremely disjointed and complicated. All of this was impeding Batson-Cook’s ability to forecast and close quickly—and accurately.
SINGLE SOURCE OF TRUTH
In 2018, Jeff Krall joined Batson-Cook as the company’s chief financial officer. Once on board, he quickly realized the business needed a flexible, automated solution that would consolidate all of its budgeting, forecasting, and reporting information in real time and in one place. This was the only way to accurately allocate resources and make time-sensitive decisions on any new opportunities or issues that emerged, especially in today’s disruptive business landscape. The platform needed to be forward-facing for all necessary users to ensure everyone had access to all of the details they needed for an effective workflow. Krall also desired a solution that would seamlessly integrate with Batson-Cook’s existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system from Trimble Viewpoint.
He chose the cloud-based financial performance management (FPM) platform from Prophix, noting it was in the “sweet spot” for what Batson-Cook was seeking in terms of the flexibility and scalability it required, along with the features the company specifically wanted, and given the breadth of experience the company had in the construction space.
Since implementing Prophix, Krall’s vision for Batson-Cook’s finance function has come to life. By having the company’s data centralized in one cloud-based platform, project managers can quickly and efficiently consolidate information from various sources. For example, contractors and subcontractors can ensure projects remain within budget and meet deadlines, and department heads can ensure their budgets and actuals are in line with the finance team and overall business goals.
A single source of truth ensures that Batson-Cook has much more confidence in the integrity of the data, enabling staff to make more effective, impactful decisions. With Prophix, everyone within the organization is always working with the most up-to-date financial information to prevent cost overruns, reworks and project delays. Batson-Cook is able to allocate costs and resources across jobs and work orders to fulfill backlog and revenue goals. Through Prophix’s interactive dashboards, the Batson-Cook general managers can be nimbler and more flexible in making impactful strategic decisions. Having this deep level of insight helps them to monitor progress and compare actuals to budgets by any dimension.
As seen during the pandemic, Prophix’s scenario planning ability enabled Batson-Cook’s finance team to quickly update forecasts based on different business scenarios and communicate with stakeholders on the fly. These capabilities instill confidence when making decisions around staffing and resources, and promotes more efficient and effective forecasting, even during volatile market conditions.
CROSS DEPARTMENT USE
Prior to using Prophix, Batson-Cook’s department heads weren’t involved with budgeting or forecasting for their division or department. Since they were removed from the process, they didn’t have background on their budgets and were provided with costs and expenses without insights into why that was (i.e., the actual charges). Now, by leveraging Prophix, they have a complete picture of their budgets, and can do their own budgeting and forecasting. They can drill down to look closely at their expenses, and reports are easy to generate, giving them a much better understanding of their financial position in terms of where they stand with their budgets and expenses. As a result, accuracy has increased across the organization, impacting the bottom line.
Additionally, Batson-Cook’s general managers appreciate Prophix’s forecasting functionality as it has enabled them to better project jobs and job profits. When using Excel to forecast, Batson-Cook had been ending the year 20-30% different than initially forecasted. With Prophix, the forecasting has become so accurate that there’s only a 5% difference at year-end.
Not only is the forecasting more accurate, but it is also significantly faster. In the past, when Krall was using Excel, it would take him four to five days to prepare the spreadsheet to give to the general managers so they could do their forecasts. Now, he can provide the details in a matter of minutes, basically kicking off the workflow and turning it over to them—a massive time savings.
Prophix has enabled Batson-Cook to forecast efficiently and effectively across the whole company—from the individual job level, to the division level, to the corporate management level. This has been great for the company and its stakeholders. Krall looks forward to leveraging additional functionality in the future currently available in the Prophix platform, including labor budget forecasting.
With the need for flexibility in today’s fluctuating economic environment, construction businesses require agility in their budgeting and forecasting. With FPM tools like those from Prophix, companies like Batson-Cook are able to forecast more quickly and accurately, best preparing them not only for the near-term but also to proactively address future market volatility.
For More Information:
Batson-Cook Construction is a Georgia-based general contractor, construction manager, and design-build contractor that has been in business for more than a century. Prophix provides an integrated, cloud-based platform to the Office of Finance; one that delivers planning, budgeting, reporting, forecasting, and consolidation solutions. Prophix supports the future with AI innovations that adapt to meet the strategic realities of more than 2,600 active customers, globally. For more, visit www.prophix.com.
Modern Contractor Solutions, July 2023
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