Concrete Contractor Reduces Payroll Expenses By 20%
Lewis Construction, Inc. is a concrete construction contractor serving customers in the Midwest and outlying states. They specialize in commercial and industrial foundations, interior floors, and exterior flat work. Their many projects include industrial facilities, large retail box stores, healthcare facilities, and mining-type structures.
Their highly skilled staff, dubbed “the Lew Crew,” includes carpenters, laborers, finishers, surveyors, and operator engineers who take pride in their state-of-the-art technologies. Their laser screeds and robotic Total Station ensure that floors and foundations exceed customer expectations. Meeting high standards for quality, performance and scheduling, the company depends on excellent communication among its many workers in the office and in the field.
Lewis Construction’s payroll processing was hampered by communication glitches that manifested in errors and inaccuracies in employee paychecks and union benefits documentation.
According to Sheri Jehn, VP of Operations, there was “a gaping hole in the communication chain that had to be remedied… We needed more accurate and detailed information from the field.” This problem drove up the cost of payroll processing and caused a myriad of other problems.
Founded in 1969, the company has grown into a major player in the concrete construction industry by investing in highly-skilled people and high-tech equipment. Despite its growth, the company’s owners remain directly involved and hands-on in day-to-day operations. Field communication is key to their ability to manage crews and provide services as a solid concrete construction sub-contractor to general contractor customers. They needed a system that would streamline time reporting from the field, job reports, meeting notices, condition reports, information on any injuries, and so on.
Before finding mJobTime, Lewis Construction tried a competing time tracking system. This system required each field worker to use two keys, one green and one red, to lock in his or her start and end times every day. “It was a disaster,” Jehn said. Union workers had no keys, requiring foremen to enter their times. This created nightmares for office staff because the system was designed for time records to flow directly from each field worker rather than from foremen. Payroll staff had to deal directly with each field worker rather than foremen to resolve timekeeping issues. Lewis quickly realized the system was not working for them. They went back to square one to find a better solution. First and foremost, they needed time reports to flow through foremen as central points of contact between the office and the field.
Lewis Construction found their answer at World of Concrete’s annual convention for commercial concrete and masonry contractors. World of Concrete’s annual trade show brings contractors and exhibitors together for the latest innovations and best new products in the industry. Lewis Construction talked to an assortment of vendors in search of a time reporting system that would work for them. When they met mJobTime’s VP of Business Development, Janice Newland, they knew they had found the answer to their communication problems.
According to Jehn, “World of Concrete provides a great opportunity for contractors to talk to vendors and find out just how their product meshes with ours. We felt a great comfort with Janice. She guided us to exactly what we needed.” mJobTime’s system design would allow them to fix their time reporting workflows. After the disastrous experience with their other system, the Lew Crew liked the fact that, with mJobTime, a foreman could be given sole responsibility for time reporting and act as a hub between the field and office.
In addition to improving work flows, mJobTime solved another problem for Lewis Construction. They were looking to change their accounting system and wanted to ensure their new time tracking system would be a good match. As Jehn explains, “We were in the process of evaluating a change to our accounting system. Having mJobTime waiting in the wings hastened our move to Sage 300 CRE which was a great match with our Sage Estimating system as well as mJobTime.”
After an online demo and quite a few chat sessions, the company was convinced that mJobTime was the right solution for Lewis Construction. They pulled the trigger, and within one month, were up and running with the program. Their field crews now use mJobTime on iPads to track labor time, daily logs, and daily quantities. In the office, the staff uses the program to perform overtime calculations, insert non-paid employee breaks, approve timecards and send them to Sage 300 CRE, and to generate various reports for management.
“Response to our issues has been excellent,” Jehn says, explaining how mJobTime techs helped them configure the export template to match their accounting software. The company now enjoys accurate time entry and quicker payroll processing. “We were able to create reports to help with our billing, as well as keeping track of safety meetings.”
“We’ve found that as we go through any change,” said Steve Lewis, President, “in the field or with software technology, we have to be ‘all in’. Everyone from the top down has to buy in and invest in the concept for it to be a success.”
mJobTime’s flexibility, portability, and ease of use are helping “The Lew Crew” control costs and continue to deliver the highest quality concrete services. Total payroll processing staff hours were reduced 20%, and they are now “getting better reporting of each day” based on accurate time entry from the field. And now that their crews can report job hazards, safety meeting information, injury details, weather conditions, and so on, they rest secure knowing their jobs are much safer. Thanks to mJobTime, there is no longer a “gaping hole in the communication chain.”
Lewis Construction had to improve communications from the field to ensure accurate time reporting, streamline payroll processing, and report job safety conditions. After trial and error with another system, they went back to the drawing board and researched vendors at their industry’s premier trade show. The folks at Lewis determined that mJobTime, with its easy-to-use time collection system, daily field reporting module, and its tight integration with the Sage 300 CRE accounting system, was clearly the right choice.