Digital Time Capture’s Industrial Timesheet Management software meets its clients’ needs by providing real-time insight into project costs.
By Janice Hoppe-Spiers, Senior Editor at Knighthouse Publishing
As a consulting firm for key clients in the industrial construction sector, Digital Time Capture discovered a systemic issue between operations and finance that was a common pain point. “While working with them, we found this need where no one had a good handle on timesheets for their field operations,” COO Robert Oska says. “It was particularly poignant in large plant turnarounds and capital projects as accurate cost reports are typically due early in the morning the next day. There wasn’t much out there in the market that was flexible enough to provide this crucial information in a timely manner.”
Digital Time Capture, based in Edmonton, Alberta, spent two years in research and development, working closely with three of its key clients to develop its timesheet management software for industrial contractors and project and facility owners. The software collects operational data to support both operations and financial requirements. In the process, it improves data accuracy, eliminates duplicate data entry, and produces job cost and key performance indicator reports on demand.
“These three initial customers provided invaluable insight into the internal and external challenges they all face and how one system could be designed to solve this problem for any number or types of large scale projects,” the company says. “Digital Time Capture continues to partner with each customer and key industry champions to ensure customer requirements are met and that the DTC system continues to evolve to meet and exceed industry expectations.”
The DTC system, released in 2007, was intended to be used in the field offices so that data could be entered and manipulated on-site. “One of the things we found was that just about every major contractor had, at one time or another, been removed from a large project solely because of their inability to provide timely reporting,” Oska says. “Our software helps our clients by centralizing data collection to give on-site people the ability to capture, manipulate, and adjust data so that their clients approve the work tickets and the daily cost reports quicker, which in turn leads to quicker A/R collection as there is far less back and forth when it comes to invoice approvals and payment processing.”
Digital Time Capture’s easy-to-use interface allows construction companies to capture payroll and invoicing data while automating all necessary calculations and seamlessly integrating this data with any payroll or ERP system. “There are a number of systems out there meant to handle large scale residential or even commercial work, but virtually none focusing on the industrial segment,” Oska says. “In the industrial world, things change quickly and all the time. Digital Time Capture specializes in managing of complex high-volume projects through tracking and forecasting of costs, progress, and revenues.”
Crystal Gerstel, project controls manager at Tradesmen Enterprises, says Tradesmen and Digital Time Capture have deployed an accounts receivable integration in addition to payroll integration so once invoices are created in DTC they are electronically imported into its financial system. “In addition to internal integrations, we have been working with our clients to provide electronic reports and invoices so they can import the data directly into their systems as well,” she says. “This has reduced keying errors, reconciliation efforts, and increased confidence in our ability to provide accurate and timely cost reports to our clients.”
Digital Time Capture’s software is flexible so it easily integrates with existing systems and makes an organization-wide implementation less cumbersome and time consuming. “Its modularity ensures faster development of new integrations and the ability to be updated with new functionality as businesses grow and change,” the company says. “It’s a platform that ultimately delivers more value and more profit to companies’ bottom lines.”
“By implementing Digital Time Capture’s timesheet management software, companies will see a return on investment very quickly because far fewer project administrators are needed on-site,” Oska says. “A single timekeeper or administrator using DTC can handle 500 to 600 people in the field and have accurate and reliable data in the system in near real-time.”
DCM Group says Digital Time Capture’s return on investment was almost immediate because it helped the company process its invoicing faster with fewer personnel. “We’ve improved cash flow without increasing overhead,” says Rob Dowler, manager of operations for DCM Group. “It’s a great software for the price point, but the real value we’ve enjoyed has been in the professional service of the implementation team.”
Digital Time Capture’s software is very user-friendly, giving executives and project managers immediate access to accurate, up-to-date project information, Oska says. “Clients can review detailed operational data and, just as easily and quickly, generate management and performance reports as needed,” he adds. “Once people start using our system, there is no going back to relying on spreadsheets to track projects. Data captured in DTC becomes part of the backbone for the company.”
Advanced Specialty Contractors says it can configure DTC for a new branch or site in less than half a day. “Users love how easy DTC is to utilize,” says Andrew Martin, senior system analyst for Advanced Specialty Contractors. “We can train power users in a day-and-a-half and we can roll out a new branch or site in three days max.”
