Bushcrafted Ltd specialise in office refurbishment and joinery, working with concept designers to turn their unique ideas into a reality. Bushcrafted pride themselves on working to an exceptionally high standard that delights their clients, and recently saw them pick up a Gold Award at the 2017 FIS Awards Lunch in June.

Like many companies in the finishes and interiors sector, outstanding levels of efficiency and accuracy are standard as they continually strive for in the work they do, however managing the administration process behind the scenes is sometimes less efficient than many would hope, and often involves lots of manual spreadsheets, duplication of work and a lack of accurate reporting throughout the project lifecycle.

With those frustrations in mind, earlier this year Bushcrafted Director Steve Bushill underwent a 3 to 6-month process to evaluate how their business could better use technology in the back office to finally put an end to using manual spreadsheets and disparate systems.

Steve’s goal was to try and join up information across the whole lifecycle of a project, from creating an initial estimate, through to job costing and final accounts. The aim was to reduce manual effort and the time wasted rekeying information between various spreadsheets and into the accounts system – here were his findings.

“To put it into perspective we were using a mixture of solutions to maintain our estimating, job costing and accounts process, but mainly we used spreadsheets. A key objective for us was to eliminate duplication and the need to rekey information into various spreadsheets.

Previously, we used to manage our estimating process manually, and worked off spreadsheets to pull together the costs of any projects we were working on, or submitting an estimate for. This process was rather time consuming as we would have to go through one spreadsheet to find the relevant products and services and their costs, which we would then have to compile in a new spreadsheet to create a breakdown of the estimate.

Once we’d successfully won a job, we would then enter data into another spreadsheet for our job costing. Updating and maintaining this as a job progressed was very time consuming and it was very hard to reconcile figures, which made it even more difficult for us to report accurately. We lacked visibility and found it extremely difficult to pull records in real-time.”

Steve went about researching potential software solutions available and came across construction-specific software providers Eque2.

“I invited Eque2 in to demonstrate their estimating and contract management solutions and could quickly see how all these manual spreadsheets could be consolidated. I could see how we could save a tremendous amount of time and improve our reporting capabilities significantly.

We went on to select their Construct for Sage system which is a contract management solution that fully integrates with Sage Accounts to manage things like job costing, applications, retentions and ensures CIS and subcontractor compliance.

We also selected their estimating solution EValuate, which not only saves us time creating an estimate by using product libraries and calling up information from previous estimates, but it also integrates with Construct for Sage so that once we have won a job we can setup a contract in seconds and manage the job costing from there.

Unlike the previous processes that we used, we selected Eque2 for their ability to offer us management of the full project life cycle in one integrated system without the need for rekeying information.

We are pleased with the new system, and have recently upgraded our EValuate estimating package from a 2 user system to a 4 user system. With Eque2 we now have fully fledged system that flows figures from the estimating system into the job costing solution, and then into the accounting system.”

For more information on software for the finishes and interiors sector, please visit www.eque2.co.uk or contact 0161 939 0111.