Caulmert Engineering, Environmental and Planning Consultancy

The Client

Sage Coretime Case Study - CaulmertCaulmert is an Engineering, Environmental and Planning Consultancy with ambitious growth plans. The company was founded in 2008 and started trading in 2009 from their head office based in North Wales with 3 employees. Now in their 5th year of trading, with a further two regional offices located in Derbyshire and Cheshire, their business has evolved and diversified and now employs 24 full time staff.  From its original client base which was primarily in the waste management industry, they have since undertaken a wide variety of projects in many other sectors notably commercial, education, healthcare, industrial, leisure and re-generation. Future plans will see further growth to establish themselves in the market as a fully multi-disciplinary Engineering, Environmental and Planning consultancy.

The Problem

Donna Milne, Finance Director for Caulmert explains, “When we first started the business, we agreed on a vision of where we wanted to be in 15 years’ time. We then needed to decide on a strategy to help us achieve that vision. Part of that strategy was to ensure that we had a robust time management system in place which could cope with our growth aspirations. As the company continued to grow it soon became evident, as predicted, that we couldn’t rely on using spreadsheets to manage our time and projects.  We were very exposed and the potential for generating incorrect time management data was high. Manual collation of spreadsheets was also very time-consuming. We were could see the potential for lost revenue on occasions where we were under-billing on projects because costs had not been allocated to a client.”
Donna continues, “We needed a timesheet system which was easy to access by employees either in or out of the office, quick and easy to use and would give us a clear picture of business performance at any point in time.”

The Solution

“When we found Coretime, we could immediately see how it could enhance the management and performance of our business. We trialled it and spoke to other businesses already using the system which gave us confidence. We could see that Sage Coretime would grow with us and help us achieve our growth plans.  Once implemented the effect on our business were immediate. Management efficiency improved and for the first time we had real time data for monitoring our performance.”
Sage Coretime is now used by 26 users across the Caulmert business and like many other Sage Coretime clients they have integrated with Sage Accounts which removed another layer of double-entry of data which is common within businesses of this nature.
Users at Caulmert are very happy with the software Donna comments, “New users take the system on board very quickly and training requirements are minimal for every-day use. We manage any training in-house and build up users’ knowledge on a phased basis. It is so user-friendly that it appeals to everyone and it really works well for us.”
Donna explains how they use the system, “We have adapted our internal systems to work alongside Coretime. All proposals are allocated a project number at the enquiry stage and credit checks are carried out immediately on all new clients. Allocating a project number from the outset ensures that all related costs are allocated promptly and the project is visible at every stage.”
Coretime gives time-based businesses much greater control of their projects and staff. It allows tracking of time on either fixed fee or hourly rate projects so that budgets can be set up and allocated across different phases of the project as required. Charge out rates can vary depending on the project requirements and where subcontract staff are used, they can be added as temporary users of the system as required. Employee access rights and expense limits as well as timesheet approval can all be managed easily within Coretime.  
Coretime builds up a valuable history of project data which can be analysed and used for forecasting. Donna explains, “We use Coretime project history to help cost projects for new and existing clients. We can see where variations against budget have occurred and where additional work has been required. That helps us factor in extra activities on future projects to ensure we provide more accurate budgets for projects.”
As Caulmert has expanded they have increasingly won larger and more complex projects and Donna describes how Coretime has helped them, “Larger projects need to be well managed to ensure we keep on track with budgets. We need to be in full control of costs. The simplicity of Coretime means we can allocate resources and budgets then monitor staff time and expenses much more effectively. We also use Sage Coretime to assist with monitoring of cash flow and financial forecasting.”

Outcome

The benefits of Coretime are very clear to Caulmert. Donna says, “With staff based at different office locations and sometimes different parts of the world, having Coretime has brought us all together using one easily accessible web based system. It allows us to manage many small projects as well as those large and complex projects over extended time periods. It’s responsive, quick and effective and gives us great project visibility. It has made us more efficient in many different ways as a business. “
Mike Caulfield, Managing Director adds, “When you are trying to grow a business, time can soon run away from you. When we implemented Coretime, there was a clear transition from previously spending a lot of time administering spreadsheets and then still not being able to see information clearly. Now we have immediate visibility on the performance of individual projects and our business as a whole. Coretime operates well within our quality management system and has greatly assisted the business in achieving our ISO 9001 accreditation. We are confident that Coretime will continue to assist us in achieving our vision and our growth aspirations!”