• Customer Case
  • AXIOS: National Specialty Contractor Boosts Efficiencies and Reduces Operating Costs

AXIOS Industrial Group

National Specialty Contractor Boosts Efficiencies and Reduces Operating Costs with Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations

Company Overview

AXIOS Industrial Group is a specialty contractor specializing in scaffolding, insulation, coatings, and specialty services projects for the semiconductor, power generation, agriculture, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, and paper and pulp industries. The company's success lies in combining leading-edge technology with many years of experience to provide innovative solutions for their clients.

Challenges: Manual processes create roadblocks

Founded in 1966, AXIOS  was rebranded in 2017, following the principles on which their name is based: worthiness and integrity. Following those tenets, the company has grown quickly, both organically and through a series of acquisitions. As growth continued, and with each newly acquired company bringing with them different accounting systems and unique, often manual, processes, things started to get complicated.

Since its founding, AXIOS has been using Quickbooks and Excel spreadsheets for accounting and finance—and using them rather successfully. However, as with most companies that grow quickly, a time came when those solutions were no longer adequate. Manual processes like time entry, where information was input into Quickbooks by employees and then transferred to Excel for billing, were far too labor-intensive and error-prone.

The time had come for a move from QuickBooks to a more robust Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. The company began a search for an ERP system, evaluating several, including SAP, Viewpoint, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations (F&O).

We needed a system where we could have all our business in one scalable platform that was capable of growing with us. We wanted to ensure we had all the tools to manage our projects properly, bill our clients accurately, and report back to the board promptly.

Emily McMakin Vice President of Finance and Contract Administration, AXIOS Industrial Group

Solution: Getting the right system in place

Having evaluated and managed large ERP implementations in the past, McMakin would lead the selection process as well as the implementation of the chosen solution. In the end, AXIOS selected Microsoft Dynamics 365, which went live in 2019.

"Our goals for the project were to have a smooth implementation and a fluid transition with the office team. We also needed to implement a reporting tool that we could integrate with Power BI for our operations team to manage their projects," said McMakin.

The project team successfully met those goals. The implementation and transition were heavy lifts, but they went well.

Microsoft has done a great job. We haven't had any issues with code upgrades. Dynamics 365 can be intimidating to some, but it's very user-friendly. HSO has done a great job, too, and everything we've gone through with all of our customizations. HSO's customer service has been great. It has been such a smooth process.

Emily McMakin Vice President of Finance and Contract Administration, AXIOS Industrial Group

Benefits: Greater accuracy, higher productivity, more visibility

The move to Dynamics 365 has been nothing short of amazing.

"We definitely saw our return on investment right away just using the advanced payroll module to do the time entry on our projects," said McMakin. "We had one project alone with over 500 employees on it and a very tight deadline with our customer. We were closing our books a month or two later previously, so it was important that we got one unified system. Instead of taking ten working days to bill, we're now completing it in two!"

Other benefits AXIOS has seen from moving to Dynamics 365 include: 

  • Eliminating human error – AXIOS can export data from disparate systems and import it directly into Dynamics 365 automatically, which is particularly useful for time entry for a project-based company like AXIOS.
  • Integration with the Microsoft Technology Stack – Dynamics 365 integrates natively with Microsoft's Office products and the Power Platform. McMakin says, "Being able to download and export everything into Excel is such a productivity boost."
  • Powerful reporting capabilities – All billing details are maintained for instant drill-down whenever needed. AXIOS can now track every aspect of a project. McMakin noted, "The reporting capabilities that we built in Power BI that link back to all the data in Dynamics 365 has been phenomenal! We have a whole project analysis section where we literally can look at the project managers or the administration team, where we roll it up by the different categories, whether it's billable or non-billable. Then, we have a report where we can see every transaction that has been recorded on that project. This information gets entered into the system, and then we took it a step further, where we have the details of each line on the PO, what was purchased, and the descriptions."
  • Accurate revenue projections – Dynamics 365 provides visibility into monthly and annual expenditures, project costs, and hours per project, as well as estimates for future revenue and the ability to track whether these estimates align with profitable project margins. AXIOS also leverages its historical information to help with future forecasts and bids.
  • Automation improves efficiency and accuracy – Administrative and operational personnel are now benefiting from more automated processes. As McMakin described, "Most of our transactions come from the project management and accounting system, and everything is already coded for them. It helps speed up all their tasks."

Future Plans: More automation in the field

AXIOS is looking to utilize even more of the technology in Dynamics 365 to help streamline its field operations.

"We are looking at more real-time features," said McMakin. "We are always striving to be more automated as a company and getting away from paper."

With a flexible and scalable platform in place, AXIOS can now easily adapt to anything their business demands, both now and into the future.

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