From ‘flying blind’ with spreadsheets to 400% growth and counting

How we helped Canopy Fitouts harnesses the power of WorkflowMax.

The client

Canopy Fitouts is an office design and fitout company based in Melbourne. After working in construction for more than 15 years, founder Karl Simity realised there was an opportunity to offer a specialised office fitout service. The business launched in February 2016 and grew rapidly, turning over more than $4.4 million in just its first year of operation.

“Every day thousands of people go to work in offices across Australia, and we believe everyone has a right to a beautiful office to work in,” says Karl. “We create office environments that help our clients improve staff effectiveness, happiness and productivity.”

The situation

As the business grew rapidly, Karl knew he was losing visibility of his projects and control of his spend management. “I quickly realised that in order to maintain control I needed to have better understanding of how my costs were tracking in real time. As I began to hire employees I found added complexities.”

Spreadsheets were not cutting it for Karl, who was losing track of ongoing profitability, a common problem in the construction industry.

“High end cloud-based software solutions designed for the construction industry were not the right fit for my business,” says Karl. “Those platforms aren't designed for the quick pace of the fitout industry and it takes just as long to enter the data than it does to run the project. Software should enable effectivity, not slow you down.”

“I used Xero for day to day financial management and bookkeeping, but it didn’t have the project management functionality I needed. I was thrilled with the growth in business but I was running blind, not knowing what costs were ahead of me in the next four to eight weeks.”

Managing cash flow and accurate forecasting is critical, and Karl was ahead of many businesses by realising he had a problem early, and addressing it before the business grew too rapidly. Also benefitting Karl was his very solid mapping out of his project processes. He was ready to find a new solution and had a good understanding of his pain points. By the time he came to us, ready to embrace the solution and set up systems that would support his continued growth.

The first meeting with Business Continuum

“My accounting firm, Young & Grant suggested Business Continuum so I met with the team,” says Karl. “I was impressed with their approach. They worked hard to understand my business and crucially, they didn’t overpromise. They didn’t force their favourite software solution to fit, but rather came up with a considered approach. Making the effort to understand my business problems was the big difference.”

Enter WorkflowMax

“We knew that WorkflowMax was the solution for Canopy Fitouts,” says our director Chung Hui. “We met in person to confirm the solution and go through a few limitations—because no solution is 100 percent perfect. But, it’s always a vast improvement over older manual and legacy systems.

“After Karl gave us the green light, we spent time configuring WorkflowMax to Canopy Fitouts and its unique project processes. It’s important that any solution is able to process any exceptions that arise in individual projects. We then created a dummy platform and presented it back to Karl, and after a few tweaks it was ready to roll out.

“We took care of the migration by importing data across from the current system. Then, we staged a half day training session,” says Chung. “The team learned everything, from how to process invoices, manage quotes, enter and track leads, add costs to individual projects and much more. And, after the launch client can contact us to answer any questions as they learn how to use it on the job.”

Outcome

“I have no idea how I lived without it,” says Karl. “Now, we can have up to 45 projects in the lead stage and 35 active projects. My project manager loves it. He uses it to delegate tasks and stay on track with delivery. And, he can quickly and easily process 80 invoices a week.

“I can easily plan the design team’s time based on the phase of each project, seeing at a glance where they are and what’s coming up. I like to get a broad, birds-eye view of the entire business, seeing where everything is at, financially and operationally. I’m across everything: payments, leads, weekly numbers, schedule, discussions, work in progress. The benefits for CRM are vast—navigating clients through the conversion process is more efficient.”

“Now, our business has quadrupled. Of course, there’s many factors to our success, but Business Continuum and WorkflowMax have played a big part. We’ve exceeded our targets, because it allows us to stay on top of costs and workloads and deliver amazing results for our clients on time and on budget. It definitely helped facilitate our growth, without it I would be buried in paperwork.”

Praise

“I often recommend Business Continuum, because they are methodical and outcome driven. They took the time to understand my business problem. From there, they find and configured the right solution. It’s hard to find people who care to this level. They make integrating software solutions manageable and easy. And, they’re a great bunch of people to work with.”


Business Continuum Team

Cloud workflow experts on a mission to help every business get online and maximise productivity using the cloud.

Canterbury, VIC
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