An interview with Ryan Latchford, CFO at ADG Engineers
ADG Engineers combines decades of experience with the latest engineering disciplines, advanced digital offerings and advisory services to deliver truly outstanding projects such as Sydney’s award-winning AMP Quay Quarter. Founded in 2002, the firm has grown to more than 250 experts across 11 practices in Australia.
ADG Engineers approached Deltek partner Smartsoftware to transform its project management and help empower growth with an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution. We spoke to Ryan Latchford, CFO at ADG Engineers, to learn why they chose Deltek Vantagepoint.
Evolving Systems to Meet Everyone’s Needs
People have always been at the heart of ADG’s business. “We’re proud to be an employee-owned company and one that’s led by our core principle of design with purpose,” says Ryan. “We’re constantly motivated to support each other, and my first mission after joining ADG was to find an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system that’s future-proof and purpose-built for the business. At any point in time, we've got about 800 live projects, ranging from a $3,000 engagement to $5 million, so we needed something that could cope with both ends of the spectrum.”
Systemic change can profoundly affect all areas of the business, so it’s essential to balance the needs of stakeholders. For an engineering and advisory firm like ADG, that doesn’t just mean its employees; it means clients who demand quality project outcomes and value for money, whilst also meeting the sustainability needs of the community.
“I was aware that I wasn't just rolling out an accounting and finance platform,” says Ryan. “It was something to help our people run their projects more efficiently and get more data to inform future business decisions. So, I talked to the board, the operations teams, and especially our project managers responsible for delivering project outcomes for clients.”
Understanding everyone’s needs meant Ryan could find a project-based ERP solution that was right for ADG Engineers now – and that would continue to support the business for years to come.
Ryan explains: “I wanted a partner who’d listen to what we had to say and come on that journey with us – and Deltek was very receptive to that. Since working with Smartsoftware to acquire and implement Deltek Vantagepoint, we’ve consolidated different platforms into the system, which speaks to the software's flexibility.”
Automating Processes to Streamline the Business
Switching from long-established, manual processes can be a big step for any organization. But for ADG, any potential disruption was offset by immediate impacts on the quality and speed of reporting.
“Before Vantagepoint, we had a lot of spreadsheets in the business, and our reporting was manual and time-consuming,” remembers Ryan. “But, since partnering with Deltek, we've been able to automate these processes.”
And the interactive dashboards allow users to manage data from various sources and present it on a single page – a feature ADG has taken full advantage of. As Ryan explains, “The Deltek Vantagepoint dashboards give us live data and feedback on how the business is performing, how teams are performing, even how we're performing for certain clients.”
And ADG is using that data to inform business decisions. “Deltek's reporting and analytics give us the data we need daily,” says Ryan. “It’s readily accessible across multiple platforms, whether tablet, phone, or computer, which enables us to make quality decisions.”
Better Visibility to Manage Resources
No two engineering projects are the same, and complex projects can take years to complete. So being able to forecast resources is essential for firms like ADG so they can get the right people in the right place – exactly when they’re needed.
“There's functionality within Vantagepoint,” says Ryan. “Which enables us to know what resources are available and when. And, because we're starting to track qualifications and previous work experience, we now know exactly what jobs each person's worked on and how many years they've been working on those projects.”
Having that deeper level of understanding means that ADG’s project managers can be sure that they’ve paired the right people with the more challenging projects – and that those resourcing decisions are visible.
“For example, a recent project that we've just launched out of Perth is pulling resources from other offices. So, allowing that project manager to resource those people into a plan, track the hours that they were forecasted versus the hours they're actually working on it, and then track that against deliverables has increased transparency of how the project is performing.”
“The Deltek Vantagepoint dashboards give us live data and feedback on how the business is performing, how teams are performing, even how we're performing for certain clients.”
– Ryan Latchford, CFO, ADG Engineers
Building for The Future Part Is the Culture
Understandably, ADG’s focus so far has been on embedding its ERP system and getting the basics right. But, this year, the team aims to use Vantagepoint to help develop its people and ensure they're getting the training and mentoring required to make them better professionals.
As Ryan explains, that’s something that aligns with the firm’s culture as well as its business goals. “When we ask staff how they feel about ADG Engineers and their connection to the business, they say how nice it is to be able to point out buildings and structures that are having a lasting impact on the community and say we played a part in a place that people get to enjoy for years to come.”
How to Get the Most from Your ERP: Three Tips from ADG Engineers
When asked what advice he would give other A&E firms looking to implement a project ERP solution, Ryan gave us his three top tips.
1. Find a Partner Who’ll Listen
Even if you're a 250-person business, you can’t do everything. So, for ADG, partnerships are critical. “If we’re looking for a software partner, we want someone who will listen to us and what we need from that product – and incorporate it into future releases,” says Ryan.
2. Complex Projects Need the Right Resources
No two A&E projects are the same, but the right ERP can ensure they’re always resourced appropriately. “We know exactly what jobs each employee worked on and how many years they've worked on those projects,” says Ryan. “So, we can choose the right person for our more challenging projects.”
3. More Accessible Data Drives Better Decision Making
When the data you need daily is readily accessible across multiple platforms, whether tablet, phone, or computer, it can help your firm’s leaders make more informed decisions. “I would say 80% of my board reporting is done off a dashboard,” explains Ryan. “It's live, accessible and presented in a format that our users find easy to digest.”
Deltek Vantagepoint Puts Your Projects at the Center of Your Business
For ADG Engineers, project success drives business success. Designed with A&E firms like ADG in mind, Deltek Vantagepoint provides 360-degree visibility – helping users to maximize productivity, boost collaboration, improve efficiency and increase the profitability of projects.
Maximise Productivity, Boost Collaboration; Increase Profitability
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About ADG Engineers
ADG Engineers (Aust) Pty Ltd was founded in 2002 and has evolved into a team of 250+ experts across eleven practices in Australia. As a proud employee-owned company that continues to be led by its founding partners, ADG combines decades of multi-sector experience with a diverse range of established and emerging engineering disciplines, advanced digital offerings and advisory services to deliver truly outstanding projects.
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