Base offers a range of services associated with architecture and construction, including feasibility assessments, design, planning, building regulations and contract administration. To successfully hit client deadlines and internal targets, Base has to accurately quote how long a project will take their staff to complete as well as coordinate the constituent tasks of a project between different departments and staff members across the business.
Now in its 20th year, the firm started operations in 2003 and has offices in Shrewsbury, Chester and Conwy. During this time, they have been involved in the design and build of thousands of projects across the residential and commercial sectors and are currently experiencing a period of particularly high growth – a perfect time to introduce a custom software specialist like Shoothill.
Faced with this expanding portfolio and the desire to continue to apply their consistent, customer focussed approach to their work, Base got in touch with Shoothill to ask for our expertise in digital transformation. Base recognised that custom software would help make their enterprise more efficient by producing a platform for them in mind.
The company previously managed their practice through a myriad of traditional spreadsheets. As the brain of their business, the constraints generated by these spreadsheets placed a major bottleneck within the firm’s operational capacity, with further time and labour inefficiencies being created by the need to maintain and duplicate up-to-date information across the documents.
Winning more work meant senior staff were spending more time managing spreadsheets, individually quoting, managing project tasks and preparing invoicing, whilst simultaneously taking them away from their primary focus of client engagement, project oversight and staff mentoring.
Likewise, the management of all the leads coming into Base’s business highlighted the need for an improved facility for generating client quotations and converting these into active jobs promptly.
Shoothill was tasked with recommending ways of improving processes through the use of technology at Base, and ultimately developing the solution and implementing it. In turn allowing staff to remain focused on their primary objectives, not administration.
“Shoothill worked tirelessly with Base to understand our business requirements and the new system has really enhanced the day to day operations. We look forward to our continued relationship with Shoothill and the future development and refinement of the system to meet our ever changing business needs.”
Director, Base: Architects & Planning
Shoothill’s consultancy team worked with Base to design a complete system to be used across the business, bespoke to their team and processes. This needed to be clear and easy to use for all levels of staff.
Base needed to be able to manage workload from the initial enquiry to project completion. The Shoothill team took the lessons learnt from their successful subsidiary Housebuilder Pro, an end-to-end new homes sales software solution, as well as previous time management systems they had developed, and applied them to this new system for Base.
Working closely with the senior leadership team at Base, Shoothill built a bespoke solution tailored to the business’s needs. Ambitious by its very nature, every aspect of Base’s daily operations are encompassed in this platform.
The cloud-based software that Shoothill has built can manage both new leads and existing client projects, generate quotes in the system with a smart PDF output, and can turn a successful quote into a project which is broken into tasks to be distributed amongst staff members according to workload and specialism. The platform also links to Base’s email system and provides clients with bespoke updates on the progress of their projects.
It represents a complete digital transformation that has streamlined the company’s workflow. At the start of the working day, Base’s team simply need to log in and are presented with the tasks they need to undertake for that day, alongside any notes or supporting documentation.
The system also takes into consideration the availability of staff across the working week and includes a full holiday request and approval system. This allows for accurate capacity planning and ensures client deadlines are met. To have all these aspects contained within one system is a complete game changer for Base. As a result, it represents a perfect example of the potential of digital transformation for business growth.
As a design-focussed company Base have a strong brand identity. This needed to be reflected and implemented within their system. Even though the software is not customer-facing, it was important that this software tied into the design motifs on Base’s website and marketing, maintaining its cohesive brand identity. Shoothill’s design team utilised Base’s own brand guidelines and seamlessly integrated Base’s visual identity into their custom solution to achieve this. A result that would otherwise be impossible with an off-the-shelf software solution or SaaS provider.
Base Architects are in an exciting position moving ahead. Their operation is now seamless, with a new system that links their architectural designers, planners, administrative staff, and senior managers across the practice. This practice management system links the entirety of Base’s operation and will lead to higher customer retention and greater efficiency across all their new projects, in a way that no off-the-shelf software solution could.
As Base are a unique and market-leading company, the only realistic solution for them was to implement custom software and the end result is the perfect showcase of Shoothill’s talents in digital transformation. The final product combines the functionality of multiple different types of software platforms. It improves Base’s daily operations and firmly demonstrates the power of custom-built software’s ability to overhaul a company’s operations and lay the framework for increased scale and profitability.
With their new system in place, the team at Base can now focus their efforts on their projects and their clients, with less time and labour spent trying to make legacy spreadsheets work together.
At Shoothill we’re incredibly proud of the work we’ve done for Base. We’re looking forward to seeing the improvements this will bring to their business. The consultation and development team have gone above and beyond to cater to Base’s requests to design a truly bespoke product. Shoothill has made sure that the system does what Base needs of it and more.
As a result of this work, Shoothill has demonstrated: