Case Studies:

Project tracking and management for an Exhibitions company

The Client

An innovative / international full service exhibition stand design & build contactor, providing exhibition stands, both traditional and advanced virtual experiences, for many different clients & industries. 

The Requirement 

The client had an older version of Claris FileMaker which provided a simple project quote and tracking system for their delivery teams which was stand alone and not interfaced with any of the other functions within the business. This meant that processing orders and tracking builds required a large degree of manual input on multiple systems. This added complexity and delay when completing jobs, as any changes needed to be processed by the office. This could be a problem out of hours when much of the on-site work is carried out. Similarly, when finance reconcile jobs, delays occurred as they needed to source information from multiple systems and queries often arose. Progress of jobs was  not real time as access to the systems when on site was limited and therefore projects  needed updating once back in the office. This led to items often being missed and subsequently  given free of charge and there was only limited  visibility of the profitability of jobs. 

Compass Data were asked to develop the system to interface with their Sage 200 financial system and provide the functionality to replace the plethora of other systems being used for items such as expenses tracking and other ancillary cost capture. The system also needed to provide simplified job processing, improved visibility of costs and profitability. Finally there needed to be a general update of the system to modern standards.  

The Solution

Following a series of consultative meetings, a plan was agreed to review the current system and implement a series of improvements including recoding to modern standards and naming conventions. Once this was complete, we then added the API integration to Sage 200 and the new functionality to provide a single project quote and tracking tool. 

Now all aspects of the project can be completed from the tracking system. Quotes can be raised, and orders processed, with component ordering automated with only minimal input for custom elements. Deliveries and timescales can be arranged and tracked on the system and resources allocated by the project manager. During the build progress and costs, including expenses and incidental items purchased can be entered into the system and ordered as necessary. This gives the project manager and company management real-time visibility of progress, costs, margin and profitability. 

Originally the system catered for the traditional stand element of the business but as it was proven to be successful, the client added other aspects of their business to where we are today with the system covering all aspects of the business apart from their on-line web shop for clients. This is currently being added. 

The Result

Today, the client has greater visibility and control of their business through the system to the extent that ‘Our finance team can now reconcile the most complex of projects within a few months of completion rather than the 2 year it used to take’. 

For the build team, the system means that they can be much more reactive to changes in requirements during the build stage, and able to amend the scope and order new elements on the spot,. This greatly increases customer satisfaction.

This approach means that they can quickly adapt as necessary and their admin is easily managed through the single platform, saving time and reducing errors.  

From a management perspective, there is greater real time visibility on activities, margin and profitability. They can see which projects and teams are performing and which may need improvements / training. This has significantly improved decision making, accountability and general performance, resulting in business growth, increased margin and profitability.