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BACM

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Automated Integration booth at the NAEC annual convention in New Orleans in September 2011

Business Analysis and Change Management (BACM) Consultants, Inc. consults elevator companies unconventionally, focusing on their internal operations.

When trying to define “elevator consultant,” one might turn first to accessible online sources, where a decided variance in verbiage can quickly be found. Wikipedia defines an elevator consultant as “someone who specializes in the design, testing and maintenance inspection of elevators, escalators, moving [walks] and many other conveyances that move people. . . . Some elevator consultants may also work as private elevator inspectors.”

ElevatorSource.com defines elevator consultants as those who provide vertical-transportation design, evaluation and consulting services for clients that design own or manage buildings and facilities involving vertical transportation. Based on this definition, consultants then evaluate a current system and provide solutions that are effective and capable of optimizing value of the existing elevator system. In addition, they provide the building owner with the latest and most proven technologies and techniques.

Business Analysis and Change Management (BACM) Consultants, Inc. of Davie, Florida, does not exactly fit either of these definitions. BACM does not give advice pertaining to installations, modernizations or the latest code with which elevators must comply. The consultancy works mainly in the elevator industry and has helped many elevator contractors turn their operations around. Though unlike traditional consultants, BACM focuses on the internal operations of a company – dispatching, accounting, field time entry, job cost/recording, inspection processes, system integration, process documentation, payroll, acquisitions, training and more.

BACM was founded in 2009 by Carmen Heath-Marron, who spent more than a decade working with elevator service companies. During Heath-Marron’s career at Otis and Oracle Elevator Co., she interacted with a plethora of independent contractors in the industry. She has seen many companies struggle with implementing change in their operations or meeting their financial goals because of the hectic day-to-day schedules most keep. BACM was created to consult elevator companies on best practices, develop processes for them and document their internal operations, helping them see the big picture, meet their goals and combat their struggles.

BACM analyzes companies and identifies weaknesses in process utilization, implementation or design, and develops strategies for improvement. Heath-Marron says she set out to be different from other business consultants in that she did not want to just offer advice, then say, “Good luck!” Rather, she preferred to utilize a hands-on approach to solving problems.

Partnership

As part of its business, BACM reaches out to elevator companies using the Total Service software program, an accounting and dispatching software package used by more than 60% of elevator contractors. In April 2010, Rick Lanpher acquired Automated Integration (Al) and was surprised to find the bulk of support calls on the program were coming from longtime customers who should be “experts” but were far from it. In fact, many calls he heard were from business owners frustrated with the program and looking for a new solution. It was evident that although companies received training on Total Service, it was not customized to their business, so they were not seeing a return on investment. Automated Integration partnered with BACM to provide elevator-company clients with realistic business solutions through tailored implementation.

Implementation

During the new implementation phase, BACM follows Al’s standardized process to ensure customers implement Total Service in a reasonable timeframe and receive all necessary training. BACM learns about each company’s operations to provide a customized approach on how to best use the software. The implementation phase is much more than just training – it involves changing the way a company runs their business. BACM can “speak the language” of elevator companies thus can offer insight regarding best practices and areas improvement is needed.

Seeing Results

According to Heath-Marron, when processed have improved, people feel better. This is evident in the daily operations, like when a dispatcher can click a button to link calls to purchase orders, a manger can see his or her cashflow with one click, or a field mechanic has a route sheet or ticket with needed information on it. Managers who invest in internal operations like they do field operations create a cohesive company that can implement changes easily.

Case Study/Examples

Elevator companies are often started by those with field experience (like Mike Cimino, owner of Eletech, Inc.), not with an office or accounting background. So, as long as everything is operating as it should, the owner can focus on the field operations and growing the company. When a key employee leaves or problems arise, as they did for Cimino last fall, and it is clear things are not happening as they should, the owner is left with the task of quickly becoming an expert of all things. This is where the elevator consulting services BACM provides can be helpful.

BACM visited the Eletech office in Omaha, Nebraska, for three days of business analysis and intensive training in Total Service. Whenever BACM visits an office or starts working with a company who uses Total, it looks at the very beginning, focusing mainly on how the company was set up and why. At Eletech, it was apparent no one in the company understood why things were the way they were. BACM quickly realized much change was needed to get the company to where Cimino wanted it. This is generally where many companies look at the proposed changes and say, “It would be great if we could do all of that, but there is just no way.” Cimino had a completely different response though: “He wanted things done perfectly – yesterday”, said Heath-Marron.

BACM helped Eletech implement a paperless time-entry system the field personnel now use each day with their work. Standard resolution codes speed up the amount of time needed to resolve tickets and also provide more accurate descriptions for the database. Within a couple weeks of implementing the recommendations, Eletech noticed the change. Payroll now happens a day earlier than it did before, and service-ticket billing is invoiced the week in which service is incurred. Additionally, there are no longer mounds of tickets to go through in order to decipher what to bill. Ultimately, Total Service allows managers, like Cimino, to consistently stay apprised of what is happening throughout the business.

In working with elevator companies, BACM has found some of the biggest problems companies often deal with are accounting and financials. The nature of an elevator company does not lend itself too much time to be spent in becoming an expert in these areas. Instead of trying to train everyone in accounting, BACM decided to provide companies basic bookkeeping and financial services, including an online payroll service for those wishing to outsource payroll.

Through improved procedures with targeted training and using BACM’s bookkeeping and payroll services, Eletech was able to establish significant change without additional overhead. Not everything can be fixed overnight; however, with management support and dedication, noticeable transformations can happen in a short amount of time, ultimately improving a company’s bottom line.

In 2011, shortly after meeting employees from Taylor Elevator Company at the National Association of Elevator Contractors’ annual convention in New Orleans; Heath-Marron visited their office in Naples, Florida, to assess how they could use Total Service to improve their operations and to get the reporting they wanted from it. “They wanted to set up ‘cost centers’ for their commercial and residential business lines, so they could see how each was performing,” Heath-Marron said. BACM worked closely with Taylor Elevator’s accountant and cleaned up their Total Service database. “They seem pretty happy they can run reports with the information they need now,

BACM has also recently visited and provided various consulting services for Accurate Elevator in Florida; Metro Elevator, Inc. in the Twin Cities, Minnesota area; Madden Elevator in Louisville, Kentucky; and City Elevator in Vancouver, Canada, among others.

For more information or to schedule a free demonstration of Total Service, visit www.elevatorbooks.com or call (251) 479-4514, Ext. 38.

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