Don’t let the slowdown slow you down when it comes to getting the most out of your technology. You have invested heavily in mission-critical technology systems, and as a result these systems should be giving you optimal operational capabilities. Now seems to be the ideal time, given slower market conditions, to find out whether you are getting the most out of your technology.

Atlantic Builders, www.atlanticbuilders.com, Fredricksburg, Va., for example reports great success in using the slowdown in order to re-engage with one of its technology providers. The builder, which closed 49 homes in 2010 and is on pace to match that number this year, uses production management technology from BuilderMT, www.buildermt.com, Lakewood, Colo.

In particular, Atlantic Builders uses BuilderMT’s WMS (workflow management suite), which includes modules that cover such areas as purchasing, sales pricing, and scheduling, among others. The builder worked with its vendor to ensure it was using all the features of WMS most appropriate to the way it currently operates. This is a good practice for any builder or contractor as they look to ensure they are maximizing their investment in technology.

As a result of the meeting, Atlantic Builders was able to discontinue its dependence on data scripts used for reconciling sales, estimating, and purchasing. Also, the builder found that it was able to move 95% of all trade communication and document exchanges to BuilderMT’s cloud-based Trade Portal.

In addition, the builder discovered new value working with a product called WMS Model Manager that streamlines the process of creating each phase, item, and assembly—a process that was previously done manually and took up to two weeks or more to complete. Using the new technology, the company says this process has been reduced down to mere seconds.

Taking the time to truly look underneath the hood at the technology you already have in place could be a fruitful endeavor indeed. As pointed out by April Ketchem, controller, Atlantic Builders, many of the functions the company needed were already on its users’ desktops as part of the BuilderMT WMS suite it was using; it was just a matter of learning to use them.

Training is the key to ensuring the technology you are running today still sufficiently fits the needs of your organization. While many in the homebuilding market talk about where to invest new technology dollars (if any at all), others are finding tremendous value of simply using more of what they have in place.