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Insights and best practices for construction management technology and project delivery

How Austin Commercial Speeds Subcontractor Payment Cycles by Over 60%

Janet Poses
Sr. Marketing Manager

Austin Commercial, one of the largest builders in the United States, needed a scalable solution that would drive efficiency in its subcontractor invoicing and payment processes to support the company’s rapid growth.

Austin Commercial is an operating company of Austin Industries, a fully employee-owned organization that was founded in 1918 and today ranks number 29 on the Engineering News-Record 2019 Top 100 CM-at-Risk Firms.

Austin sought a tool to streamline and automate several specific processes to help support their finance, project controls, and project teams:

•    Manual processes around the exchange of all billing documents and internal routing of approvals; entry/coding of subcontractor invoices into their CMiC ERP system; tracking and verification of conditional and unconditional lien waivers; and communication of compliance status to subcontractors
•    Managing subcontractor banking information for payments that were made electronically
•    Paper-based management of sub-tier/joint check agreement processes

Austin Commercial addressed these challenges and greatly boosted efficiency, increased staff productivity, and mitigated risks by fully implementing Oracle Textura Payment Management Cloud Service across their operations.

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Oracle Textura Payment Management impact at Austin Commercial

-    Speeding payment cycles from five or more days to just two
-    Mitigating risk by having a centralized, automated system to manage lien wavers
-    Reducing manpower needed to process pay applications by two-thirds
-    Cutting time to prepare and submit payment applications to the owner—from four to five days to just one or two
-    Saving two to three days of finance time by eliminating the joint check process
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Expedited pay application management

Before using Oracle Textura Payment Management, Austin needed three people to manage pay applications manually on an $800 million dollar project. Using Oracle Textura Payment Management, the process takes less than one full-time employee. The average time to process payment applications also went down from four to five days to only two.

Timely and accurate lien waivers

Previously, it took about three days each month to track down all the necessary conditional/unconditional lien waivers from subcontractors and vendors, as well as to review and rectify any errors. Oracle Textura Payment Management has eliminated clerical errors and the need for follow-up and issue resolution by automating the process of filling out statutory lien waivers and other forms; this saves three days’ work per monthly billing cycle.

The Oracle system enables the secure digital exchange of current, unconditional e-signed lien waivers for Automatic Clearing House (ACH) payments.

Centralized compliance

In the past, Austin's field office managers had to individually reach out to subcontractors about compliance deficiencies. In addition, they spent one day per month manually tracking and administering all lien releases for their projects, as well as sending individual reports to subcontractors, noting issues/discrepancies that might delay payment.

Because this activity was time consuming, it did not always happen. Oracle Textura Payment Management enables centralized tracking of compliance status and lien releases, streamlining processes, and improving payment outcomes for Austin and its subcontractors.

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“Using Oracle Textura Analytics, we can share not only the data, but the story behind the data with our executives.”

-Lena Ho, Vice President, Finance, Austin Commercial

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Expedited owner billings

Payment applications to the owner, which used to take four to five days, now take just one to two days due to reduced processing time in Austin’s CMiC ERP system. This time reduction has helped Austin to be the first submission to its owner clients each month on projects, such as the San Francisco Airport expansion—naturally expediting Austin’s payments to its subs.

Faster payments

Oracle Textura Payment Management supports a two-day turnaround on payment application processing. Previously, it took Austin five or more days for checks to be cut, sent, and deposited. This acceleration of payments has helped Austin greatly improve relationships with its vendors, the builder says.

In addition, the system enables the fully digital exchange of signed lien waivers for payments. “Our acceleration of payments has helped Austin Commercial greatly improve relationships with vendors," said Mike Schulz, project controls manager of Austin Commercial.

Reduced burden on joint check process

Austin’s sub-tier/joint check process was necessary when there was a lien from a subcontractor’s subcontractor or vendor. To enable payment, it needed to create a joint check agreement to establish a contractual agreement with that sub or vendor.

In addition, Austin had to issue a joint check that had to be signed—but not deposited—by the prime subcontractor before being sent to their sub-tier or vendor. The Oracle system has eliminated this time-consuming and costly monthly process, which previously required two to three days of finance time, as well as some legal department resources.

Key takeaways:

1)    Systems and processes can benefit the whole project team and improve project delivery.
2)    Configurable systems provide the flexibility to support all projects and compatibility with other current and future systems.
3)    Standardizing on systems across the company helps maximize the benefits.

 

Watch our webcast to learn how Oracle Textura Payment Management Cloud Service drives efficiency, enhances visibility, and increases control to manage risk.

Oracle Construction and Engineering, the global leader in construction management software and project portfolio management solutions, helps you connect your teams, processes, and data across the project and asset lifecycle. Drive efficiency and control in project delivery with proven solutions for project controls, construction scheduling, portfolio management, BIM/CDE, construction payment management, and more.

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