Pen and paper can only get you so far.
Just ask Stonescapes, a commercial concrete and paver contractor in Las Vegas, Nevada. Stonescapes has seen tremendous growth over the past few years—and while they made things work with pen and paper, their processes became increasingly inefficient as they grew.
After several software trials that didn’t work, they switched to Assignar and saw immediate short-term gains. Now, they’re saving 16 hours a week through more efficient operations and are better positioned for continued growth in the long term.
Let’s take a look at where they started.
An analog start
Before Stonescapes went digital, their payroll was ruled by handwritten timesheets. Workers on job sites tracked their hours on tangible timecards that they either dropped off at the office or someone picked up daily.
While it was simple for the field to use, it was very time-intensive on the admin side. The biggest problem? It wasn’t scalable. The more jobs Stonescapes worked on, the harder it was to visit each site, pick up the paper time cards, take them back to the office, and enter them by hand. That doesn’t even account for double-checking the spreadsheets for errors, missing timecards, or correcting cost codes.
Stonescapes’ CEO James Jaramillo knew their analog process wasn’t working.
“It turned out to be very expensive for us,” he said. “We had handwritten timecards that were sent into the yard every day that we would pick up.”
Plus, they were always a day behind when looking at the data. Admin couldn’t watch budgets and keep them from getting out of control until it was too late.
While payroll drove Stonescapes to look for a better solution, it wasn’t the only analog roadblock they faced.
Handwritten schedules worked—temporarily
If you don’t have a digital solution, you do what works. Or, at least, what you think works. For Stonescapes, that meant doubling down on paper with handwritten schedules. Field/Office Liason Carson Driscoll admitted that their past scheduling system was old school. Superintendents would handwrite the schedule on a yellow legal pad, snap a picture, and send it in group chats to tell each crew where they were going.
“It was super old school and super slow,” Driscoll said.
The process was inefficient—but they didn’t know that until they saw how much better it could be. What’s more, there was little visibility into the business as a whole. The admin team struggled to see an overview of the schedules or work history. This made forecasting a struggle.
A new digital solution
The Stonescapes team knew the paper forms wouldn’t work forever—especially as they expanded the team and grew the company. Their first big move was to switch to digital timecards using Google Sheets. While that helped save time, they still couldn’t do anything with the data.
Along the way, Stonescapes tried a few different tech solutions that worked with their old accounting software but never found the right fit. Then it came time for a complete digital overhaul.
It started with a switch from their old accounting software to Acumatica, a cloud-based ERP. Once they moved away from their old accounting system, Jaramillo says Assignar moved to the top of their list.
“We heard great recommendations about Assignar,” he said. “And Assignar is what we decided to go with.”
Moving to Assignar was the best outcome for the back office and the field. Workers on job sites can enter their timesheets on their phones or iPads (much easier to do than finding a computer to run the program). There are no paper timecards to lose, and job codes are pre-populated into the system. All field workers have to do is select the code and enter their hours.
On the admin side, the changes have been immense.
Assignar’s integration with Acumatica ensures more accurate and up-to-the-minute data. There’s no human error introduced by manually keying in the data.
One big pain point between the field and the back office was keeping track of cost codes and job numbers. With other timekeeping solutions, they couldn’t limit who could access which codes. The long lists of jobs—all with similar names—means many in the field would just select the first code they saw. It was confusing for the workers and led to inaccurate data for the administration.
A boon for budgets
Managing the budget and making more proactive decisions has also become easier with the addition of Assignar. Before switching, the Stonescapes leadership team had a hard time analyzing the data quickly. There was always a race to enter the data, and Driscoll struggled to make prompt comparisons between the budgets and actuals.
“With Assignar, we can use the insights module to pull hours according to cost codes, according to jobs, and then compare them to budgets,” he said. “We know exactly where we [are] on the job within a minute of the foreman putting the time in.”
Now, there’s more daily visibility—and more control—over what’s happening in the field. This makes it much easier for Jaramillo to run the day-to-day operations strategically.
“It helps us make decisions and act quicker throughout the week,” he said.
Keeping up with the company culture
A big benefit for Jaramillo and Stonescapes was the ability to keep their administrative team small and preserve their company culture.
“I like keeping a small office staff. I like the small feel that we have,” he said. “I like the people that we work with. We realized culturally it’s just very difficult to bring more people in.”
Scaling up using their previous systems would require hiring more entry-level office staff for data entry—a task that would take more time and a bigger budget. Instead of bringing in people that would change the office dynamic just to punch in data, they could scale while keeping that family culture.
Boosting the bottom line with Assignar
Stonescapes doesn’t stop with the insights and timekeeping modules. They also take advantage of forms and work planning, getting one step closer to clear and accurate information on project costs.
The switch to Assignar has completely transformed the way the administrative team works, and Jaramillo says it has given them the insights to make faster, more strategic decisions.
“Having Assignar integrated definitely gives us a much more detailed picture of how [we] run the business,” he said. Assignar has given Stonescapes both short-term gains and long-lasting benefits. Learn more about how you can build more with Assignar, here.