“By allowing project managers to generate their own invoices, we’ve probably saved five days a month overall with just that benefit.”

Jo Garretty | Director, Salt³

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Jo Garretty — Salt³

More time for service

Salt³, one of Australia’s only specialist traffic engineering and waste engineering consultancies, is in the hands of mover ‘n’ shaker, director Jo Garretty. Jo’s sprinkling firmly in the direction of customer relationships, with service at the forefront of everything they do.

“It’s enjoyable going out meeting clients and architects — everyone’s excited about the projects because some of the projects that we do are amazing. I mean, they win awards and they look great. And you sort of sometimes forget the end product.

“Because I think [our work] is about relationships with the clients. Definitely. If you don’t have any clients, then you’ve got no work to do.

“Then processes as well. I know sometimes people don’t like doing invoicing and that kind of thing, but you just need to keep on top of that and using systems. I think streamlining time as well — if you save time on admin with the right systems and processes, you free up time to grow the business. That’s ultimately time put back into service.”

Role/s in the business

“The business actually started in regional Victoria about five years ago. I joined, and then we opened an office in Melbourne and about three years after that we opened an office in Sydney. We service all across Victoria and also New South Wales, and we also do projects in South Australia, Tasmania, and Queensland. So, our clients range from local government to state government to private developers, and we’ve got this team here of 12 to 14 people — we offer ourselves as a boutique firm.

“When it started Salt³ was two directors, and then a couple of years ago I took over as the sole director. Since then I’ve established a leadership team, so we’ve got all of our senior staff to make decisions about business and mentoring the junior staff. I still do project work but a lot of other things take up my time, like running the business, business development, managing staff, and all those other bits and pieces that have to happen behind the scenes.”

Autonomous project managers

“We wanted to get people in the team becoming their own project manager and invoicing as well. The other programs [we tried] didn’t really allow that, it was all managed through one or two admin people arranging all the invoices and sending them out. It just took up a lot of time. The reporting side of it was limited as well.”

Detailed invoicing

“Because we’re engineers, the way we invoice traffic and waste can be very intricate because some of the projects aren’t massive. Sometimes it’s not a lump sum fee, sometimes we have time and expense or we might have a combined invoice that has a lump sum but then a time expense component. We’re also combining the waste and the traffic invoices in one, often.”

Core Synergy features used by Jo

Time saved as a result

“We use Synergy daily, for different reasons. Most people enter their timesheets daily — everyone would have it open every day.

“Then it also gives flexibility to project managers to go in and generate and draft invoices — so, say they close up a project, they can draft the invoice for approval at any time so we don’t have to wait until the end of the month, for example.

“Before, it was basically an entire, full-time admin role, and now it still is as a final step, but it would probably only take up five days per month.”

With Synergy cloud software Salt³ have managed a time saving of 75% on their administration. That’s non-billable time cut by three quarters. That’s more time for service, and more time for design.

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How Salt³ shook up their engineering firm with industry-specific management software






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