Rose Country Developments is an experienced and respected independent residential construction company based in Barrhead, Alberta. With more than 15 years experience in building single and multi family homes, as well as large-scale condominiums and commercial developments throughout central and northern Alberta.
With that well-earned expertise came substantial growth. The company needed to track its spending in real time, eliminate mountains of stressful paperwork and establish firm budgets for its numerous development projects.
Rose Country Developments needed a system and Procurify was there to help accomplish those critical goals.
We spoke with Roderick Borduzak, purchasing manager at Rose Country Developments, about what Procurify has meant to his company.
Can you describe what your company’s procurement/purchasing process was in the past? Who was in charge of it?
Prior to about six months ago, we were building about 35 homes per year. We were purchasing everything from the building permit for the home, the development permit, all the way to the paint that goes on the fence and the sod that goes on the lawn. We’re looking at, over one house, about 300 to 400 purchase orders. That is for every house. So, multiply the number of purchase orders by 35.
Scheduling was a major issue, always. Prior to six months ago, all of the purchasing was done over the phone by the site supervisor. He would phone a trade and tell them to do a job on a specific date. But things don’t get written down sometimes or you don’t have a solid record of what was said between the two people. So, you get scheduling issues and conflicts between prices and issues like that.
As a result, we moved into writing our POs in an Excel spreadsheet, from scratch. Once we got to a point where we could start to copy purchase orders, that’s what we did. We just took an old purchase order, saved it, renamed it, re-used the information on it and just changed the name and numbers. That was okay because we could control things and schedule things fairly reasonably. But, then we picked up more homes.
So, Rose Country Developments has grown substantially. Can you elaborate on that growth, and discuss how that growth affected the company? What pain points did it produce in your purchasing process?
It produced an overload of stuff that had to be purchased. It changed our timing as well, because everything we do is time sensitive. When we went from 35 homes per year to double that. We were running into scheduling problems because things weren’t getting ordered in time, we weren’t getting our quotes in and out fast enough, or our purchase orders in and out fast enough. Also, things were needing to be reviewed. This all took time.
We saw we were losing money because we weren’t getting prices first. There were verbal agreements but there was always extras and that cost would eventually become more than the budget. That’s why we established the purchase order system, so it would work like a contract with the trades. But, writing our own POs took too long. In order to keep doing that we would have had to hire another three of four purchasing staff. So, that’s when I came in, I had sales and purchasing experience. And, we grew again and 75 or 100 homes per year, so we knew we would have to step up the purchasing once again.
Keeping track of everything you’re purchasing in a building a company is tough enough as it is. You have sites all over that you are supplying materials to. Other times, you are supplying labour and materials. So, trying to keep your costs in line against a project becomes very tough. When you have 15 people jumping from project to project, they are going into the shop and buying stuff for three different houses, potentially. But we have to apply those purchases to each house, to each budget. That is critical for us.
How did Procurify help? Was it with potential capital cost savings down the road? Or, with intangibles such as a reduction in admin time?
There has definitely been a reduction in admin time and an increase in ease of operation. The guys are now able to purchase on their own and they draw from a list of pre-authorized vendors. We have already set up the pricing with vendors, the price structure is settled and it is input in Procurify. Now, the guys just pick their project, pick their trade, pick the price, pick the square footage, send the PO and they’re off.
The guys really like using Procurify because it is so easy. Everything is there for them – all they have to do is push a button. They don’t have to write anything down, they don’t have to sit and type anything out and they don’t have to be worried about getting distracted while they are trying to write a PO.
Was there anything in particular about Procurify that most impressed you or helped you the most?
What helped me decide was the reviews and the research that I did on Procurify. Your company has landed some pretty big contracts, so that told me you had good financial support and will last into the future. The other major factor was that Procurify is a Canadian company. Procurify is based in British Columbia, which close to us, so if we ever needed anything or had a problem with service or system we could easily contact you.
That’s a big thing for us – we want service. And that is one of the things I have been very impressed with so far. Procurify doesn’t call it ‘customer service,’ you call it ‘customer success’ and that is exactly what we want.
Did reviews of Procurify also play a role in your decision?
You know, we had a company meeting where we decided we had to step up our purchasing somehow. That was either going to be hiring more people, or devise a system to allow everyone to purchase for their own project. One man can’t keep up with four construction managers bombarding him with orders and requests for prices. It was left to me to look for something.
Google is a great thing because you can simply ask it ‘what is the best procurement system out there?’ It will give you a lot of options but Procurify, in my opinion, was at the top of that list.
So, how will the company put those savings to work? What have those savings opened up for the company?
The main benefit we can pass on is savings to the customer. We can essentially build a house faster and at a lower cost because we don’t have as many administration fees. Scheduling, too, is very, very important in building a house because we rely on the schedule to get paid. We don’t get paid once the house is finished. We get paid as the house is being built. So, the faster we can get the POs out and the faster we can get the work done, the faster we get paid and the faster we can pay our trades and our suppliers.
How important is having remote access to Procurify for your company?
I think the critical factor for remote access is that sometimes you may get a trade that doesn’t read a plan properly or they lose their plan. To have that site control, to look at plans online without running back to your pickup or running back to your office really helps.
Before, the guys were phoning every 10 minutes asking for various contracts. Also, homeowners would change their contract and we would have to revise it, back it up, print and put it in their job book. Sometimes, the guys would see that and sometimes they wouldn’t. When you’re building 30 houses at once you just can’t remember everything about every job. That’s the great thing about technology, you are able to have all of this at your fingertips.
If you could distill your thoughts on adopting Procurify as your procurement/purchasing solution, what would it be? What would your elevator pitch be?
Keep it simple stupid. That’s a saying we always use. But that is what we are looking for. We need something that can program and pass it to the next guy. If we hire more construction managers we want to just pass on a tablet, show him the system and say ‘purchase something.’ We don’t want to have to explain it too much because we don’t have the time. Procurify is great because it has such an easy of use. You can pick what you want, throw it in the pile, send the mail and you don’t have to worry about it.