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Published April 6, 2023 . 6 mins read

Industrial Power Solutions

Industrial Power Solutions is gearing up to double in size over the next year or two—and that means the volume and complexity of its construction data will be growing, too.

Chief Financial Officer Phyllis Dyer is on the case. This past August, she and her team integrated IPS’ Foundation Accounting Software data into the ProNovos platform.

The Glendale, Arizona-based contractor takes electrical, instrumentation and controls projects from inception to completion (including installation). IPS serves customers across the Southwest in industries such as agriculture, food-processing, manufacturing, water and wastewater. Its 65 employees include electricians, project managers, engineers, designers and programmers who collaborate on varied, often complex jobs.

The IPS team leverages ProNovos’ automated, real-time Work-in-Process financial workflow along with several dashboards from the ProNovos Analytics Marketplace—especially Company Monthly Billings, Project Billings and the Executive Dashboard.

On the project side, IPS PMs and engineers use ProNovos’ cloud-connected Project Management platform, which streamlines jobsite updates, improves team collaboration and handles a wide variety of project documents.

Company Monthly Billings, Project Billings and Executive dashboards

Benefits to field personnel

Field personnel now can see all aspects of their projects in one place, via either a mobile or desktop app. Newer and younger project managers, in particular, previously struggled to use accounting software designed more for trained accountants than busy construction experts. “We wanted them to get a clearer view of how their projects were progressing,” Dyer explained.

IPS PMs also were slowed by the need to track too many logins, passwords and operating instructions for different construction data apps—a common complaint in the industry.

“It was really disjointed before,” Dyer recalled. “They would have to go into one app to record their payroll, another to do their daily reports and then you had Dropbox and VPNs for photos and submittals. ProNovos brought it all together for us in one place.”

It has simplified my life immensely! As a PM the Billing Dashboard is so user-friendly and has easy-to-use graphs and charts. Prior to ProNovos, we had to go through many reports and hoops to find the same information. Also, the submittals are easy to track now and you don’t have to weed through emails to confirm when things had been sent to the customer. Lastly, the customer service has been excellent. I feel as though my issues are actually being heard and worked on to improve.

Kristin F
Sr. Project Manager

The ProNovos mobile app is geared specifically toward field personnel, giving them just the information they need to do their jobs more effectively. “The user interface for the mobile app is super simple,” Dyer noted. “You don’t have to have training to figure it out. You download it and login. It’s pretty self-explanatory.”

In addition, the data visualizations that ProNovos automatically generates make it easier for PMs to grasp what’s happening with otherwise-tricky concepts like over- and under-billings.

“They have gained a better understanding of how over- and under-billing works,” Dyer said. “They don’t have to do anything but open the dashboard. As a result, they’re focusing on it more.”

Tastier ‘PBRs’ (Project Budget Reviews)

Prior to rolling out ProNovos, IPS relied on the traditional approach to WIP reporting, in which project data is pulled out of the accounting system on a particular day, then combined into the WIP report and finally discussed with PMs days later. Internally, the IPS team jokingly referred to these sessions as “PBRs” (for Project Budget Reviews, not Pabst Blue Ribbons).

Construction projects change quickly. Information that was current a week ago can create a woefully inaccurate picture today. Now office and field personnel at IPS have at their fingertips updated billing status and other project information, accessible anytime, anywhere via the cloud-based ProNovos platform.

Initially, some of the company’s PMs dragged their feet on the switch out of a natural inclination to stick with what they knew. In a best practice for other contractors, the IPS management team responded by clearly communicating the company’s intention to modernize its approach to construction data workflows.

ProNovos App

I appreciate ProNovos as the “one-stop shop” of all the information. I love the color charts and graphs. It helps to see things and not just try to interpret numbers. I think it is user-friendly and LOVE that it’s web-based. I use it to see where the current status is on the projects. I maintain budgets and billing based on the live numbers. I enjoy that it directly connects to Foundations and labor is shown immediately.

Brad V
Division Manager

“We had a meeting to say, ‘Okay, we are no longer going to do our PBRs the old-fashioned way because it is very time-consuming,” Dyer explained. “We just cut the cord and forced the issue. Once we did that, the feedback was amazing. The PMs raved, ‘This is so simple and easy!’”

At the time, however, IPS was not processing its payroll information in Foundation, and so critical labor data was missing from the equation. “We actually moved our payroll into Foundation so we could see it in ProNovos,” Dyer said. “We saw how valuable it would be to have labor information at our fingertips versus having to download information into Excel, format it, create our own charts and so forth.”

In addition to saving time, the shift led to some “Aha!” moments for IPS PMs. “All of a sudden, they could see people’s names on their jobs,” Dyer explained. “In our new PBRs, the PMs commented, ‘Wait a minute, why is so-and-so coding time to my job?’ It was amazing to hear the PMs take a renewed interest in their project costs.”

Seeing ProNovos as a Business Partner

As IPS continued to work with the platform, Dyer noticed that field personnel were still struggling a bit to track and understand open commitments. “It was the only area where there wasn’t a specific dashboard,” Dyer said. “They could get that information, but they had to drill down.”

Having worked one-on-one with members of the ProNovos customer solutions team, Dyer felt comfortable asking for tweaks to how the platform handled open commitments. She also pointed out that IPS would love to have access to an easy-to-use cash-flow dashboard. The ProNovos team went to work on both requests. “They are so responsive to gearing the platform to meet our immediate needs,” Dyer said.

We moved our payroll into Foundation so we could see it in ProNovos. We saw how valuable it would be to have labor information at our fingertips versus having to download information into Excel, format it, create our own charts and so forth.

Phyllis Dyer
CFO, Industrial Power Solutions

We moved our payroll into Foundation so we could see it in ProNovos. We saw how valuable it would be to have labor information at our fingertips versus having to download information into Excel, format it, create our own charts and so forth.

Phyllis Dyer

CFO, Industrial Power Solutions

Previously, IPS had checked out some of the construction industry’s largest and best-known project-management and analytics providers. The company had second thoughts after reading online reviews about poor customer service, high costs and yearlong implementation times.

“We didn’t want to be just another number,” Dyer said. “We use ProNovos because it’s a really healthy business partner relationship. They listen to your needs and take action. ProNovos is not just some app you download from the Internet and hope will work.”

We use ProNovos because it’s a really healthy business partner relationship. They listen to your needs and take action. ProNovos is not just some app you download from the Internet and hope will work.

Phyllis Dyer
CFO, Industrial Power Solutions

Running analytics helps you make sure you don’t skip anything important. You can just run your report and see where you are with that material.

Phyllis Dyer

CFO, Industrial Power Solutions

What IPS would tell other contractors

Since onboarding ProNovos in 2022, Dyer has reviewed the platform favorably in online forums for construction financial management. What’s her message for colleagues interested in taking a more data-driven approach to project-management and/or financial workflows and analytics?

Cloud-based Foundation users, in particular, can expect a “super short” implementation time, the CFO said. “It is a snap,” Dyer said. “For us, it literally took just one day. The next thing we knew, our dashboards were up and running and we were getting immediate insights.”

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