Tim Schaeffer Commu-nities, a custom builder in southern New Jersey, has long been a paragon of integrating IT solutions into its business model. But since the housing crunch has put a full-court press on builders, the company is reaching further into its IT toolkit to weather the storm.

“I’ve had to cut back in terms of human resources like everyone else,” acknowledges company president Jason Schaeffer. “But during that process, we can bring on technology that keeps us on pace and actually streamlines operations.”

Tim Schaeffer Communities runs Timberline accounting and estimating for its back-office systems. For sales, it uses Sales Simplicity, and for linking these systems together and driving the critical path of the home building process, the company employs BuilderMT’s Workflow Management Suite. Running throughout this infrastructure is BuilderMT’s BPM software, acting as a mediator to create unique customizations as needed. For instance, if a dumpster has to be ordered and its cost spread over three subcontractors, the icon-based BPM allows the order to be assembled in a drag-and-drop manner.

“Software doesn’t replace people. It eliminates people doing redundant tasks,” says Schaeffer.

The next phase of IT buildout is the company’s new trade portal, through which all of the builder’s 50-plus vendors will receive purchase orders and scheduling data once they log in. The most recent addition is the ability to attach documentation. “Everything is focused on streamlining, and a well-integrated IT system is the best tool you can have,” Schaeffer concludes.