Canadian home builders haven’t experi-enced as severe a downturn as U.S. builders, but Brandon Campbell, sales manager for Starward Homes in the Toronto metro area, says that’s no excuse to stay complacent.

For Campbell, to stay competitive today, he says builders need to cut paperwork costs, run the production process more efficiently, and improve the customer experience.

One of the best ways to reach these goals, says Campbell, is by deploying the latest software technology. Starward Homes has opted for best-of-breed technologies from Sales Simplicity (sales software); Builder MT (production management/workflow); Sage Timberline Office (accounting); and Corrigo (warranty management).

Builders have long waited for a single system to ­accomplish all of their goals, and while there are some options that handle most of the tasks, such as products from Constellation, Reflex, and Mark ­Systems, many builders have decided that integrating best-of-breed products is the most efficient option.

Many home builders like that they can add modules over time, absorbing the costs over several months, even years.

“I like the way the different companies work ­together,” says Campbell. “And if it ever comes to pass that one of the partners needs to be replaced, it doesn’t mean that I have to pull apart the entire ­system,” he adds.

Starward’s goal is to slash paper costs by automating work orders and purchase orders; operate more efficiently through a trade portal that posts schedules, documents, and invoices; and improve customer relations by having a sales and warranty system that offers customers accurate information in real time.

Campbell says builders should budget about $250,000 for a similar software project.

Good Start: Sales software from Sales Simplicity serves as the front end to a complete best-of-breed home builder management system Starward Homes plans to implement by spring 2009.