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Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate Case Study

Century Mechanical Contractors

Texas HVAC, plumbing, and geothermal contractor uses Sage 300 CRE to build efficiency and profitability.

Results With Sage 300 CRE:

Long-term company growth topping 500%

Payroll completed in 25% of the time

Tax reporting done in 10% of the time

Century Mechanical Contractors has been building north Texas for five decades. They started as a commercial HVAC and plumbing contractor for public building clients like schools, churches and hospitals.

As their customers grew, Century grew too. They became certified experts at piping medical gas – mastered water treatment, acid waste and high purity plumbing – and expanded into geothermal HVAC systems that can reduce energy consumption by as much as 70%.

Today, Century Mechanical has a robust mix of both public and private industrial clients. With multiple channels for expansion and a smart strategy to provide unique and comprehensive services, Century has grown from a small, 30-person company into a $50+ million powerhouse employing more than 150 people.

Century’s Building Plan

Diane Mills, the Secretary/Treasurer for Century Mechanical, has steered the company’s growth financially for 3 decades. When she started, all payroll and financial data was entered by hand. Yes, people actually calculated every number manually. She remembers how big a deal it was to start using computers. When she first evaluated the emerging construction software products available, she chose Timberline, the precursor to Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, because, “The job cost program was superior at the time. It integrated into our payroll, directing into our GL and all the reporting.”

Job Costing Still Paramount

Mills credits those same capabilities for her current loyalty – and job costing is still her favorite module. She and other Century managers appreciate the detail they can access. What was bought? Which vendor supplied it? Who ordered it? Did we rent anything we already had? Is there a P.O.? “I can break it down for every job. I know that it processes through from Payroll, General Ledger, Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable. It’s all integrated through the job cost program and we can get every detail we need out of that.”

Integrating AR, Expanding Knowledge

When the industrial division took off, taxation became a major new complication. Century had always worked for nonprofits – schools and hospitals that were exempt from taxes. Suddenly Century faced a huge new challenge: How to calculate and report taxes and keep those funds separate from the job costs. Again, Mills turned to Sage, adding the AR module to the 300 Construction and Real Estate program that had become her go-to resource. Because of its similar functionality and easy integration, there was hardly any learning curve and Century saw results right away.

“I really appreciate the reporting I can get out of Accounts Receivable – for taxation – and just for vendors. We can now more readily get information about every customer that we have.”

Diane Mills
Secretary/Treasurer, Century Mechanical Contractors

Customized Reports, Personalized Insight

Mills regularly uses Report Designer and Inquiry Designer to inform her analyses. She cites the over billing and under billing capabilities of the Work in Progress report as vital to her incomplete work tracking. But that’s not her favorite option. “Inquiry Designer is tremendous. It’s Report Designer with a kick.” Mills says the secret is two-fold: Understanding and using every field and an easy integration with Excel that lets her format data further. “You really do have to have a little more knowledge to use this program but that’s because it can do so much.”

Always Learning

All new Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate users at Century complete online training. According to Mills, they pick it up right away and often come back with shortcuts and tips she didn’t know. “They’ve been teaching me, which is great to have that information flow.” Century is also a regular and satisfied user of the Knowledge Base and the digital answers found there. But when it comes right down to it, Mills admits, “I’m still a pick-up-the- phone-and-call person.” So Sage Customer Service “always gets top stars in my book.”

Better Time Management, Better Information Flow

Since Century implemented Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, they’ve saved hundreds of hours of labor. Plus, Mills adds, “The information flow is 100% more even than it was a year ago.”

  1. Weekly payroll has gone from 8-10 hours to 2-hours. That’s a 75% reduction in labor even as the number of employees increases.
  2. Tax Reporting only takes 10% of the time it used to take, cut from two weeks to a single day, even as the number, size and complexity of jobs continues to grow.
  3. Errors, which sometimes took days just to identify, are now found and corrected in minutes.