When Wilmington, Del.-based Hatzel & Buehler, Inc the oldest electrical contractor in the United States struggled to get real-time data out of its business and construction management software, it turned to Dexter + Chaney, the leader in cloud-based ERP software and developer of Spectrum® Construction Software to increase its competitive advantage.
“We had been working with, in our case, a system that was developed in the late-1970s and early-80s,” said Jerry Herr, Hatzel & Buehler’s CFO. “We had an opportunity with Dexter + Chaney and Spectrum to jump a few generations in technology, and employ more cloud-based and mobile applications to get real-time information out to not only our ten branches, but also to remote jobsites, and provide more accessible information to a broader range of decision makers from senior management down to field management. We needed that ability to compete in an environment where real-time information is key to making strategic business decisions with how projects are managed and what projects we pursue.”
Hatzel & Buehler was formed in 1884 by two master electricians, John D. Hatzel and Joseph Buehler. Both men had worked for Thomas Edison, helping him to open the nation’s first publicly-owned and operated electric generating station in New York City two years prior. As Hatzel and Buehler grew their own electrical contracting business, the company made its mark as a premier provider of electrical services.
Today, more than 130 years later, the company averages around 1,000 employees working for multiple branches across eight states and is on pace to exceed $250 million in revenues this year. In an ongoing effort to further support its customers, Hatzel & Buehler expanded operations to include a low voltage subsidiary—Bluestone Communications—which just celebrated its 10th anniversary, and has since diversified its service offerings to include a portfolio of technology-based services.
The key to sustaining growth, said Hatzel & Buehler President Bill Goeller, has been building long-lasting relationships with its customers.
“We focus on connecting with a customer and growing that relationship,” Goeller said. “Each of our offices has a core group of customers they work with year after year. Some of our customer relationships are probably 50 to 75 years running.”
Strong relationships are also what led Hatzel & Buehler to Dexter + Chaney. Herr noted that Dexter + Chaney had established itself as a key player over the years in various industry organizations that Hatzel & Buehler was also involved in, including the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA), National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) and the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC).
“One of the key parts of our assessment was evaluating who would make a good long-term partner for us,” Herr said. “We saw how Dexter + Chaney has established itself as an industry leader, the culture it has with its workforce and the relationship it has with (business partner and reseller) CDP.”
“CDP is excited to have Hatzel & Buehler join the CDP and Dexter + Chaney family. We admire their history on projects like the Vanderbilt’s Biltmore Estate in Ashville, N.C.—a home that was using electrical technologies that were cutting-edge in 1895—and their commitment to their business relationships, some of which span decades,” said Paul Riefenberg, President of CDP.
“Hatzel & Buehler was very methodical and analytical in their approach to evaluating Spectrum with our account manager, Nate Kaufman. We worked closely together to address their needs and concerns, and through these early interactions, it became clear that we enjoyed working as a team on this effort to update their ERP System.”
“We saw how both Dexter + Chaney and CDP collaborated through the entire process and discussions and we were very comfortable with how they addressed issues, answered questions and walked us through what will ultimately be a significant software change,” Herr said. “I think seeing the stability and involvement that both Dexter + Chaney and CDP have in the industry—not just construction, but in particular the electrical vertical, was a key factor for us moving forward with them.”
In terms of software functionality, Herr said Spectrum won out during an extensive evaluation of multiple competing systems due to its ease of use, navigation, dashboards, range of complete ERP features and true cloud-based platform.
“Real time information and having a true cloud-based product where we could host our data was crucial to us,” Herr said. “Being able to see the number of dashboards that can be modified to cater to certain roles within our operation—from financial to operational to field management—was a key feature. Spectrum also has a more complete set of applications built into it that fits our needs—from tool tracking to inventory to materials processing to human resources, to project administration that is integrated with job cost and contract management.”
Utilizing cloud-based software will also facilitate increased accessibility and collaboration among Hatzel & Buehler’s multiple branches, Herr noted.
“Eighty percent of our users are from outside of our corporate office. We’re using Spectrum Enterprise and cost centers to run these different operations, and that will have a significant positive impact for us,” Herr said. “Not everyone has that feature, functioning the way it does within Spectrum.”
Dexter + Chaney President and CEO Norbert Orth said he was thrilled to welcome Hatzel & Buehler as a new client.“When the oldest electrical contractor in America chooses to leverage our cutting-edge software, it speaks to the pride we take in being recognized as a technology leader in construction software,” Orth said. “We are honored to partner with Hatzel & Buehler and assist them as they further invest in the growth of their business.”
About Hatzel & Buehler, Inc.
Founded on the principles of integrity, innovation and quality, Hatzel & Buehler is a well-recognized name in the industry. A full-service company, it offers expertise in electrical design, construction, engineering, integration, and maintenance. The company handle projects ranging from simple service calls to complex, multi-phased design/build projects and have tackled some of the most complex and varied projects nationwide. Hatzel & Buehler’s vision is to set the standard of excellence for the electrical contracting industry. The company has a continuing commitment to provide a safe working environment, with a safety record that exceeds the industry standard, and it maintains an ongoing effort to develop new and better health and safety plans. Affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Electrical Contractors Association, Hatzel & Buehler has the distinction of being the longest continuous member in the National Electrical Contractors Association. For more information, visit www.hatzelandbuehler.com.
About Dexter + Chaney:
Dexter + Chaney is the leader in cloud-based construction ERP software and developer of Spectrum® Construction Software. The company has been providing complete construction management software for more than 35 years. From the office to the field, from accounting to project management, Dexter + Chaney software is used by more than 1,100 companies. Their clients come from all segments of the industry—heavy/highway and utility, general contractors, electrical, mechanical, and specialty subcontractors—and are companies of all sizes, from locally owned subcontractors to some of the world’s largest construction firms. Dexter + Chaney’s web-based software applications allow customers to get work done anywhere using any device with a web browser and without the need to download any software. For more information about Dexter + Chaney’s products and services, contact Wayne Newitts, Marketing Director, Dexter + Chaney, 9700 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA, 98115-2347; phone: 800-875-1400; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; web: www.dexterchaney.com.
CDP is a Dexter + Chaney Partner with offices in the Carolinas, Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. CDP’s industry expertise, solutions and personal touch leads to business success for their clients. With more than 30 years of experience in the construction industry, CDP provides consulting, training, process and sales support to general contractors, specialty contractors, and engineering and service organizations. CDP’s focus is to provide cutting-edge software tools and services project-centric organizations need to manage projects within budget, scope and on-time delivery. To learn more, visit www.cdp-inc.com or call 800-648-0527.