How SSMC is Driving Business Success with Technology Innovation

February 25, 2021

Southeastern Surveying and Mapping Corporation (SSMC) is an independent, employee-owned surveying and mapping, subsurface utility engineering (SUE), and geographic information systems (GIS) professional services firm. Founded in Orlando in 1972, SSMC has grown to be Florida’s largest surveying firm and is a leader in responsiveness and service excellence. At the forefront of technology, SSMC uses state of the art equipment, leading-edge software, and cutting-edge processes to drive results. With more than 200 employees in eight locations, SSMC averages more than 2,000 projects a year. The project photo featured above is from the Star Wars expansion project at a Florida theme park.

Deltek is excited to celebrate the thousands of engineering firms we serve across the globe during Engineers Week, February 21-27. These essential businesses have rapidly mobilized their teams and transformed their firms through process improvement and technology innovation.

One of these firms, Southeastern Surveying and Mapping Corporation (SSMC), shared their lessons learned when making the switch to Deltek Vantagepoint Enterprise Resource Management (ERP). Learn how Deltek Vantagepoint is helping this leading-edge firm modernize their processes, drive business success, and improve profitability.

The Path to ERP Modernization

Southeastern Surveying and Mapping Corporation (SSMC) has completed more than 80,000 projects since the firm’s inception in 1972. With an average of 2,000 projects a year, and an ongoing need to access project files after completion, that’s a lot of paper to organize and file.

When Rebecca Bess, Contracts and Risk Manager, joined the company eight years ago, she discovered that every aspect of their contracts management process relied on maintaining paper files. Eventually she asked, “Why do we store all this paper?” This resulted in the creation of a digital document management strategy and evaluation of the systems. It was clearly time for this innovative engineering firm to modernize their business processes, moving away from a paper-based system to digital modernization.

For years SSMC used Microsoft™ FoxPro, Excel spreadsheets, and Navision™ 2013 to manage their business. In an attempt to modernize the firm’s business operations, SSMC moved to Microsoft Dynamics Navision. “The solution required a number of customizations which resulted in a significant amount of time and money spent,” said Brian Garvey, Vice President. “And unfortunately, once the product was live, we ended up with an ERP that was as antiquated as what we had started with.”

After a rigorous search, SSMC chose Deltek Vantagepoint because it is designed for their firm’s project-based business needs and supports their whole business, including project management, business development, and marketing. They were able to close the door on their previous paper-based systems and move into modernized business and project management.

How a Project-based ERP Drives Business Success

SSMC was in growth mode and ready to add more small offices. They have a mobile work force with 50% of their employees in the field so they wanted to make sure that all of their employees have access to the systems no matter where they are working.

This made a cloud-based solution, like Deltek Vantagepoint, a clear choice for driving their business success. When they first started exploring moving to the cloud the IT group was worried the systems wouldn’t be as secure. After due diligence, it was decided that the Deltek Cloud was the safest option for the firm’s business growth while also better supporting their dispersed workforce. Since adopting Deltek Vantagepoint, SSMC has seen three immediate ERP innovations. These include the ability to track crew time, improved accuracy of time reporting, and the adoption of business function hubs.

  1. Tracking Crew Time: Being able to track crew time is a game changer for SSMC. Half of SSMC’s staff work in the field and these employees are invoiced based on crew time. Many ERP systems are focused on individual time and do not have the capability to track time in crew units. With Deltek, SSMC has the ability to track crew time for improved accounting accuracy and data consistency.  
  2. Integrated Time Tracking: Within a week of implementing Deltek Vantagepoint, SSMC was able to identify that time was being mischarged to incorrect projects. Their previous ERP wasn’t project-based so they were using Excel-based timecards to track the crew time, which were not integrated with their ERP system. By moving to Deltek Vantagepoint, they gained the ability to accurately track time reporting so they can keep better tabs on the total cost of their projects. 
  3. Business Function Hubs: Since implementing Deltek Vantagepoint, SSMC was able to create three new user defined hubs: for records, legal contracts, and claims. The records hub provides a location to archive all production records. The legal contacts hub includes teaming info, attachments and activities in one place that Project Managers can easily access to better manage their projects. The claims hub contains all claims in one location so they can easily be tracked. 

Successful Change Management

When SSMC started working in Deltek Vantagepoint, they selected a core group of subject matter experts for each function to help design and learn the tool. Once they were comfortable, SSMC selected a Go Live Date. The team then started to train some employees on the major components of the system. Once they went live, weekly meetings with the core team continued to identify any challenges and identify solutions. By gradually introducing new concepts and not overwhelming individuals all at once, SSMC employees were gradually introduced to the new solution.

The new system fills project information gaps so Project Managers can better manage their projects since they have increased visibility at each step of the process. It also ensures that Project Managers utilize the ERP system at the start of the project to create project plans and review time and expenses charged to their projects. This improves the accuracy of projects and allows the team to see any red flags earlier in the process.

SSMC is one of many AEC firms that are utilizing technology to drive business innovation and success. If your firm is exploring new technology, or ways to measure success, get the clarity you need to start your innovation journey with the Deltek Clarity Architecture and Engineering Industry Report. This leading market trends report provides in-depth industry analysis that helps architecture and engineering firms benchmark performance and improve results.

About Brian Garvey, Vice President, SSMC

Brian has more than 38 years of engineering experience and has been employed with SSMC for over 21 years. As the GIS Division Manager, Brian is instrumental in developing and managing various software used by the department to advance traditional surveying related methodologies and processes for untraditional usage.

About Rebecca Bess, Contracts and Risk Manager, SSMC

Rebecca joined SSMC in 2012 as a Contracts Administrator. As General Counsel, Rebecca is responsible for protecting SSMC’s legal interests and maintaining its operations within the scope established by law.