Construction Bonds, Inc. – the firm's name says it all. This northern Virginia-based agency focuses on bonds for construction companies, with an emphasis on helping smaller contractors get their foot in the door. CBI is growing rapidly, with a fivefold increase in revenues in its first four years of business. To accommodate this exceptional growth and maintain a quality product, CBI needed to streamline as many processes as possible. After deploying the first generation of iAutomate: Erlon Surety in 2007, in early 2008 CBI upgraded to the most recent, web-based version of the surety workflow automation software with ease.
The on-site training began a new era of satisfaction with Erlon.
John Hughes and Alice Thomas launched the business in 2003, recognizing the no-man's land between bonds less than $250,000, approved solely on personal credit, and those over several millions of dollars – out of reach of start-up contractors. They focused on helping this market using the bond guarantee program administered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) since the 1970s. "This program lets the contractor get a toehold to compete," says Thomas. "We work with them to help them get their first bond, and after that, a whole world opens up for them."
Contractors that graduate out of the SBA program into the open market are loyal to Construction Bonds, Inc., which has led to rapid growth for their agency. CBI investigated technology options to help streamline workflow and manage growth.
iAutomate: Erlon Surety emerged from all possible options.
Attending the 2007 Erlon User Group Conference, Thomas saw the enthusiasm of agents using the first generation software, and felt their excitement at the demo of the web-based version.
She decided to further her company's commitment to the product and invested in on-site training for her and her staff.
The results are significant for the whole team at Construction Bonds, Inc., enabling them, as Thomas says, "to let the technology do the work rather than just hiring more people."
Features that set iAutomate: Erlon Surety above competitive products:
- Improved accuracy – Because iAutomate: Erlon Surety automates all the steps in the surety bond workflow process, the agency has slashed the time and errors by significantly reducing the rekeying of data. Information flows smoothly from the centralized database to generate invoices, correspondence, and populate all contractor files. In addition, iAutomate: Erlon Surety calculates premiums accurately every time, especially important after multiple change orders or modifications.
- Ease of use – The newly designed interface for the web-based version of iAutomate: Erlon Surety is easy to navigate, with point-and-click options streamlining all steps and transactions. "The iAutomate: Erlon Surety user interface is easy to use and flexible, with more pointing and clicking rather than opening and closing a lot of windows and documents," says Thomas.
- One-stopshop – iAutomate: Erlon Surety automates the entire workflow process, and is an address book, scheduler, correspondence generator, premium calculator, and bond generator, all in one package. In addition, Construction Bonds, Inc. can check bid results with a click of a button, enabling the team to keep track of each contractor's bond lines and ensuring they are bidding for jobs within their limits.
- Paperless – Because it's so easy to gather information from iAutomate: Erlon Surety, it enables Construction Bonds, Inc. to fulfill its goal of being a paperless office. "We can pull up information very quickly from the surety for the contractor, the job, or the competition," says one of the company's producers.
- Easy forms generation – By incorporating iAutomate: SmartForms, Construction Bonds Inc. has streamlined its forms generation processes along with its bonding workflow.
The team at Construction Bonds, Inc. feels rewarded for its renewed efforts to deploy iAutomate: Erlon Surety. "Once we upgraded to the web-based version and got the proper training, the investment is bearing very happy fruit," says Thomas. "iAutomate: Erlon Surety is a one-stop shop for what we are supposed to be doing, and when we are supposed to do it."