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Work-In-Progress (WIP) System
for National Solar Construction Firm

Solar construction projects are months in the making long before any solar panel is screwed into place or electrical systems are connected. A WIP or "Work-In-Progress" system makes planning much easier. WIP is a supply chain management term and refers to the raw materials, labor, and overhead costs incurred for products or construction projects at various stages of production.

We worked with a solar construction company to help them get a better handle on accumulating costs during the life of any project to ensure every solar installation was completed within budget. Without a uniform way to track costs across the life of each project, they were missing the ability to better manage expenses, identify potential problem areas, or track the impact of plan changes.

After an assessment of their current business process and technology, the outlines of what was needed for their new WIP system emerged. It needed to also tie into their Sage Timberline accounting system.

The WIP system gives them the capability to track the financial health of any active project at any time, so they will know in advance if a project was under, over, or within the project quote. Measurements of progress are done using project dollars versus estimated dollars, labor hours versus estimated hours, and actual production versus estimated production.

Every month, Project Managers enter their estimates of how much it will take to complete the job, cost code by cost code. This information gets locked each month by the CFO to maintain an audit trail of the monthly entries.

The most successful clients are those that thoroughly understand their production process and collaborate with us at every step. Thus, the benefits of a good working relationship meant this business:

  • Contained costs. Costs used to be based on a “gut feeling," but now costs are tracked in one place, with an audit trail.
  • Gave Project Managers the ability to break each job into smaller pieces and roll up the estimated costs for any one aspect of a project.
  • Gets a month-by-month snapshot of their finances so management can make early corrective decisions that affect the trajectory of any project’s costs.

In other words, they have the right business intelligence at their fingertips to make smarter business decisions.