SDC Group: Scaling Up While Trimming Admin weight with Neo Intelligence
Company: SDC Group
Location: Queensland, Australia
Published: 13 September, 2023
Scaling up while trimming admin weight – SDC Group’s journey with Construction Software NEO Intelligence
Growing a construction business involves a lot of hard yards onsite and often a lot of midnight oil after hours to get through all the administration and finance. For civil, commercial, and retail concreting firm SDC Group, the growth trajectory has been both in terms of the complexity and value of projects.
Founded on the Sunshine Coast by an Indigenous man who saw an opportunity to develop a sound business and support his family through specialist concreting, SDC has since grown to take on major concreting projects across a territory stretching from Cairns to the Gold Coast and westward to Central Queensland.
With multiple projects underway and mobile teams spread across the state, managing the offsite tasks, including invoicing, scheduling, variations, client communications and workforce management, had become onerous.
Construction management software to the rescue
Project Manager Tim Fish has been with SDC for a decade and explains that before construction software Neo Intelligence was purchased by the senior management, tasks such as invoicing, validating work undertaken, scheduling payroll, and managing multiple teams was consuming a lot of time. SDC also did not have documented site evidence, which added risk when it came to getting paid.
“Being able to record conditions on site where the clients may not have everything ready for us, or where the conditions are not suitable, such as it being too wet, and being able to relay that straight back to the office with photo evidence makes a massive difference. Previously, we would just have to make phone calls, and this is not nearly as credible as a photo,” Tim says. “It is really good from the Supervisor’s point of view to be able to show the office what you’re dealing with, so they understand the working conditions on-site. It brings a new level of transparency.”
The site diary also enables Tim and the rest of the SDC team to record any instructions from the client and keep excellent records of what work has been completed each day and to what standard.
“With Neo intelligence, the evidence is right there, so everyone can see what you’ve achieved,” Tim says.
With Tim’s promotion comes new construction software benefits
As Tim moved up the ranks, he also began using the Neo Intelligence Admin Console as a Project Manager. This revealed new benefits of the site diary function, such as easily generating reports showing evidence of what a client had requested, the site conditions and the work completed in the event of a dispute.
He explains that SDC undertakes many projects with significant variations and that Neo Intelligence’s functionality for record-keeping, communication and coordination makes it far less risky to take these jobs on.
“It's about being paid for what was agreed, what was ordered, what was decided and being able to show who authorised it instead of going back and forth verbally. By using Neo Intelligence, the evidence is there, 100%, and that makes it much easier to prove our work with the client and get paid faster.”
This then has benefits for invoicing, another of Tim’s favourite aspects of Neo Intelligence. He accesses the records in the site diary, including pour records and the site drawings that have also been uploaded into Neo Intelligence, then adds everything up, references the quote, and sends the info for Accounts to invoice. At the end of the month, variations are all in the system and signed off, and the information can be changed into invoicing format and sent.
“By using Neo Intelligence, we have been able to streamline the monthly client invoicing process and condense that down into three or four days versus two weeks. This is a huge benefit for us.”
No more paper chase
Before using construction software Neo Intelligence, Tim and the Project Managers and members of the Accounts team would need to wade through paper copies of dockets and invoices, site records and client instructions and then decipher what concreters had reported and then enter it all into one program, then copy it into another before sending out the invoices. He estimates overall, there has been an 80% saving in Project Manager time spent on invoicing, which frees them up to do higher-value work.
Plus, the accuracy, credibility and overall organisation have been enormously improved.
“Having the site instructions and being able to digitally record everything and get the client to sign it without the chance of losing the paper is brilliant,” Tim says. “When there are bits of paper in the work Ute, including delivery dockets, they just get thrown on the dashboard, and then they are hard to track down when you need them later.”
Being able to do more with less
In today’s tight labour market, it is important for subcontracting businesses to be able to accurately plan their labour. Having easy access to all of the data and photo evidence collected in Neo Intelligence helps Tim with labour planning accuracy.
“Using Neo Intelligence, I can accurately track the number of fieldworkers on a site, their skill level and the number of hours they worked digitally versus the photos of what concrete has actually gone down, and this helps me plan for future labour requirements more effectively. These improvements in labour planning accuracy reduce costs and improve profitability.”
Another area where the time savings – and the fuel savings – are stacking up quickly is the ability for Project Managers to have eyes on the site without having to drive to the site as frequently as they did in the past. Many of SDC’s jobs are regional, and for a Project Manager to physically visit regularly means up to five hours on the road. With the site diary function, Tim and other managers can see on a daily basis what is happening on all of their different sites, in all seven regions they service in Queensland, so they can save the road trips for occasions when it really matters to be there on the ground.
This also means the local site teams feel trusted to achieve their KPIs and tasks, and they have the confidence of photographic proof, digital communications between clients and SDC management and a clear line of sight to their timesheets and pay packets.
Tim says adopting Neo was extremely easy, both from a Supervisor and Project Manager perspective and that the level of local support has been exemplary.
“The Neo Intelligence team are always available to help us and to brainstorm solutions to challenges we are having to help us learn how we can use the system to solve those challenges. For SDC Group, Neo Intelligence fits the mould with being a purpose built, subcontractor focused software platform. Neo gives us everything we need in a construction software package as opposed to a lot of them that only offer one feature such as timesheets. Neo Intelligence brings us all that we need in one easy-to-use, integrated platform and this has provided us with a solid foundation to build upon,” says Tim.
Ready to see how many hours of work, budget and communication issues you can solve using the Neo Intelligence platform for managing your site and subcontractors? Schedule a demo with one of our team today.