Case Study

How Prism Electric Uses SmartBarrel to Track Time with 700 Employees

Managing hundreds of employees across multiple states is a big job. Learn how Prism Electric uses SmartBarrel to make it easy.
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Prism Electric


Dallas, Texas


Commercial Electric




With over 700 employees between the office and the field, Prism Electric is one of the largest commercial electric contractors in Texas and Oklahoma. The company has been around since 1993, with a special focus in healthcare projects across the region.

Luke Harmon is an Electrical Engineer at Prism Electric. His unique background in the industry has enabled him to work on special projects that deliver business processes and business results for the company.

“My interest is not really in the technology itself, but yet the results of the technology. And so when seeking out partners, SmartBarrel was one of the obvious choices because of where we are trying to move: to create simple solutions for people so that we get very high quality, useful data.”


Time Tracking for 700 Employees

With hundreds of timesheets processed weekly, running payroll at Prism Electric is a monumental task. Prism is a specialty contractor with multiple locations and many projects going simultaneously. Individual team members change jobs frequently, making it difficult to manually document and assign labor hours per project.

Tracking employee time is a complicated task, but it’s essential to the long-term success of the company. Mistakes or delays in payroll affect employee morale and retention. No one likes to be underpaid or paid late. Unfortunately, as Prism grew, the weaknesses of manual time tracking systems were showing up frequently. When the team looked for areas of improvement, time tracking and payroll administration looked like low-hanging fruit, ripe for innovation.

“The craziest thing we do is we move people around between job sites. Sometimes we move people between job sites two times a day. And so the field supervisor doesn’t know who entered time and who didn’t. It seems like a really simple solution, but you can’t just solve it with a spreadsheet.”


The Importance of Accurate Data

Paying employees isn’t the only reason a large company like Prism collects employee time sheets. Prism’s project and executive teams rely on timesheet data for efficiency analysis and reporting. Understanding the status of every project is critical.


Prism's Path to CMiC

Prism Electric’s decision to switch to CMiC was part of a larger strategy to have a construction-specific project management solution. It had to be more than accounting software; they needed a complete business system with a central database to house their data.

“We knew that we really needed a construction specific project management solution. There are plenty of accounting systems out there. We really needed a business system… a central core database that really would house our data.”

After a thorough review and some expert help, Prism settled on CMiC as the best construction ERP for their business. For Luke, CMiC’s centralized database was like having an “easy button”. Rather than dealing with complicated IT systems, CMiC allowed them to focus on what they were really good at: construction.


Time Tracking Troubles

When switching to CMiC, the Prism Electric team initially chose to use the built-in time tracking solutions. This would keep the data all centralized.

CMiC offers two timekeeping solutions. For a business like Prism, this caused more confusion. Different employees were using different systems, resulting in an incomplete data model and a lot of inaccurate data. While CMiC’s solutions were high-tech, they didn’t solve the core problems that Luke and the team were experiencing with time tracking.

“Week one, when we went live, I had many people that double-entered time. The first week we were paying people double! We couldn’t figure out where we had double time, We’re just like ‘get people paid’. It was a nightmare.”

It was a difficult problem to solve. The Prism team had made the switch to CMiC to bring all of their data into one place. If they were going to move to a dedicated time-tracking system, it would need to integrate tightly with CMiC. With hundreds of time cards being turned in every day, manually exporting and importing data was not an option. The solution would have to be simple to use and integrate.

Faced with a decision, Luke thought back to a product they saw at the CMiC user conference: SmartBarrel, a hardware time-tracking solution, designed for construction job sites, which eliminates manual time cards and streamlines payroll. But would it work?


Simple Time Tracking with SmartBarrel

Luke reached out to the SmartBarrel team to help him present a case to the rest of Prism Electric. Adopting a change like this required more buy-in across the organization, and the SmartBarrel team was happy to help.

“It became evident that we really wanted a hardware solution. The time clock thing, it needed to be more than a clock in, clock out app. We really wanted something simple.”

Luke found what he needed with SmartBarrel. With the SmartBarrel device – you just take it out of the box and plug it in. With the AI-powered facial verification system, time card errors are a thing of the past. Clocking in and out is as simple as entering your phone number. The Prism payroll team has a timestamped record of every punch, automatically synced into the CMiC payroll system.

For Prism’s project leaders and executives, the SmartBarrel dashboard is just the right amount of simple. They can get everything they need, all from one screen. For more advanced analysis, the integration with Microsoft PowerBI makes it easy to dive deeper into the data and understand what’s happening on each job site.


Explaining The "Why"

Prism understood that with any new technology brought in, change is never easy. Especially with having 500 workers in the field working on different jobs and in different locations, there is no option to get everyone in the room for training.

“Change management is very difficult. And it’s not like you walk down the hall and talk to these guys. They’re all over.”

Luke knew that the best way to have a successful implementation was to explain the “why” to the team. Implementing software is one of the biggest challenges, but it can also be one of the biggest opportunities if you get it right. So when it’s done right, you can yield really great results.

Prism knew how important it was to have a simple solution to win over the field. If the solution has too many features or too many buttons or makes everyone have to download an app on their phone, it’s unlikely that you will get 100% accountability or usage.

SmartBarrel is proud to support Prism Electric as they continue to expand throughout the South Central states.

If you ask Luke, SmartBarrel is more than a vendor.

“I feel like we found a partnership relationship with Smart Barrel, where they were interested in helping us succeed.”

Find out what SmartBarrel can do for you