RM Surveys is an established licensed-surveyors company that delivers end-to-end survey solutions for commercial, resource and residential industries. They act as the conduit between digital and physical data, supporting architects and engineers to navigate an ever-evolving digital environment.
As part of its own ongoing development, RM Surveys realised it needed to embrace a more functional ERP solution that would help its expert team to leverage all the possibilities of cloud-based operations. With the right platform integration, the organisation has diversified its offering well beyond the core services and almost doubled its staff to meet growing demand.
RM Surveys’ existing ERP solution reached its end of life at the same time as the business was experiencing growing pains. Senior management knew their next platform would need to function in the cloud and allow for more holistic operations. However, RM Surveys had a number of unique challenges that the ERP solution needed to solve.
Manual, inefficient invoicing
Arguably the most glaring inefficiency was having no capability to generate bulk invoices. That meant the team had no way to automate and generate invoices with its existing software. And at a time when their customer base was growing and their service offering was diversifying (i.e. more sales) it had the potential to create major backlogs.
Previously, these activities were conducted through RM Surveys’ original ERP software. Staff would create jobs and send invoices, but everything had to be generated manually. Continuing that trend would lead to even greater time and cost inefficiencies.
Payroll & Finance Slow Down
Beyond bulk invoice generation, payroll was another big challenge. Using a simple disparate data spreadsheets was the norm, but this led to errors and version-control issues as staff numbers increased – even something like normal pay cycles becoming increasingly unsustainable.
Sales management gaps
Sales management also lived in Excel spreadsheets. The process itself was technically digitised, but tracking capabilities were rudimentary and overseeing the sales pipeline was clunky and inefficient. There was also a lack of visibility over potential orders coming up, as well as which jobs and sales orders were currently on the books and what still needed to be done to complete them.
With no refined process across sales management, RM Surveys was essentially leaving money on the table.
Taking project management to the next level
RM Surveys’ legacy methodology of managing projects was no longer optimal. So one of the key focuses for the business was to partner with a technology solutions provider like Wild Tech in order to design an entirely modernised service delivery structure.
Previously, the team would create quotes as multiple line items in an Excel spreadsheet. For example, site establishment would be one item, and then another several dozen services would each have their own line. Ultimately, a single quote could amount to 100 or more different line items.
Part of RM Surveys’ goal for its new sales process was to develop different sales items to quote from – this would allow the team to effectively segment exact service areas and forecast for future staffing needs. This would be a fundamental shift for the business to wrap its head around, but with a well-considered implementation it would ensure all employees could adapt to a new way of working and immediately reap the time and cost benefits.
Despite having a working, albeit outdated, ERP solution for a decade until it reached its end of life, RM Surveys kept a keen eye on what would be the ideal solution to replace it. NetSuite had been shortlisted alongside a few other options for a number of years, but it wasn’t until they found an experienced partner in Wild Tech that they were able to align the right product (NetSuite) with their specific operational needs.
RM Surveys’ rollout was conducted across two phases. In Phase 1, Wild Tech helped the company design the ideal solution for implementation. Payroll was the ‘tester’, and following a successful deployment the next task was project solution. Once that was up and running, Phase 2 could begin in earnest.
During this process, the team had to develop an entirely new system – that meant building out a new list of service items, changing billing types (which ultimately evolved from charge-based billing to time- and materials-fixed billing), and overhauling elements of payroll.
Sales management process which could now be siloed as its own business process. Done through excel previously, before now integrating via NetSuite to bring the functions together.
Getting buy-in from the ground up
With such a tremendous shift in how many employees carried out their tasks – especially back-office and administrative staff – good communication was essential from the outset. Supported by Wild Tech’s clear strategy and the culture of change management they brought to the project, RM Surveys were able to get buy-in across the board, both internally and outside of standard operations.
Staff members with the right skill sets were chosen to be the ‘boots on the ground’ to help with initial rounds of training as well as ongoing documented procedures and videos. A positive feedback loop was also extremely beneficial for key learnings, with team members able to test the new systems and come back with any issues or tweaks that would help them do their jobs better.
“The guidance from Wild Tech was great,” says Kyle Downes, Director at RM Surveys. “They set us up with weekly meetings and a ticket system, which worked well. We also had a chat channel made available, which helped with all the timely, in-the-moment queries to ensure our business kept moving quickly. We didn’t lose time despite the transition – speed and momentum were always promoted.”
The outcomes of RM Surveys’ shift to NetSuite has made a positive impact on all parts of the business. Whereas weekly payroll previously took 2.5 days to complete, now it’s taken care of within three-quarters of a day. This is despite having almost doubled our team.
More team members mean more sales. The new invoicing system has also generated more efficiencies. Even though the team aren’t using full bulk-invoicing generation at the moment, they are still processing almost x2 the previous number of sales invoices. Best of all, the new system has capacity to handle more sales than ever before while minimising the need for additional staff.
Looking to the future
RM Surveys aren’t done yet. Next, management has its sights set on streamlining the sales management process, which will start by looking at the pipeline and assessing its resourcing needs.
“Over the next 12 months, we’ll be looking at digitising our resourcing and logistics,” says Kyle Downes. “For example, the process of allocating survey crews to job sites will move to the cloud and continue that transition of making our operations more cloud-based. We also have growth ambitions. While we retain a firm focus on the market in Western Australia, we may eventually expand into the East Coast.”
The NetSuite implementation arrived at the ideal time for RM Surveys, which has eliminated many time-consuming and error-prone manual processes and replaced them with cloud-based operations.
Saving time, money and ensuring clearer lines of communication between staff and clients, RM Surveys can approach any future growth with a positive mindset and the knowledge that NetSuite’s range of services will continue to help digitise their service offering.