“Before, above all, we lacked transparency. Productive gives us a central place to see where we are.”
— Jonathan Gundlach, Managing Director at SRH
Milwaukee, WI, USA
SRH has been using Productive for two and a half years. As an agency, they focus on adapting their processes based on their clients’ needs, and using Productive has helped them stay flexible in responding to those needs. We spoke with SRH’s Managing Director, Jonathan Gundlach to hear how SRH became more efficient and grew using Productive.
We’re SRH and we’re about 7 years old. Since I arrived three years ago, my role has shifted and grown. First I was a project manager, then I was the operations manager when we started using the tool, and now I’m the managing director! We recently reorganized internally to give our teams more autonomy and responsibility in SRH’s growth. I’m excited about the way that we’re able to manage everything in Productive, especially the project financials, overhead costs, and the expenses and budgets within projects. The more I learn about the tool, the more I love it. We’re excited about all the offerings it has for us.
I’ve been in the industry for about 25 years now. Throughout the years I was in charge of finding agency management tools. I came to SRH three years ago when there were about 10 of us on the team. There was no time tracking and we did our invoicing through spreadsheets and Quickbooks.
Before, as the operations manager, once something became a project I was spending a lot of time managing information within those projects. Now I’m mentoring Sara and Julie—our project managers—on how to manage budgets and do things within the tool. They are both uber-talented, smart people and are now showing me better ways to do things, which is awesome. I think it’s really helpful that we’re all using Productive on a daily basis. Now my use of the tool is on a higher level though, and more focused on looking into reports and data.
Before, above all, we lacked transparency. At that time our projects were simpler and there weren’t as many of them, but just the fact that we were using various spreadsheets made it hard to have all the data we needed. Productive gives us a central place to see where we are. It actually shows us how we’re doing on our budgets and it gives us a place to manage our out-of-pocket expenses. We also do some pretty complicated video shoots and production and it helps manage those complex projects.
I think that in project management there’s a tendency to focus solely on profitability, but it’s inevitable that projects will go over budget, and that’s ok. However, it’s important to have transparency on where that stands, and Productive gives us that visibility.The other feature we really embraced is having multiple budgets within a project. Now I can close sections of a project and I have the ability to move money around, which I really like. We just started using the PTO, the time off management feature, and that also makes my life easier. I also really like how Scheduling gives me an overview of resource planning.
Absolutely. I tried a lot of different software in the past and none had the sales to project management, invoicing to task and resource management in one tool. To me, all those features are the holy grail of an agency management tool. I knew from my experience that it would help us grow. Now I can’t imagine using any tool other than Productive.
Yes, absolutely. The modular aspect of it suits our growth. We have all our people in Productive divided into teams which we assign to clients. If only half of the clients are currently active, using the flexibility of custom fields we can see who’s active and inactive. Once you understand how things work in Productive, it’s very flexible and there’s a lot of possibilities for growth and expansion.
Around 80% of the agency uses Productive for time tracking. The project managers and I are using it most and we’re still learning as we go. We embrace the changes that keep coming and we regularly make recommendations that we think would make things easier and better. I think they’ve been received well.
Yes, I’m very disciplined around putting new opportunities in as sales deals and tracking them all the way through, then marking them as sold. That’s an area where I know I’m putting in the data the right way. With time, I’m sure we’ll be getting great results out of the data in reports.
Just based on my history and experience, if we weren’t using Productive now, and we’ve been using it for two and a half years—there’s a very good chance that whatever we would have wouldn’t be fitting all our needs right now. I’ve looked at other tools and I’ve seen how they work. We’d probably be integrating with other tools and that would be frustrating and time consuming.
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