When Martin Gamble took over as CEO and Managing Director of Gamcorp, a structural engineering consultancy based in Melbourne, Australia, he noticed a problem right away. Even though the company had been successful for over four decades in two of the largest cities in Australia, the business wasn’t growing anymore.
He tried to open an avenue to growth by making changes to his team, clients and processes for two years, but finally realized his profit problem was derived from an imbalance in utilization. Even though the staff was putting in plenty of hours, it turned out that only 35% of them were billable.
Martin had a hunch: If he could streamline operations, he could free up Gamcorp's team of talented consultants to focus on clients and allow management to invest its time in growth.
So, where was all his employees’ time going?
Much of it was wasted updating disjointed systems. It was a lot of work to keep up with one tool helping them log time and manage tasks, another housing client data and yet another managing accounting and invoicing, plus lots of independent spreadsheets and reports.
This chaos left Martin and his executives without the means to answer critical questions about whether Gamcorp was on time, on budget or profitable.
“Things plateaued for us. We found it difficult to keep up with the work,” he explains. “I knew we had enough people on the team, but we couldn’t get the efficiency we needed.”
Martin knew he couldn’t be the first person in the consulting business to have this kind of dilemma, so, in 2013, he went looking for a platform built for professional services firms like his.
After reaching out to other business owners for suggestions, Martin came across Accelo, recognized its potential and decided to give it a try.
Gamcorp finally had a smart and structured system in place so that all the right touchpoints happen at precisely the right time in each stage of the client relationship.
That doesn’t mean it was easy to get the entire team to change how they worked. Martin says the team had to break some bad habits, including turning to email to find out things that were already visible in Accelo.
“Everything flows automatically,” Martin says. “It’s the next step up in terms of efficiency.”
A few months after implementing Accelo, the results exceeded Martin's wildest expectations: Gamcorp boosted its utilization rate from 35% to 85% — a 143% increase.
Luckily, the shift to more profitable time usage wasn’t a one-time gain. Nine years later, they consistently reach 85-90% utilization.
This jump is thanks to a number of time-saving features in Accelo. Martin cites billing as one area in which the team has seen obvious improvements in efficiency because of the ability to create and send invoices in bulk.
“We used to spend a whole day every week invoicing our customers. With Accelo, the same task now takes us about five to 10 minutes.”
Setting up triggers has minimized the room for error and the number of times an invoice gets sent back or questioned by a customer. “We don’t miss things now,” Martin says.
“We don’t have issues anymore where we get jobs created and invoices sent out and then the client says, ‘Where’s the P.O. number?’”
Gamcorp recently weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and the Great Resignation with very little damage to its bottom line, now completing more work — 120 to 150 projects per month — despite having lost a few employees. The business has also expanded its offerings to include renewable energy solutions, including solar power.
They wouldn’t have been able to do it without Accelo’s adaptive scheduling and clear team availability forecasting. A Gamcorp customer who makes a request now gets a realistic estimate of how long it will take to resolve their issue.
These day-to-day differences contribute to the most impactful outcome: Martin no longer feels out of control of his business’s future.
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Knowing where his business stands is simply part of his routine. In just a few minutes on a Monday morning, he can review the reports generated by Accelo and feel confident about leading his team through the week.
We’ve been able to make better business decisions because of the quality of the data we’ve got. Everything’s being captured. We know that the time information, the budget information and the profit per job are all very accurate now.
Martin Gamble, CEO and Managing Director
Gamcorp’s relationship with Accelo has withstood the test of time because of the relationship factor. Martin is an active member of the Accelo Community and feels fully supported by the Customer Success team. He sings Accelo’s praises: “I really feel like we get listened to. With other service providers, you sort of just get what you’re given.”
Want to achieve the same level of control as Martin? Learn about Accelo's potential for engineering firms.