Landscaping Company Improves Project Management and Reporting with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

“With this level of reporting we can be proactive and smart as to which business we pursue and how we manage projects to ensure that they are profitable and successful.” Graham Kimber, IT Manager, Tim Davies Landscaping

Summary

Tim Davies Landscaping (TDL) was experiencing a period of rapid growth, with projects becoming larger and more complex. In order to improve customer service they sought to create a central repository for project and customer data that would enable highly detailed project tracking and management, as well as a complete view across the company’s current projects and sales pipeline.

By implementing Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 and Microsoft Dynamics CRM they were able to track the exact status of every project, and have metrics on how long those projects are taking, how many leads are converting to sales and the value of those sales to their organisation. They can also segment their market, see where they are making their profits and spot trends, gaining valuable insight into customers and prospects alike.

Automatic streamlined processes, complete with workflow prompts, are initiated every time a new client is entered into the system, which means that staff now spend 50% less time tracking projects. This level of automation has given them a truly scalable solution, making it easier to manage growth and continue to provide cutting edge customer service.

Business Needs

As Tim Davies Landscaping (TDL) grew, so too did the complexity of projects being managed across three divisions – Design, Construction and Maintenance – in two offices. Consequently the company decided to upgrade their IT systems to obtain even more detailed project management and reporting in order to continue to provide exemplary service to their large and growing customer base.

Their key objectives were to obtain greater visibility into their business processes, metrics and sales pipeline so that teams could rapidly share quotes and information. They also wanted a system that would automatically tell them how many projects they had in the business at any one time, how long projects were taking, how many sales they were closing and their value to the organisation.

A further requirement was to ensure that customers would receive the same high standard of service and the same rigorous project management with the same processes, regardless of which office or staff member they dealt with.
Graham Kimber, IT Manager, TDL comments:

“We were looking for a truly state of the art solution that could automate a lot of manual processes, automatically trigger events, such as follow-ups and site inspections in order to streamline collaboration between our teams.”

After talking to their Microsoft Partner, Ignia, TDL was invited to a presentation on knowledge management, which showcased how Microsoft Dynamics CRM could work together with their existing Microsoft Dynamics NAV implementation to create a complete solution. “We could see straight away it was the way to go,” says Kimber.

Solution

In just six months Ignia was able to design and build a complete Dynamics CRM solution for TDL. The system enables designers to open jobs and then follow workflows as their project is processed through the company. Staff are prompted when they need to take an action and all information related to each client’s project is stored in a single, central location, which they can access online – whether they’re on site or in the office. The system also provides a complete suite of CRM reports giving TDL end-to-end visibility of their business activities, from initial budgeting though to receiving the client Purchase Order. These reports can be accessed easily and provide staff with an up-to-the-minute view of the business.

Benefits

The new Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution provides strong support to TDL staff as they engage in competitive tenders. With the information they need at their fingertips, they have also eliminated the risk of costing inaccuracies. Added to this, staff find that standardised project management has dramatically reduced the amount of time spent looking for information.

Greater business visibility
One of the key benefits of the new system is the business visibility it provides to management. Graham Kimber explains: “On the day that the Dynamics CRM system went live we could immediately see how many projects we had in our design department as well as how many projects each designer has and the potential value of their work. Not only can we now allocate staff more efficiently, we can also accurately track and bill for work based on completed reports.”

Simple, standardised business processes
Having a centralised CRM system has simplified the way that projects are managed at TDL. Graham explains: “All staff have to do is create an opportunity in CRM and it creates a Microsoft SharePoint site with all the relevant templates. They then simply follow the prompts through a standardised workflow process that has links to everything they need, including forms.”

Because the staff were already familiar with Microsoft Outlook (an interface similar to Dynamics) there has been no steep learning curve. Kimber says, “the consistency and intuitive nature of the applications means that most staff were able to use it with very little training.” Best of all, the new system has received extremely positive feedback from staff, who have benefited greatly from simplified processes that reduce the time needed to track projects by as much as 50%.

More consistency
Streamlined, consistent processes mean that project handovers are smooth, as are transactions between the design, construction and maintenance teams.

The benefits ripple down to compliance, as Kimber explains: “This level of consistency means that our project managers always follow proven processes that comply with our 90001 accredited quality standard. And there are many ways that SharePoint supports compliance – for example through its integrated document control, versioning and access control – with inbuilt templates and prompts. It also means that staff are better equipped to follow up on quotes, helping us, as a company, to drive more business. There’s no doubt the new system has made us more efficient.”

Better reporting
The Microsoft Dynamics CRM system provides managers and staff at TDL with far better reporting. This means that departments can look at projects per staff member, per designer, per maintenance supervisor. They can see important details on individual projects, as well as across all projects. “We can slice data into market segments easily,” Kimber explains. “We can also spot trends and see what’s working: which markets are giving us income, which business is profitable, what our average sales cycles are, who enquires and proceeds, who enquires and doesn’t.

With this level of reporting we can be proactive and smart as to which business we pursue and how we manage projects to ensure that they are profitable and successful. Needless to say, accurate data allows our marketing department to make smarter decisions: our staff in marketing can capture customer details in one location, sorting customers by job type and market type to better understand who we should target for future business.”

A platform for growth
With greater control on the outcome of projects TDL has now established a firm foundation for future growth. “We deployed this system for its scalability,” says Kimber, “and we’ve already seen the benefits in a thriving marketplace. For example, our Port Hedland operation has grown significantly and we’ve been able to manage this growth to our advantage thanks to the CRM system.”

TDL also plans to leverage the mobility capabilities of Dynamic CRM down the track. “We’re planning to build a mobile application that will enable field staff to create on-site reports remotely,” says Kimber. “We should soon be able to upload this information wirelessly onto our CRM system. This level of flexibility will allow us to respond better to customer needs as well as saving us time and money on the road.”