Culturally, Omnica avoids any effort that does not add value to meeting our customer’s goals of getting a product to market. We therefore have evolved our systems to eliminate as much duplication as possible. One example is invoicing.
As a service firm, we need to collect a lot of information internally in order to generate an accurate invoice. We need to understand what each engineer did on a project, as well as understand the overall budget, purchase order(s) etc. So, why not take some of that useful data and share it with our customers?
Omnica developed its own billing software internally known as TimeUser. This system allows everyone working on a project (usually multiple projects) to enter their time and provide detailed descriptions of the work that they performed. The system then generates a detailed report that becomes part of our invoice.
Over time, the level of detail of these invoices, has served as design history documentation for many of our projects. In this way we do not have to duplicate this information separately. This has saved our customers considerable time and money.
We generate invoices weekly. While that may seem excessive, we do it in order to closely couple the progress (weekly design reviews) and the budget (weekly invoices). This provides a better customer experience and project control. If there are questions about invoices they are addressed within a week of the fact rather than months later.
We believe that this is one of the reasons that our clients tend to return to us over and over. I will write more about this in future posts.