SCS benefits from real-time financial project information, accessible anytime and from anywhere.

SCS is a leading specialist subcontractor, focusing on the supply and installation of steel framing systems, insulated render, metal stud partitions, dry lining, suspended ceilings, acoustics and encasements. With typical contract values ranging from £50k to £10m, SCS is a progressive business with a strong management team who realised that the business’s internal processes weren’t keeping up with the cutting-edge services it delivered to its client.

“Chalkstring makes it easier to control costs, plan cash flow accurately and ensure each project delivers the targeted profit.”

Darren Friend, Joint CEO at SCS Group

SCS was struggling with historical, manual processes which hampered efficient working. It found that business-critical information was stored in multiple, unconnected spreadsheets making data hard to share, and sourcing up-to-date information on which to make confident business decisions was difficult. Having implemented Chalkstring, SCS now benefits from a single platform for managing costs from project inception to completion, which has led to increased workforce efficiency, more informed decision making, better cost control and increased margins.

Their challenge

  • Like many contractors, SCS was using manual processes for managing project costs. Time and resource pressures meant that important documents, such as orders, were being handwritten which made it time-consuming and onerous for the accounts team to reconcile deliveries and invoices.
  • The business lacked standardised processes for managing costs and it was hard to share up-to-date information because information was stored in multiple locations off and onsite. The management team therefore had little real-time visibility of whether a project would be delivered on time and on budget.
  • Project teams relied on multiple, unconnected spreadsheets which only the author understood, resulting in wasted time spent rekeying and duplicating information. And because the spreadsheets were so complex, it was easy to make mistakes. When a formula error led to a significant loss on a project, the management team was prompted to find a better cost management solution.

The solution

  • SCS sought a single, end-to-end solution that would enable its staff to manage project costs from estimating to completion, while providing the management team with complete visibility of each project’s performance at any stage.
  • The software had to be cloud based, as there was no appetite to buy new IT infrastructure or to recruit the technical expertise to maintain it.
  • The chosen solution needed to be simple to use, as IT literacy varied across the business and, in some cases, there was hesitancy towards digitising historically manual and trusted processes.
  • After market reasearch, SCS concluded that the existing solutions on the market only addressed specific aspects of a project. Many of the packages appeared complex, did not integrate with each other or needed installing and maintaining locally on SCS’s servers.
  • SCS chose to invest in Chalkstring, as it was the only product to offer the full end-to-end solution required.

The benefits

  • Chalkstring has provided SCS with one platform from which all financial aspects of a project can be managed centrally. This means the project team uses the same system to manage cost information and has the latest information at their fingertips, increasing efficiency and reducing the risk of errors.
  • SCS rolled out Chalkstring gradually, using it on new projects initially. It quickly became apparent that those Commercial Managers using Chalkstring worked faster and more efficiently. This meant that SCS could give them more projects to run simultaneously – essentially taking on more projects using the same resource.
  • The management team now has a 360° view of how each project is performing, meaning they can identify issues early on and take corrective action. This up-to-date information also means it is easier to control costs, plan cash flow accurately and ensure each project delivers the targeted profit.

“Chalkstring has enabled us to take on more projects using the same resource.”

Darren Friend, Joint CEO at SCS Group