• Company was growing quickly and
needed tools to help manage that
• Manual entry of information was
time-consuming and prone to
human error, which could be
• Reports took up to three days to
create and were often inaccurate,
making business decisions difficult
In the world of home building today, information is power. That doesn’t only mean you need the ability to generate and manage timely, reliable information internally to keep your business strong and growing. It also demands that you deliver equally timely and accurate information to prospects and do so in a way that cuts through the clutter and
motivates them to become buyers.
Just ask Joliene Weiss and Mike Hess at Vantage Homes in Colorado Springs, Colorado. As key members of the management team at Vantage Homes—Weiss is CFO and
Hess is VP of Sales and Marketing—both have critical roles to play at the company which has been a major presence in the Colorado Springs and Monument, Colorado markets since 1983.
Business has been very strong at Vantage Homes in recent years, due in no small part to the company’s ongoing commitment to technology. “We’ve been generating 30% growth year over year and gone from fewer than 100 homes in 2015 to a projected 130 in 2018,” Weiss reports proudly. Growth on that scale would be no mean feat in any market. But there’s one other detail that makes Vantage Homes’ recent performance even more impressive: All that growth has come with zero additions to the company’s administrative staff. Key back office functions such as purchasing, estimating, and accounting are being managed with the same number of people today that they were three years ago!
As an organization, Vantage Homes has been increasing its productivity at pretty much the same rate as sales over the past few years. It’s not just by chance; both Weiss and Hess make clear. The surge in both areas coincides with the company’s implementation of IHMS™ and LotVue™ home building software from ECi Mark Systems.
“The impact of IHMS and LotVue on Vantage Homes has been huge,” says Weiss. “IHMS not only has allowed us to streamline our operations and develop better processes and procedures, but it has also created a new level of accountability throughout our organization.” As a lot option builder, Weiss points out, Vantage Homes is continually tracking and updating a vast quantity of information across a broad range of functions and departments—land development, lot status, purchasing, sales, contract management, construction, and more.
Before switching to IHMS, all that information was manually entered multiple times, a process which was not only inefficient but also rich in potential for human error. In addition, whenever information went missing or was inaccurate or out of date, identifying the source of the problem was often a challenge. With IHMS, Weiss explains, information is entered into the system just once and after that, it can be accessed and updated seamlessly throughout the organization. And if there is any question about a particular piece of data, it’s immediately clear where to go for an answer.
“We gained some very significant operational efficiencies when we switched to IHMS and when you have to keep track of options and commitments for as many as 500 lots, that makes a huge difference,” she says.
Reports that before might have taken two or three days to prepare literally require just three mouse clicks today, Weiss says. And, she adds, the level of confidence in what those reports are telling the company is far higher than before the move to IHMS. “When you’re working in Excel or a similar program, it’s just too easy to make errors,” Weiss points out. “With LotVue, you learn very quickly that you can trust it to deliver accurate, real-time information and the fact that it’s web based means you can access it 24/7 from
anywhere with an internet connection.”
LotVue’s impact on the marketing side at Vantage Homes has been equally dramatic, Hess reports. “LotVue has made it so much easier to access the information we need
to make marketing decisions,” he says. “When we’re trying to figure out what floor plan to start with in a particular community, for example, we can go into LotVue and see
what lots that plan can be built on, what other houses are on the street, what’s selling well in the community, what the price point has been and so on. And it’s all real-time information that’s accessible with just a few keystrokes.”
LotVue also offers some significant benefits in terms of customer and prospect outreach, Hess reports. “With upwards of 90% of buyers visiting a builder’s website four or five times before they even come in to see a model, it’s critical that we are able to give them detailed information online that’s current and accurate,” he says.
With LotVue, Vantage Homes can do just that and a whole lot more. “Typically, when you go to a builder’s website, all you see are the available homes and a PDF map of the lots in the filing or community,” explains Hess. “LotVue allows us to present so much more—what lots are still available, their square footage, which ones have premiums, what
the color options are and so on—and we do it all in real time. With LotVue, our buyers can basically select their home site and identify their floorplan before they step foot in one of our models,” he points out.
“LotVue is not only giving us a competitive edge in terms of what we can present to the market, it’s also making the sales process more efficient and providing more transparency for our buyers,” he continues. LotVue is also making a big difference on the marketing side internally, Hess adds. “Before we implemented LotVue, we could have up to three people in our marketing department that would have to go in several times a week to update our website and make sure all the information was still accurate,” he recalls. “Today, all we have to do is enter the new data just one time and the program automatically updates the website. That alone is giving us as much as an extra 24 hours a month that our marketing people can use in far more productive ways.”
As its website says, Vantage Homes is committed to making home buyers feel as involved and comfortable with the home design and construction process as they’ll ultimately feel about their new home. LotVue is playing a key role not only in helping the company meet that goal but also in enabling it to do so in a way that is taking internal productivity and efficiency to a new level.
“The LotVue team has become a true ally for Vantage Homes,” says Hess. “Their support has been fantastic and any time I reach out to them on any kind of issue, they jump on it
right away. They want us to do well and they are giving us the tools needed to keep us strong and growing.”