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Business Challenges:
• Saving project time with a centralized database
• Streamlining the proposal process
• Reducing design drawing time

Founded in 1983 and based in the Orlando, Florida area, Sound Stage, Inc. is a nationally recognized corporation with over 50 years of combined experience in the field of audio, visual, and systems integration. Sound Stage strives for top-tier customer care and is committed to consistently delivering to their clients not only the cutting-edge design they demand but also the professional service they deserve.

“I discovered D-Tools at InfoComm 2008 and instantly became aware of the benefits it provided my team over the use of Excel, Word, and Visio to create proposals,” said Chet Neal, Vice President of Sound Stage. “The centralized database houses all of our product offerings making it far easier to edit and update items and pricing. The interface then creates the ability to simply drag-n-drop those products into proposals, line drawings, and block diagrams. This made D-Tools System Integrator (SI) software the obvious choice to immediately implement in our organization moving forward.”

A recent multi-floor Florida Hospital Executive Tower project consisting of different aspects and disciplines posed a sizeable integration challenge, yet through the use of D-Tools and by virtue of their expertise, the Sound Stage team was able to effectively complete the job on time and to budget. The project contained various complex systems and subsystems including boardroom video conferencing, multipurpose 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.  Winning the job meant having the ability to quickly adjust margins, product pricing, and labor. D-Tools is designed for this, and the platform’s data-driven process makes it easy to make changes on the fly as components or scope changes. Users are able to account for their design and installation labor, and can better track all necessary parts and accessories so money isn’t left on the table. “The only way I could imagine to organize a scope of work of this magnitude was to implement the D-Tools System Integrator software platform,” explains Neal. “With D-Tools, we can monitor and maintain project profitability throughout the proposal process and the ability to define locations and systems made our 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.”

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Sound Stage continued to take full advantage of the solutions and services offered by D-Tools for the Florida Hospital project, including the integration with Microsoft’s Visio, which proved to be an invaluable component of their overall experience with System Integrator. SI allows users to create detailed designs by leveraging the industry standards for drawing tools: Visio and AutoCAD. Because everything in SI is data-driven, users can quickly and easily generate detailed Line, Plan, Elevation, and Schematic drawings by simply dragging and dropping products from their catalog or project file to the drawing surface to create drawings. Having the supportive elements of line drawings to present to clients with their proposals made for greater and quicker understanding of Sound Stage’s suggested solutions. From there, all aspects of the install were documented through SI’s reporting function and use of block diagrams and signal flow charts. Hence, Sound Stage’s technical staff had the needed documentation to effectively integrate and program the various systems for the Executive Tower as they were installed. “Prior to D-Tools, we were also managing the project with individual files from different software programs. D-Tools’ data-driven application ties together our entire 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.  A vast improvement from copying and manipulating the same information many times over, and struggling with managing revisions.”

 

Maximizing Processes 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 phases of the project. From design to engineering, sales, and on to project management and installation, all information for a project is contained within a single location. Reporting tools organize information in the manner most beneficial for that phase, creating an incredibly simple and efficient workflow for Sound Stage compared to cumbersome excel sheets, word documents, and 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.”

Fullscreen capture 1262015 64151 PMPrior to SI, Sound Stage project information would be reentered into QuickBooks from an Excel spread sheet, consistently creating opportunities for errors to be made. D-Tools eliminates this by providing seamless integration with QuickBooks that further streamlines business processes and ensures accurate billing for products, labor, and project revision management. The D-Tools QuickBooks integration allows users to create items in QuickBooks directly from products/labor items in D-Tools SI. Users can also create items in their QuickBooks database directly from their SI catalog of products, helping to eliminate needless double data entry. Sound Stage is now able to better streamline their ordering process with the ability to download a proposal into QuickBooks and instantly create an estimate, saving them a seemingly immeasurable amount of time in their purchasing process.

Utilizing D-Tools’ centralized database has helped Sound Stage further reduce or eliminate errors, because the company’s sales staff are no longer reentering product information on spreadsheets that invariably invites typos, wrong part numbers, and errors on product options. “In addition, the ability for our engineers to create packages or recommend all the accessories for a given product ensures consistency across jobs. This allows for more efficient and quicker installation with the technicians using familiar equipment from one project to the next. System Integrator’s streamlined process and standardization has been key in the success for our projects, adds Neal.” “Along with that, the technical staff is able to spend less time onsite completing installs with the amount of documentation and system schematics that are now possible.”

Conclusion:
Through the use of D-Tools SI, Sound Stage has been satisfied with the continued compliments they receive from clients on the quality of their proposals and by organizing the project in ways that they can easily understand. The company’s sales staff is able to spend more time with clients to generate more sales because they can generate proposals quicker. “By knowing how the client’s organization does business, we can cater reports and terms to 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 for them to process project paperwork, generate PO’s, and pay deposits. With its combined feature set, D-Tools provides a win for us as well as our clients.”

Benefits from Implementing D-Tools:

  • Quote Generation time decreased by 30-40%
  • Design Drawing time decreased by 60%
  • Customer satisfaction increased significantly