A Forward-Thinking Approach
To support Henry Boot’s continued growth and forward-thinking approach to construction, their commercial leadership team wanted to digitise and advance their subcontractor Application for Payment processes.
With WebContractor, Henry Boot could connect easily to their existing supply chain using a scalable platform that will underpin further growth, and provide increased visibility and benefits for all stakeholders involved.
Starting as a one-man operation in Sheffield in 1886, Henry Boot has been a part of the UK construction industry for over 135 years. The Henry Boot group of companies now employs hundreds of people operating across construction, house building and commercial property development, land management, plant hire and highway operation and maintenance.
Henry Boot’s set of core values is integral to how they conduct business, including a forward-thinking ethos and a commitment to creating long-term value for members of their supply chain as they continue to grow and expand.
Operating with this mindset of continual improvement, the commercial team explored how technology could be utilised to improve and enhance subcontractor Application for Payment processes.
As Henry Boot continued to grow, working on more projects with additional subcontractors, commercial leadership wanted to adopt an approach that would scale with this growth, improving and streamlining the Application for Payment process, which at the time, was a more manual and time-consuming activity both internally and for their subcontractor community.
In addition to providing an optimised structure designed for future growth, there was also a desire to add further improvements to the process, recognising the importance that effective management of payment applications plays within a contractor’s business.
The team wanted to increase the overall visibility of Applications for Payment across the business, add a robust approval framework to their workflow, and ensure that vital supporting documentation, records, and notifications were stored and delivered in a timely manner to ensure compliance with the UK Construction Act and deliver on their commitment as signatories of the Prompt Payment code.
We had previously developed our own in house software to manage the payment process. The system lacked supply chain visibility, an auditable notice function and integration with our accounting software.
We decided to go into the market to obtain these features and capitalise on further developments.
After examining the options available within the market, Henry Boot Director, Ryan O'Loughlin and his team selected WebContractor as the solution to manage subcontractor application processes.
WebContractor has been built from the ground up to help contractors in the UK and Ireland manage and enhance their delivery of Applications for Payment. The innovative platform allows contractors of any size to digitise this process, so with over 12,000 connected subcontractors, Henry Boot could get a head-start on connecting their existing supply chain with a scalable foundation for further growth, which matched their desire for a flexible, future-proofed solution.
WebContractor can also be integrated into the contractor’s existing finance system, completely removing the need for the Henry Boot team to double key information and creating a more seamless flow right across the business, from subcontractor to commercial to finance.
We viewed a number of different payment systems before selecting WebContractor as our preferred system provider. WebContractor integrates into our accounting software and provides the senior commercial team with the appropriate visibility on payments, ensuring our teams remain compliant with the Construction Act.
Creating Long-Term Value
Another important factor in Henry Boot’s decision was the impact that the chosen solution would have on their supply chain - would it create value for them?
With an easy-to-use online portal and standardised submission process replacing multiple submission channels and documents, WebContractor would streamline the subcontractors’ application process and give them greater visibility of the status of their submissions.
It would also be delivered at no cost to subcontractors, with a managed onboarding service provided by WebContractor to walk them through sign-up and get them up and running with the system as quickly as possible, boosting their acceptance and underlining Henry Boot’s commitment to continuously improving key stakeholder relationships.
Increasing visibility, ensuring compliance
The WebContractor platform increased visibility for all stakeholders involved in the Application for Payment process, with information access tailored to their roles.
This offers Ryan a complete overview of what his QS team is currently dealing with, potential blockers, and what needs review and approval. The finance team is now always aware of the cash flow commitment associated with applications up to 90-days in advance, and can plan effectively.
WebContractor’s automated workflows ensure the delivery of all legally required notices in-line with the law. Timely notifications are sent to users, reminding them to action items, and ensuring applications can move smoothly from submission to payment.
Every application is tracked, and key documentation is stored online to provide a detailed history of each individual process, providing evidence of compliance if needed for review or audit.
WebContractor has been integral in the next phase of our digital transformation strategy. In addition to providing a robust Construction Act compliant process, it is an effective management tool, ensuring we maintain our average payment period below 28 days.
The team at Henry Boot now has a robust foundation to deliver an improved Application for Payment experience for all stakeholders; reducing business risk by ensuring legal compliance, removing the frustration, time and cost associated with previously manual tasks, and improving relationships with their supply chain through an easy to use and transparent payment process.
Since WebContractor’s integration, over 400 subcontractors have been successfully onboarded onto the Henry Boot platform (with more joining all the time), who now use the system to submit and track their applications across a variety of projects.
As Henry Boot continues to innovate and grow as a business, WebContractor is seen as a cornerstone of its digital strategy.