In 2005, Las Vegas–based American West Development was wrestling with a mishmash of operational management programs that required work—such as manual data entry—that sometimes led to errors and poorer customer service.
At the time, Richard Kashian, CEO of Simpad (which he sold in May 2011 to Berkshire Hathaway), showed the builder a demonstration video of an integrated system that Woburn, Mass.-based Kova Solutions, another systems provider that Kashian co-owns, had developed a year earlier.
Kova’s system allows builders to control their businesses—sales and marketing, finance, construction, warranties—from a single Web-enabled database that follows prospective buyers from contract to completion. The system tracks changes along the way, so all stakeholders—employees, home buyers, trades, suppliers—can keep tabs on workflow. “Kova has developed software that lets participants work from the same database,” says Jouko Vakiparta, Kova’s CEO.
American West became one of Kova’s first clients. “Originally we intended to use the software for sales and marketing but saw the benefits of putting our entire company on one system,” says Kendra Saffle, American West’s Kova Solutions’ project manager. Between 2007 and 2011, Denver-based Oakwood Homes has been integrating Kova’s system throughout its operations and communities, and has managed to eliminate two sales support positions, two accounting department positions, and eight customer care positions (which contractors now handle).
The system’s greatest asset, though, might be its WebPro interface that allows buyers to select models and options, information that streams to all company departments.
Kova has a mobile application for BlackBerry devices, is bringing out one for Android this fall, and is "looking at" developing an app for the iPhone, says Christine O’Shaughnessy, Kova’s marketing director. Vakiparta foresees Kova expanding its suite of products to land development, which “would complete the package,” says Saffle.