Construction procurement software company takes the Kojo name and expands its functionality
San Francisco-based Agora Systems, the leading provider of purchasing management software for construction contractors, this week announced its new name – Kojo – and a host of new features and support for new trade contractor disciplines.
During a debriefing call with ForConstructionPros, Kojo co-founder and CEO Maria Rioumin explained how the company, which according to a statement has already quadrupled its year-over-year recurring revenue, was now in a position to further drive procurement and the supply chain. value to more building disciplines.
Kojo software functionality supports construction procurement processes from start-up to close-out.
“Today our customer base foremen use the Kojo mobile app to create their requisitions. It gives them tools such as pre-approved material lists if a project has a specific specification or list of approved items” , said Ryumin. “In addition, we have a catalog of 400,000 categorized parts to make it easy to find what they need. Project managers use the Kojo desktop to request a quote, which makes it easy to add multiple vendors so those vendors can upload availability and pricing. Field teams also use us for delivery, to ensure that what they have ordered has arrived. If not, they can use Kojo to notify the buying agent to fix it. »
Kojo also supports trade contractors in planning larger buyouts that help reduce unit prices and save money in the medium term.
“Many contractors are constantly buying materials but not sure if they are getting the best deal,” Riumin said. “They’re worried about the cost of building inventory to support growth and the lack of a standardized process across projects…if we can help them save 10% on every $200,000 buyout, it adds up.”
The software has standard interfaces with construction enterprise resource planning (ERP) software packages ranging from ComputerEase, Viewpoint Vista and Viewpoint Spectrum (both now part of Trimble Construction One), Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, Sage 100 Contractor, Quickbooks Online and Procore.
Procurement software for more contractors
“When we started, we were only for electrical contractors,” said Rioumin. “Now we are growing in all major trades: mechanical, electrical, plumbing, concrete, drywall, glazing, roofing, flooring, self-employed general contractors. We bring to all trades the savings that our customers of electrical contractors have already achieved.
Kojo will have a large addressable market and should be within reach of most specialty entrepreneurs given that Rioumin said the software is suitable for entrepreneurs ranging from $5 million in revenue to around $1 billion.
“If they trade, have a purchasing department and fall under the big trades we work on, we can help them take control of the supply,” said Rioumin. “We are constantly building products for more and more new trades.”
Accounts Payable, Project Level Planning and Warehouse Management
New features make the new Kojo a more comprehensive and expansive solution than was the case under the Agora name. The net new feature includes:
- Accounts Payable: to help contractors ensure they are paying the correct amount and reconcile their invoices with their receipts and order acknowledgments
- Project-level planning: to track their performance against their estimates for funding versus quantities used
- Warehouse management: To confirm the arrival of a materials order in a warehouse, record what comes in and goes out and allocate specific materials to jobs as they are removed.
These features may be available separately as non-construction-specific products, but contractors may benefit more from industry-specific tools integrated into their procurement workflows.
“Most of our customers don’t want to use a generic warehouse management system (WMS),” said Rioumin. “They are not designed for contractors and are not affordable for most of our customers. Our warehouse functionality is specifically designed for trade contractors. Once they complete the initial setup, they can check materials directly into the warehouse. »
At this point, warehouse functionality is not supported by automated data capture like barcode scanning or radio frequency identification (RFID), but that may be on the roadmap according to Rioumin. .
“Our project-level planning tool allows our clients to upload their bill of material (BOM) and get real-time visibility into how their spend is tracking against the original bill of materials,” Rioumine said. “What we heard over and over was that they had little visibility into how much they were spending with different types of vendors, on different types of materials, or on different projects. Spending today is a box black and it’s hard to see if they’ve spent the same amount against their estimate or against other projects. Contractors want to see how much they’re spending at all times. We track this in real time as we go. as they submit and place their purchase orders, who then track them against the purchase schedule. We give them the ability to set up project-level planning, and if prices have gone up, they can buy more in advance. But a big thing for our clients is big buyouts, where they then want to track to see how much they get out of what they expected.
Software price and return on investment
Kojo is sold by subscription as a shared SaaS (software as a service) product and is provisioned on Amazon Web Services (AWS). The subscription price is based on the income of the entrepreneur combined with the number of products or modules. The subscription price includes implementation and training. Contractors can be up and running on Kojo quite quickly, anywhere from a few days to three weeks, with the biggest determining factor being the ERP package it needs to integrate with.
“We have sales engineers who help the customer through the early stages, then after the sales process the customer is handed over to an implementation manager, who makes sure the validation of the integration goes smoothly. clashes. We assign them to a customer success manager,” said Rioumin, noting that each customer has a designated customer success representative.
The cost of the subscription can be liquidated by reductions in a number of internal and external cost centers.
“First, these are just monetary savings,” said Riumin. “How many of you frequently receive multiple quotes before buying? How far in advance do you buy? There are measurable benefits to making redemptions earlier. We can give examples of customers saving millions of dollars a year by making larger buyouts, fixing prices and getting multiple quotes from suppliers. How much time do field teams spend searching for materials? And then there are office time savings: how much time is spent manually reconciling invoices? How much time do purchasing teams spend managing by phone, email and Excel? How long does it take to enter things into your accounting system? »
Introducing modern efficiencies in procurement can also help entrepreneurs win the war for talent, according to Rioumin.
“Many of the contractor teams we work with try to recruit people who grew up with computers in their pockets, using Amazon, and are used to being able to track when a delivery happens. Kojo will help an entrepreneur attract and retain those people who have modern expectations of how technology supports their work. »