SPARK Business Works: Delivering Custom Digital Solutions

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Robert Armbrister, President and CEO
The construction space is no stranger to the age-old ‘one size fits all’ approach to software development, which does not necessarily suffice the multi-fold requirements organizations could have within the industry. They are, instead, bound by solutions that do not provide either the flexibility or the versatility needed for varied construction projects. “Every construction project could be different from the last,” begins Robert Armbrister, CEO and President of SPARK Business Works. “And, every firm does things a bit differently in the construction space.” Taking into consideration such variations in the planning and execution of tasks, customized solutions have not only become the need of the hour but also the differentiating factor that would set firms apart from the competition.

SPARK Business Works is one such organization that provides custom digital solutions to the construction industry. “We have an array of products and services that allow companies from two people to 2000 people to be set up and have that platform customized to the exact needs of their organization,” states Armbrister. Brought to life in 2017, Armbrister’s firm has earned a distinction in the market for their ability to walk in the shoes of their clients and understand the relevant pain points associated with their businesses. For instance, maintaining timesheets for employees is an integral part of every construction firm’s proceedings. However, maintaining pen and paper-based timesheets and later copying the data into a computerized system is not only time-consuming and cumbersome but can also result in accounting errors. Coupled with inefficient timesheet management are other roadblocks such as double booking of employees, missed schedules, material and labor overruns, improper forecasting, and missed margins that can make any construction firm’s journey an arduous one. SPARK’s customized software is a one-stop-shop that removes these roadblocks for efficient business operations.

The company creates dashboards that provide insights into weekly and monthly targets, project estimates, field data collection, equipment and material tracking, work orders, bills, and payments. It efficiently automates these processes and integrates with ERP, accounting systems, or payrolls. As a result, the clients do not have to make substantial changes to their previously running systems.

SPARK has designed a foundation platform with multiple modules purpose-built for planning and executing construction jobs.


We can look at their whiteboard, talk to their employees, understand what they need, and develop solutions that are going to get better adoption


“We call it semi-custom, but clients receive the benefits of a fully-custom solution at a much lower price-point owing to its modularity,” notes Armbrister. He further informs that the company’s customized software costs around 25 percent of what a traditional software would cost the clients.

Citing an example to illustrate their merits and proficiencies, Armbrister speaks about a mechanical contracting firm that managed its purchase orders by pen, paper, and spreadsheets for almost a century. As the client’s company grew, they noticed that such an outdated strategy proved incompetent and cumbersome in the 21st century, ultimately paving the way for a collaboration with SPARK.

Working with the firm, SPARK developed a new internal application that provided four unique Purchase Order(PO) templates based on how the client’s work was managed. In the first month of implementation, over 1,000 POs were processed. Furthermore, the Project Manager/Project Assistant could select the correct version, push enter, and the PO would be updated as the job progressed. Besides, the workforce was notified about updates in real-time, allowing the client to visualize business-critical functions.

With many such success stories to its name, SPARK has grown at a tremendous pace in the last three years, upholding the ideology of delivering quality work, on time. A noteworthy aspect of the organization is that about 98 percent of its customers come through referrals. Building upon this pedestal, the Michigan-based firm has plans of expanding its business to several other locations in the US, with a reasoning to create teams that are in close proximities to clients. “We can look at their whiteboard, talk to their employees face to face, understand what they need, and develop solutions that are going to get better adoption,” concludes Armbrister.

Company
SPARK Business Works

Headquarters
Kalamazoo, MI

Management
Robert Armbrister, President and CEO

Description
SPARK Business Works builds custom software for clients to improve their businesses by streamlining processes, automating tasks, and delivering data to decision-makers

SPARK Business Works