On the Connection Café and at the CFMA Conference and regional conferences, invariably the conversation turns to your Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. With so many choices out there, constant innovation, new versions, and different trades, how do you decide what is best for you and your company? We thought it would be helpful to hear from some fellow subcontractors and get their opinions — no sales pitch, just honest opinions about what does and does not work for them.
Jennifer Murphy, CFO / Treasurer, Pleune Service Company and 2023/2024 CFMA National Treasurer
Pleune Service Company in Grand Rapids & Lansing Michigan is a full-service mechanical contractor that delivers prompt, quality HVAC service & repair to commercial and industrial markets. Started in 1974, Pleune has 115 employees and is 100% employee owned.
We have been on Sage 300 CRE since February 2016 for our ERP. The main pro and the main reason we went to Sage was their Sage Service Operations, which is their mobile field software. This allowed our Service Dept. to go paperless for all work orders. We can now dispatch work orders, our technicians can fill out the work, order parts, put parts on a work order, enter their time and have the customer sign off on the work order all from a tablet. Once they complete a work order, it is immediately sent back to our office electronically to bill. Another pro is the paperless system we use for invoices (TimberScan) that allows us to bring in invoices electronically and route them for approval through the office with no paper trail to try to follow. The cons are that their Service Management module (where all the SSO data comes into the ERP) doesn’t fully integrate with the other modules of Sage 300. It was added after the other modules of Sage, and it is more of an add on vs. integrated in all aspects of Sage. We have had to create workarounds, so we don’t have to receive and enter invoices in both the Service module for Service invoices and the Purchasing module for Construction invoices. Another con, is that the software is older technology and Sage seems to be focusing most of their time and efforts on Sage Intacct, not Sage 300. If I could have a perfect add on, it would be to be able to get the dashboards and modeling directly out of Sage for Business Intelligence (BI) that I am having to use a third-party product.
Misty Lauer, VP of Accounting, Willmar Electric
Willmar Electric in Willmar, MN, Lincoln NE, and Lawton, OK was founded in 1920 and specializes in industrial, commercial, and institutional electrical work. Today they have approximately 185 employees, regional offices in three states and work that spans four continents. Today they are led by the 4th generation of the Chapin family.
In 2015 Willmar Electric switched to Viewpoint Vista for our ERP solution. Our decision to purchase Vista during our ERP solution search was the ease of use for our teams. Our teams were impressed with the job costing, job billing and service management modules. The capabilities of these modules and their ability to make changes in the system with little effort or rework is what excited us during our implementation. Today, Viewpoint Vista continues to meet our needs within our accounting and human resource departments. Our operations teams use Procore for their project management solution. These two solutions are integrated to provide visibility. When Viewpoint Vista develops and adds new capabilities our team is able to use their training material to learn new best practices. The vast catalog of training materials and knowledge base articles helps our team learn the new features and sometimes old features to improve efficiency with our processes. Vista’s document management tools, indexing and search capabilities would be seen as another pro by our teams.