INTRODUCTION TO ADCO CONSTRUCTIONS
ADCO has a proud history of nearly 50 years in construction, having completed over 3,500 projects valued in excess of $14 billion. ADCO aspires to be the builder of choice for their clients, their consultants, their contractors and their people. They have a national presence, with offices throughout Australia and are one of Australia’s top 100 privately owned companies. ADCO has been using Payapps since early 2018 and in that time have rolled the platform out to over 50 projects across the country. We recently caught up with their Commercial Manager for Victoria, Carlos Gonzalez, and their CIO, Doug Zuzic, to get their perspective on life before Payapps and what has made the national rollout so successful.
LIFE BEFORE PAYAPPS
Prior to using Payapps, ADCO struggled with inconsistencies across their business, which put strain on the approval of subcontractor progress claims. There was significant disparity between how claims were submitted – both in terms of their format and level of detail – with lots of spreadsheets, emails and phone calls to chase subcontractors for missing documentation. Then there was the challenge of reconciling the latest claim to the previously certified position. On complex trade packages this step alone could take one to two hours.
Once everything was reconciled and the necessary documents were in place, assessments then went through a paper-based workflow of shuffling mountains of paper between site team members and then into head office for sign off. It was a slow process from project teams to construction managers through to the accounts team. And the use of paper meant there was a lack of visibility as to where any claim was in the approval process, as it was difficult to determine whose desk it was on.
This sometimes led to claims being misplaced and subsequent stress to get claims assessed within legislative guidelines and subcontractor payments made on time. ADCO wanted a system to make the claims management process more efficient so they could ensure they were making payments to subcontractors on time.
“Technology in construction has to be intuitive and clearly aligned to a process. Payapps is a really simple and easy to use application.”
Doug Zuzic – CIO, ADCO Constructions
TESTING THE WATERS
Carlos and ADCO’s CFO were both aware of Payapps and that it was being used by several of their competitors. They had heard positive accounts and were keen to give it a try. They chose two projects in NSW and another in Victoria and used these as a pilot exercise to evaluate the benefits of using the system prior to investing too heavily in process change. The initial intention had been to run the pilot for the full duration of the three projects, but it quickly became apparent that there were significant benefits being realised.
The feedback was immediately positive in terms of the efficiencies, as Carlos explains. “As a business we had underestimated how long it took teams to reconcile claims to the previous month’s accounts. It is no longer an issue at all with Payapps – it is just correct, the way it should be. It was a lot more efficient, a lot more effective. The experience was all positive – from the project teams’ CAs, project managers, construction managers, through to the accounts team. I could see the end result when our forecasting sheets would go up to our CFO – it was just smooth. We used to have a few roadblocks in our process and this overcame all of them.”
After just four months of using Payapps, the positive feedback from the pilot projects convinced ADCO’s executive team to proceed with a national rollout. Over the next 12 months their use of Payapps increased from the initial 3 projects to 50 projects nationally – an impressive change management feat by any standard.
“The internal change management by ADCO was top shelf. At the start of the kick-off training the teams were informed about the rationale for adopting Payapps, and the success of Payapps on the pilot projects was shared with each new team. This established a very clear executive mandate for all staff to embrace and helped accelerate the rollout,” Mark Ballinger, Director Market & Customer Engagement, Payapps.
ADCO made good use of the onboarding collateral provided by Payapps and started the communications with their subcontractors early on, which made the rollout a smooth process. The usability of the platform was also a major contributing factor, as Doug Zuzic explains.
“The reason we were able to ramp up so quickly was that it is such a simple and easy application to use – both from submitting a claim from a sub’s perspective and also from a CA’s perspective. Technology in construction has to be intuitive and clearly aligned to a process. Payapps is a really simple and easy to use application.”
“As a business we had underestimated how long it took teams to reconcile claims to the previous month’s accounts. It is no longer an issue at all with Payapps – it is just correct, the way it should be… The experience was all positive… I could see the end result when our forecasting sheets would go up to our CFO – it was just smooth.”
Carlos Gonzalez – Commercial Manager, VIC, ADCO Constructions
REAPING THE BUSINESS BENEFITS
ADCO now have a streamlined claims management process across their entire organisation. Claims are received in a standardised format on a common platform – for all subcontracts per project and for all projects across the company. It is clear what work is being claimed against, what the certification involves and where each claim is at in the approval process. Payapps also supports ADCO’s limits of authority and approval hierarchies, and approved claims are automatically sent through to Jobpac without any data entry. The flexibility and paperless workflow makes it easier to get claims approved digitally and in a timely manner, which means subcontractors are paid on time and without stress.
ADCO’s subcontractors are also benefiting from the introduction of Payapps. “From a subcontractor’s side of things it is making it easier for them to reconcile their accounts at the end of the month. We’ve had good feedback that it works for both sides. We used to get a lot of calls from subcontractors wondering what had been approved, but now they have that transparency and can clearly see for themselves. We want subs to know that we are good payers and wanting to work with ADCO. We believe this has improved.”
The improved process means more productivity and happier employees. “We have very qualified and talented people, and we want them using their skills to our advantage, not just reconciling paperwork. Payapps has changed the balance of where they are spending their time – more on reviewing and certifying work rather than reconciling last month’s account and entering data. Wasting people’s time creates frustration, reduces productivity and increases risk around delays of payments.”
Perhaps most importantly, ADCO are now well positioned to grow their business further, with confidence that their processes can scale accordingly.
“When you get faith in the process, the people and the technology you can scale the software rollout to the business quickly. Payapps bought consistency to our projects in managing subcontract payment claims and ability to consolidate data nationally. We are confident we could scale our business while maintaining project controls. You need all three elements right and standardisation across the board. We would have no hesitation taking on more work because it works well and we have faith in it,” Zuzic said.
ABOUT PAYAPPS + JOBPAC
ADCO’s IT strategy is to align business processes to applications that are best of breed, rather than a “one size fits all” approach. They are a “cloud first” organisation, so their preference is to go cloud wherever possible. They also use Jobpac Connect, so Payapps was an excellent fit.
Payapps has been an integration partner with Viewpoint’s Jobpac Connect since 2015. This partnership enables real-time connectivity between Payapps and Jobpac for importing projects, subcontracts and variations, as well as live creation of AP invoices on claim approval in Payapps. This integration reduces the time and potential errors inherent in data entry and streamlines the transition of claims from project teams, commercial managers and accounts teams.