Case Study: Global Risk Consultants
Global Risk Consultants is a full-service, risk-control consulting firm. With offices around the world, the company maintains a global network of more than 200 risk control engineers and consultants. For 35 years, GRC has provided fire protection engineering services, from testing fire sprinkler systems or analyzing building plans and construction work to inspecting boilers and pressure vessels to see if they are up to code. The company also does thermographic surveys to look for “hot spots” or potential sources of fire in a structure.
Unlike other companies offering similar services, GRC offers its services “unbundled,” choosing to tailor each project to a client’s needs rather than providing a single packaged service offering.
With more than 200 engineers and consultants working on projects around the world, scheduling jobs assignments, tracking employee hours, billing clients and determining the company’s staff utilization and profitability were daunting tasks.
GRC had several independent database solutions that tracked each of these elements, but...
When the company was asked to conduct a risk survey at a client site, the assignment would first go into a scheduling system to do the survey. Then, the engineers would enter their time into a separate system. Neither system was linked to the accounting system to make sure the client was billed appropriately.
“To generate a bill, we had to go to these separate sources and match data," said McGowan. “It could take a week to get information, then it was still suspect.” What the company needed, said McGowan, was a system that could link their disparate systems without disrupting the ongoing operations of the company or requiring them to replace their legacy systems.
The Solution: myDBA
In mid-2001, while working with GOC on another project, Global Risk Consultants approached GOC to see if they could help. GOC recommended myDBA, its own reporting system, because it could be easily modified to take on this task.
Less than a year later, the system was introduced, department by department, throughout GRC. Almost immediately, users saw an increase in speed, efficiency and accuracy. Not only did myDBA fulfill its original objective of unifying data with on-demand reporting, it became the driver of increased productivity throughout the company.
GRC’s internal reporting systems were also quite difficult to use, even after training, according to Christina Salmanowitz, Project Leader of the Resource Department at GRC. However, myDBA offers much greater ease of use.
And, as a geographically dispersed company, with staff all over the world, collecting data to and from field personnel and managers was a complex task that sometimes resulted in less than accurate information.
myDBA has helped us to enhance getting data to our managers and field personnel in a much faster and more detailed report than ever before,” said Sherry Poloha, B&M Administrative Assistant. “We now have the ability to combine programs into one report easily and efficiently. This helps managers assess the information for future quotes with clients, manage engineers’ time and expenses on a regular basis and maintain a more accurate account of our inspections and time allocated to them.”
“It’s made us all more efficient,” said Semel. “We have more comfort and confidence in the numbers. And it allows management to manage better because we’re able to provide them with better tools.”
Since implementing myDBA, GRC has seen a significant change in its operations and profitability.
“For the first time, we can continue with independent systems, but pull together critical data,” said McGowan. “The online functionality allows field staff to manage their time, expenses and budgets in real time.”
To date, the company has seen at least a 20 percent increase in overall operational efficiency, and field managers are up to 15 percent more efficient simply because they’re not spending time trying to manually coordinate data from different systems.
“You get so much data so quickly; we never had the luxury of having so much data at your fingertips,” said McGowan. “There’s more and better information; we now have the ‘good’ problem of determining who should have access to this information. So, we’re creating security and access rights and issuing layers of access rather than allowing 100 percent full access to everything.”
myDBA allows GRC to also assess its client accounts and determine profitability by checking variances between quoted and actual costs. As a result, the company is better able to predict the true cost of its products and services and estimate appropriately.
“With the ability to produce custom, flexible reports at any time, we have eliminated any future development of reporting from all of our internal systems. This relieves the burden from our programming staff to concentrate their time on new projects. Your average administrator can take control and produce custom reports with minimal training and without the support of your internal IT staff,” said Kidney.
Finally, data credibility, an issue with the old system, is no longer a worry. myDBA’s real-time reporting and analysis ensures time and cost errors won’t slip through the system.
“Working with GOC has been one of the best experiences working with an outside vendor,” said McGowan. “The staff is truly hands-on. They learned our business and probably know our systems better than our IT guys. Their effort and experience make all the difference.”