Prior to founding Nighthawk Software, Gavin was employed by APD Ltd to take over the development of an internal parts tracking system that had been developed by a previous employee.

The Brief

APD is an electrical contractor based in Annan, Scotland and as well as conducting site work, they also specialise in the technical design, specification, and manufacture of custom-built low voltage distribution boards/switchboards and control panels for installation in the renewable energy, agricultural, marine, food processing, and construction industries.

Over time APD had realised that their existing tracking system wasn’t working to the standard they required and so Gavin was tasked with developing a new system. Requirements for the new system included a variety of functions such as tracking which order belonged to which job and what parts were used on each specific job.

It was also hoped that the new system, once developed, could be expanded to provide additional functionality for the business.

Our Approach

Ornavi was extended to be a job focused system, with the following tools:

  • Parts and order tracking
  • Stock/inventory management
  • Task management and resource planning
  • Timesheet management
  • Quote creation
  • Invoicing
  • Full set of reporting and job costing tools

Gavin re-wrote the system from the ground up to become a fully functioning project management system (called Ornavi), which was later spun off and launched as a SaaS product.

As the system developed, Gavin worked closely with APD employees to identify manual processes within the business and find ways to automate them through the development of the Ornavi system

The first such example was the timesheet module. At the time, timesheets were completed by all employees on paper and then handed in to front office staff for processing. These were then collated, entered into the system against each job, and the wages generated.

Instead of this time-consuming process, a module was developed allowing users to enter their timesheets online and submit them digitally to the front office. Now, with a single click, timesheets could be approved and entered into the system automatically. This drastically increased processing time, freeing up front end staff for other duties.

Another example was the creation of a quote module. Previously an excel spreadsheet was used to generate quotes. This caused a number of problems – employees would occasionally go on holiday leaving quotes on their PC meaning that no-one else could see what was happening with the quote, leaving the job at a standstill until they returned. Occasionally quotes would be issued with the previous years’ rates on, leading to the under quoting of jobs.

The solution was simple, build this quoting system into Ornavi, enabling anyone to access and pick up a quote, and ensure the rates were always up-to-date. Improvements in the generating process also meant a far more consistent approach to quoting and the presentation of the resulting quotation document.

Combining all these functions also provided a wealth of data, leading to the opportunity to develop great reporting tools within the system itself, such as highlighting profit/loss per job and allowing more accurate quoting of jobs in future.

The Outcome

Time savings through the removal of manual processes such as quoting and timesheets has proven invaluable to the APD team. Reporting tools have made it far easier to look at past jobs and see more detailed costings such as how much was spent vs what was quoted, leading to more accurate and efficient quoting in future.

An accurate stock database showing items in stock in live time has led to a reduction in overspend from ordering unnecessary parts. Now, if someone enters an order in the system and the same part is found in stock, the system sends a notification.

Ornavi has proven invaluable to the company over the years and when the Covid pandemic hit in 2020, the company was easily able to adapt to home working, thanks to their investment in Ornavi and their business already being familiar with working in the cloud.

Nighthawk Software has now taken over development of Ornavi and remains on-hand for the APD team. We are proud to have developed software that remains essential to their business to this day.

Dashboard - Showing Graphs and Statistics of business performance Job Costing - Showing a financial overview of a selected job Edit Timesheets - Showing how timesheet data can be entered Job List - Showing a list of active jobs