How it Works
Using Digital Time Capture’s timesheet management software in the field, companies can collect labor, equipment, material, and any other incidental project costs, including subcontractor information, as it happens on-site. The software can also capture large volumes of additional payment amounts to employees, such as travel allowances, per diems, retention bonuses and more.
Vic Intenberg, senior vice president and general manager for SRS Industrial, says, “We were able to track labor, equipment, material and expenses against a multi-level project schedule with over 1,600 tasks. DTC enabled us to track and report actual hours and costs against budget, ultimately achieving targets, keeping our client informed and driving our forecast to completion.”
The DTC system allows customers to build the project work breakdown structure as tree, without limitations in terms of the depth or number of activities captured and reported against.
Construction companies can generate invoices easily and quickly with the supporting backup data at their fingertips. Digital Time Capture’s timesheet management software helps minimize lengthy reconciliations, payment delays and cash flow crunches by submitting the correct invoice once. Invoices can be generated as quickly as timesheet data can be entered and approved.
Customers get the benefit of the systems’ built in auditing features, which cover every aspect of the data captured in the field or processed in the office.
Clients have a choice between using the system as hosted or as an on-premise solution. Hosted solution enables companies to scale on-demand and use the software for any project, eliminate installation and setup costs, and reduce the time and money spent maintaining hardware and software. Digital Time Capture’s on-premise solution allows large construction companies to maintain the hardware and software in their own data centers.
Digital Time Capture’s time management software is an “off the shelf product”, but allows for a great deal of configuration to account for differences between businesses. The included Report Builder, for example, allows clients to customize existing reports or build brand new ones directly in the system, complete with layouts and logos.
To ensure the software continues to meet its clients’ needs, Digital Time Capture regularly releases minor updates and limits major releases to one or two per year, Oska says. “Every major release has new features, as well as performance improvements to existing functionality.” he adds. “The DTC system is always growing and expanding. Currently, our development roadmap has about 50 items on it and all of these items are based on either client feedback or specific feature requests.”
An example of expanding functionality was the addition of budget and progress tracking to support project performance reporting. Another was the addition of personnel safety certifications when onboarding resources in the system. This allows companies to stay up-to-date and send email reminders to its staff or safety coordinators when it comes time for certification renewals.
The company is currently looking at adding the ability to capture unit rate work and production quantity tracking. “Over the last couple of years, we have had much more of a call for that as opposed to strictly time and materials or fixed price work,” Oska explains. “We started out focused on time and material jobs, then went through a phase where most work was bid/fixed price contracts, and now we are seeing the swing back again to time and material contracts, but with invoicing based on units and quantities installed and delivered. We are enhancing our system to allow our clients to track and invoice based on these.”
All data is currently captured using either the desktop app or the mobile attendance and timesheet app. The company is in the process of upgrading the desktop version to a newer platform, which will allow it to offer new functionality well into the future. At the same time, it is also investing in its newly published mobile apps portfolio.
“The mobile app extends our data collection platform directly into the field and being completely offline capable, can be deployed to very remote sites, communicating with the server only when network connectivity is available,” Oska explains.
Moving forward, Digital Time Capture plans to continue supporting its construction clients in the United States and Canada. The company is working to enhance its presence in the United States and specifically the petrochemical and energy generation and support industries. “Growth is currently our primary target, and we look to grow both externally as well as internally to provide more services to our clients,” Oska says.
Digital Time Capture’s Industrial Timesheet Management software is a comprehensive cost tracking and invoicing system that gives construction companies accurate and immediate insight into project costs, progress and performance metrics.
The product is driven by a set of priorities from DTC’s clients:
* Provide an easy-to-use data collection system to manage project costs on-site;
* Generate accurate and timely cost reports and invoices;
* Handle high volumes of data input with minimal overhead;
* Enable organizations to work across multiple locations;
* Integrate data with payroll, scheduling, job costing, human resources and ERP systems; and
* Generate customized reports on demand.
Digital Time Capture provides measurable impact on its clients’ performance by:
* Increasing the expediency and accuracy of the costing and invoicing processes;
* Reducing costly reconciliation exercises;
* Collecting, validating and approving project information;
* Improving precision and speed of project status reporting; and
* Automating and integrating data interchanges between various information systems.