A growing need for tracking and transparency
Dan McKay, director, Metalmorphic Laser, started his customized laser cutting manufacturing business based in the Sunshine Coast of Australia, in 2022. Initially, he was using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to serve his customer base in building and construction, manufacturing, mining and automotive industries.
With a crew of seven, including a remote estimator, marketing assistant and administrator in the Philippines, his offerings of laser cutting, manufacturing solutions, design consultation and concept designs were growing fast. As business needs grew, static spreadsheets weren’t cutting it.
“I’m trying to get work in the door and keep everything rolling,” said McKay, “and invoices were getting lost.” He was trying to use Excel like a project management software and the limitations were chipping away at his bottom line. “When you’re working on so many jobs, you have to have some way of tracking the work,” he added.
The solution came from a friendly recommendation. “We took ProjectManager’s free trial and it worked for us,” McKay said. “The software gave us more visibility. We’re able to track work from start to finish. Every invoice gets paid. And if a client has a dispute, we are able to quickly draw up the documentation and show that we did the work as directed. Bottom line: ProjectManager saves us money.”
Customized kanban boards to track production
Metalmorphic Laser has only been using ProjectManager for eight months, but the benefits were immediate in tracking production. “From quotes to contract, design work to ordering materials and the cutting and processing on the production floor, through the secondary processes of folding, powder coating, welding and invoicing the customer, ProjectManager has made our work easier,” McKay said.
Metalmorphic Laser uses ProjectManager’s kanban boards to track production. “The kanban boards have everything we need. They’re customizable so we added columns,” McKay said. “We use the kanban board a lot. It’s so visual and easy to use by dragging and dropping kanban cards from one column to another. You can set up subtasks and check them off when they’re done.”
He added, “When we get a new inquiry, all the files are stored and accessible on ProjectManager, which helps us when we’re quoting the job and, later, for invoicing. The software works how we want it to work.”
The ability to prioritize helps build strong customer relationships
McKay not only attaches files to the kanban cards but uses the tags to prioritize jobs that are urgent. Having that level of detail attached to the job makes it easier for McKay to respond to customer questions. “If I get a phone call from a customer who wants to know when the job will be delivered, I open up ProjectManager and can immediately see where the job is in the process and accurately update the customer on its due date,” McKay said.
Currently, Metalmorphic Laser lives on ProjectManager’s kanban boards, but McKay said he sometimes will switch over to the task list to search for something. He’s just dipping his toe in the many features of ProjectManager. “I want to use the calendar view more for planning,” he said. “It helps us see when we’re expecting materials so we can prioritize work.”
Online software connects global team members
Having online software helps McKay collaborate with his remote team in the Philippines. That’s another thing Microsoft Excel can’t do. The administrator in the Philippines logs online and is notified when a job is done. Then they can invoice the customer. “ProjectManager streamlines all our processes,” McKay said. “We stay connected through the software.”
McKay likes ProjectManager so much that he’s recommended it to others. “Before project management software, it felt as if I was treading water, not being able to find what I needed,” he said. “ProjectManager gives us transparency to know exactly where everything is in terms of the job and our customers like that.”
ProjectManager drastically outperforms spreadsheets
For McKay, project management software is leaps and bounds over static spreadsheets. “The biggest thing for us is the traceability. ProjectManager lets us know, at any time, where the job is and all the information is attached to the job,” he said. “ProjectManager has made the invoicing process easy. Everything is simpler.”
McKay also uses ProjectManager’s mobile app. “If a customer calls and they need a rush job, but I’m out of the office, I can get on my phone and access ProjectManager. I open the job and make sure everything is in place to fulfill that order,” he said. “I don’t need to reach out to people outside of the app, I can ask them in the app.”
ProjectManager gives Metalmorphic Laser the tools it needs to grow its manufacturing business and increase its customer base.