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How D-Tools Helped Sound Stage Expedite the AV Proposal Process

AV Proposal Software Reduces Estimate Turnaround Time by 40%Sound Stage, Inc, a nationally recognized system integration firm, had the opportunity to bid on, and, if successful, design and install a multi-floor Florida Hospital Executive Tower project consisting of different aspects and disciplines, which posed a sizeable integration challenge. The project contained various complex systems and subsystems, including boardroom video conferencing, multi-purpose room presentations, conference room scheduling signage, sound masking, and lobby video treatments. From the beginning, as with most projects, pricing and budget was a concern.

Key Outcomes as a Result of D-Tools System Integrator Software:

Proposal generation time decreased by 40%
Design drawing time decreased by 60%
Customer satisfaction  increased significantly


Key Objectives for the AV Proposal Software Solution

To help Sound Stage implement a solution to design and present a proposal that would effectively compete with other integration companies on a complex and sizable project. The solution would help Sound Stage accomplish the following objectives:

  • Objective 1: Save product research time through a centralized database
  • Objective 2: Streamline and expedite the AV proposal process
  • Objective 3: Reduce time on system design 

Winning the job meant having the ability to adjust product pricing, margins, and labor quickly. D-Tools' System Integrator™ (SI) data-driven solution makes it easy to make changes on the fly as project scope or system components change. Users can estimate their design and installation labor and track a detailed list of equipment and accessories, so no money is left on the table. 

"The only way I could imagine organizing a scope of work of this magnitude was to implement D-Tools System Integrator software," explains Chet Neal, Vice President of Sound Stage, lnc. "With D-Tools SI, we can monitor and maintain project profitability throughout the proposal process, and the ability to define locations and systems made our av proposals easy for the client to follow and understand. Once we had secured the job, the installation reports allowed our technicians to allocate equipment and tasks for each area, keeping our team on task and on time."

AV System Design Tools Were Paramount to Success

Sound Stage took full advantage of the solutions and services offered by D-Tools for the Florida Hospital project, including the integration with Microsoft Visio, which proved invaluable for the Florida Hospital Executive Tower project and Sound Stage's overall experience with System Integrator. D-Tools System Integrator allows users to create detailed project designs by leveraging industry-standard drawing tools: Microsoft Visio and AutoCAD. SI uses manufacturer specifications to drive the design, quickly and easily generating detailed line, plan, elevation, and schematic drawings by simply dragging and dropping products directly from D-Tools' extensive and integrated product library. 

Presenting line drawings side by side with their proposals enabled the client to quickly and comprehensively understand Sound Stage's recommended system designs. From there, all aspects of the install were documented through SI's use of block diagrams, signal flow charts, and installation reports. With the standard documentation generated by SI, Sound Stage's technical staff had the documentation needed to effectively connect and program the Executive Tower's various systems. 

"Prior to D-Tools, we were managing projects with individual files from different software programs. D-Tools' data-driven application ties together our entire av system integration process into a highly efficient singular workflow. Now we are working with a centralized database, meaning the same updated information comes from a central hub that can be accessed by anyone on the team, any time it is needed.  This is a vast improvement from copying and manipulating the same information many times over and struggling with managing revisions."

Maximizing Installation Management through a Streamlined Business Process

For Sound Stage, a crucial benefit of D-Tools System Integrator is that SI centralizes all aspects of a project's progression, including the different disciplines involved during different project phases. From the beginning of the sales process through audio visual system design, engineering, project planning, and installation management, all information for a project is contained in a single location. Reporting tools organize information by phase, location, and/or system, creating an incredibly simple way to view project information compared to the cumbersome combination of excel spreadsheets, word documents, and AV CAD drawings of yesteryear. "Years later, we are still finding new ways to leverage the robust tools and capabilities D-Tools provides. From specifying the cost of pulling cable down to the foot to creating custom reports, it has been essential in closing deals and managing installations."

Prior to SI, Sound Stage project information would be manually re-entered into QuickBooks from an Excel spreadsheet, creating constant opportunities for human error. D-Tools eliminates this risk by providing a seamless integration with QuickBooks while at the same time streamlining business processes and ensuring accurate billing even when change orders have made the original project scope look unrecognizable. The D-Tools QuickBooks integration allows users to create items in QuickBooks directly from products/labor items in D-Tools SI, eliminating needless double data entry.  Further, with the Quickbooks integration, Sound Stage can expedite their ordering process by issuing purchase orders by phase or location and pushing them directly into QuickBooks.

Utilizing D-Tools' integrated product library has helped Sound Stage further reduce, and even eliminate errors, because the sales staff is no longer required re-enter product information into spreadsheets that invariably invites typos, wrong part numbers, and errors on product options. "In addition, the ability of our engineers to create packages and recommend all the accessories for a given product ensures consistency across jobs. This allows for more efficient and quick installation with the technicians using standard equipment from one project to the next. The use of D-Tools' has streamlined our process and forced standardization, both of which have been key to the success of our projects," adds Neal. "Along with that, the technical staff spends less time onsite completing installs with the amount of documentation and system schematics that are now possible."

Professional, Accurate Proposals Leads to More Sales Won

Using D-Tools' end-to-end business software, AV system integrator, Sound Stage, has been satisfied with the continued compliments they receive from clients on the quality of their audio visual proposals and by organizing the project in ways that they can easily understand. The company's sales staff now spends more time with clients to generate more sales because they can generate better quality bids with quicker proposal turnaround. 

"By knowing how the client's organization does business, we can cater reports on terms that meet their accounting and processing needs. That goes a long way with our clients. We go out of our way to make it easier and faster to process project paperwork, generate POs, and pay deposits. With its combined feature set, D-Tools software provides a win for us as an av system integrator, as well as our clients."

Take a Tour of D-Tools AV Proposal Software

Find out how D-Tools AV proposal software can help you expedite the proposal process, win more jobs in 2021, and manage your system integration projects. Contact us today.