We haven't missed a single deadline since rolling out QuickBase.
As ProPoint Graphics's business took off, the company needed a way to centralize its production, customer, and sales information. QuickBase gave ProPoint a cost-effective way to integrate key data and increase visibility and planning. The result was a huge increase in staff productivity and higher customer satisfaction.
When it came to creating PowerPoint and Flash presentations for its growing customer base, ProPoint Graphics was on fire. The company launched in 2002, and by 2007 it had thousands of clients relying upon its expertise to produce high-quality business PowerPoint and Flash presentations quickly, professionally and reliably.
But with ProPoint Graphics' rapid growth came a daunting challenge: its use of Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to manage sales, project and customer data was putting projects at risk and making it difficult for the company to grow.
"The [Excel] system worked well for the first couple of years of business, but it soon became very difficult too time-consuming and laborious," said Daniel Pries, ProPoint Graphics' founder and principal.
Sales, project management and account data could not be updated in an automated way. Instead, data had to be manually updated and synchronized a process that was timeconsuming and unreliable. With no user-level controls, data was not secure; everyone had access to all the data.
"We needed people to have access simultaneous access to customer records, and we couldn't do it," commented Pries. "People in sales needed to see pricing but couldn't hide it from people who shouldn't see pricing."
As a result of this limited functionality, jobs were at a higher risk of falling behind schedule, project profitability was below target, job quality was impacted, deadlines were missed and company growth was impaired.
"We had reached our limit in terms of the number of projects we could handle. Even though we had people to do the work, our infrastructure wasn't able to handle the volume," explained Pries.
ProPoint Graphics was already using QuickBooks for accounting, so the move to QuickBase workgroup application software was an easy choice, especially after Pries researched the product online and compared its functionality to other solutions.
"Surprisingly, QuickBase was the only product that offered the integrated functionality that we needed in one nice package. It had all the features of a much larger system but was priced affordably for smaller-sized business," said Pries, when asked why ProPoint Graphics selected QuickBase over ACT! and Salesforce.com.
With QuickBase, customer and prospect communications including phone calls, voice mail and e-mail are logged for easy reference by sales staff. Automated follow-up reminders are generated, dramatically improving the sales staff's ability to cultivate leads and nurture existing client relationships.
Jobs flow smoothly through production now that employees have real-time, simultaneous access to project data. QuickBase reports offer clear, up-to-date assessments of job progress, and automated flags are generated when tasks fall behind schedule.
"At any given time, we have 100 to 150 open projects. For a company of our size, that's a lot to manage. QuickBase keeps us on task."
Resource allocation has improved. ProPoint Graphics uses QuickBase to assign projects to employees based on real-time data pulled from time-card reports. According to Pries, "We know what capacity each individual has, we know what people are working on, we know when it's due and we know how many hours are left on each of their projects."
Finally, QuickBase gives ProPoint Graphics the control it needs to satisfy privacy requirements for employee and customer data. Now pricing and salary information is readily accessible to only the users who have authorized access.
In the two years since transitioning from spreadsheets to QuickBase, ProPoint Graphics has developed a technology infrastructure that can keep pace with the growth of its business and can ensure future profitability. QuickBase is integral to the successful operation of the business.
"QuickBase truly has become the system we use for all our enterprise resource planning. It really does everything that we need for it to do," said Pries.
Tasks that were once manual have been automated in QuickBase, dramatically improving staff productivity. Pries estimates that unproductive staff time has been cut by one-third and that ProPoint has gained approximately $100,000 in new billable time.
With centralized staff access to project data, missed deadlines are a thing of the past. "We haven't missed a deadline since we have started using [QuickBase]," said Pries.
And with improved resource allocation capabilities, project volume has increased. "Before QuickBase, we were struggling with managing 30 to 40 open projects. Now we are easily managing four times that," he continued.
"Before QuickBase, we were struggling with managing 30 to 40 open projects. Now we are easily managing four times that."
"QuickBase is just what we needed to grow our company without stressing our resources. We couldn't have made a better choice," reflected Pries.