Specialty electrical contractor Traffic & Lighting Systems, LLC, founded in 1982, completes turnkey roadway, bridge & waterway, traffic signal, streetscape, and sign lighting projects throughout Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas, with its 100 employees and three regional divisions.
Spreadsheets that Traffic & Lighting were using to manage estimating were cumbersome. They were limiting the ability to track costs with precision and forced estimators to basically start from scratch with each bid, according to President Larry Butler.
The ability to standardize cost structures was also a big impetus for the move away from spreadsheets. Traffic & Lighting Systems spent close to a year assessing software options before narrowing their choice.
Specialty electrical contractors often choose software designed for their niche or go with a general, non-enterprise-class solution to address these issues, but Butler says opting for an enterprise-class platform geared toward heavy construction instead was purposeful.
“We do 80+ percent of our work as a subcontractor for highway and bridge construction companies. Compatibility with what they use made sense. On the estimating side, it really helps us with the unit price bidding that accounts for the majority of our work,” said Butler.
Traffic & Lighting Systems implemented B2W Software’s Estimate, Track and Maintain solutions as part of the B2W ONE Platform at the same time they implemented a Spectrum accounting system. Butler knew that would be a lot to take on, especially for a company with three geographical divisions and management teams, but he felt the value of moving to a unified system all at once outweighed the challenges.
Costs and revenue items are now imported weekly from B2W Estimate, Track and Maintain, and the merits of a unified system are clear. “The process is seamless” according to Butler. “There is no inefficient, duplicate data entry and all the chances for errors that go along with that.”
“The difference between B2W Estimate and Excel is night and day,” Butler said. “The B2W ONE Platform was a differentiator,” according to Butler. “Everything integrated more fluidly. B2W Estimate was also more user friendly. That made adding B2W Track and B2W Maintain a slam dunk for a cohesive platform.”
Now, one estimator accomplishes what it took two people to do before. The company also breaks down and tracks costs to phase codes, cost groups, and tasks rather than only to the overall job. “We’re also much more agile when it comes to last-minute adjustments and global edits, which we just couldn’t do with Excel,” Butler added.
He credits B2W Software with making the process as smooth and seamless as possible and says the training combined with the logic and user-friendly nature of the software led to fast acceptance among employees. “If B2W has a hall of fame for implementation and training, the group we worked with should be inducted right away,” he said.
“A lot of companies send senior executives to try to finalize a sale, but the experience was different with B2W Software,” Butler recalled. “Their partnership approach was authentic, and they weren’t just selling us a product. We like that the CEO knows us on a first name basis, the B2W team has a genuine stake in our success, and we have a strong influence on product development.”