On Line Design & Engineering are a 250-strong consultancy offering front-end engineering design, engineering, procurement and construction management to the petro-chemical, oil & gas, pharmaceutical and general engineering industries.
Steve Laird, Finance Director, talked to us about visibility, invoicing, finding information, and having a system that large clients respect because they demand periodic audits.
“If Synergist was hypothetically taken away from us, we’d have to go with a fully-fledged ERP system. That would cost us a lot more, and bring various headaches including complexity and a lack of flexibility. Believe me, I would never look at another system.”
On Line carries out a mixture of jobs, some of which are reimbursable and some of which are done on a fixed fee basis. In the early days of the business with a small number of personnel, they found it relatively easy to keep paper copies and timesheets and use these as backup for time charges to clients. It was also easy to keep control of a small number of fixed fee projects.
Steve Laird, Finance Director, comments; “The best thing about Synergist is the visibility it brings. It shows where the costs are, where the profits are on individual projects, and where the losses are – all giving you time to do something about it.
Says Jeff Laird: “We’ve found the service we have had from Synergist and Magnifeye [part of The Agency Works team] has been excellent right from the original bid stage, through implementation, training and back up support.”
Jeff Laird commented; “We quickly discovered that the system had more useful functions than we thought we had required.”
Says Steve Laird: “While with Synergist, we’ve grown from a £12m-£13m company to one that is about three times that size. Synergist has played a part in that.”
“Synergist makes a huge difference.”
“With a lot of other systems it’s not always easy to find the information you want, and they are not easy to learn. With Synergist you can hit the ground running.”
“Synergist is reliable. We’ve been running it for over 10 years, and I don’t think you can break it.”
“Clients increasingly want fixed price work. They’re under pressure themselves, so they want to fix their costs, and some of those jobs are very large so you have to be able to really rely on your system to get it right.
“Synergist gives us the visibility of projects that we need. It gives us efficiencies. It reduces costs on jobs. And it gives us control. In a one-word summary, I would say it delivers Visibility.”
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