To remain competitive in today’s dynamic space, construction companies need to not only embrace new technologies, they must also keep up with emerging trends. While there are other valuable ways for a construction company to build and maintain their reputation, real success is measured by end-product quality and efficiency, and a building’s ability to endure the test of time.
But before any new structure, be it residential or commercial, opens its doors, years of critical project planning, budgeting, sourcing teams, materials, and more, goes into the mix.
How and when does an ERP system designed to serve the construction industry come into play? At what stage in the long, often convoluted process does ERP magically appear, or is it an integral part of the process at every stage?
Let’s take a closer look at how construction ERP serves this multi-billion-dollar global industry, to coin a phrase, literally, “from bottom to top” and the 5 value-added benefits of implementing ERP in the construction industry.
Prelude: Laying a strong foundation
Managing all the many elements in a complex construction project can be a real challenge. For starters, construction companies need full visibility and control of their materials, subcontractors, construction sites, and costs – to adhere to clients’ budgets, and to deliver quality projects on time, often with limited margins.
Deploying standalone software tools for construction activities, are a thing of the past. In a word, ERP software enables construction companies to eliminate tedious manual processes in often complex, multi-project tasks. ERP, with robust project management tools, can essentially control spending for raw materials, onsite and offsite workers and other project employees, dramatically reduce related IT expenses, and more.
Construction ERP is an integrated end-to-end solution designed to manage construction companies’ needs across the board, including general contractors, subcontractors, financial management, construction accounting, and service operations. A veritable mix of management optimization tools, construction ERP software helps maintain all the project information in a central, easily accessible location – all on a single platform.
The merits of project planning
Strategic project planning is the cornerstone of every construction project, no matter its size or scope. From the get-go, rigorous project planning helps standardize and optimize each and every process, from start to finish. An ERP software with robust project planning modules and functionality enables contractors to predefine operational budgets, project delivery schedules and milestones, raw materials, and no less important, manpower.
Where today’s construction companies often handle multiple complex projects from a host of different clients, automated construction ERP project planning tools are essential in managing budget and resource allocations. After assessing, envisioning, concluding, and skillfully planning a construction project, can successful project implementation begin, where in turn, visions and plans become reality.
A single data source
The central feature of all ERP systems for all industry sectors, is a shared database, a central data repository that supports multiple functions, and can be easily accessed by various business units and project teams. By centralizing and automating real-time, always up-to-date operational business information, construction companies can reduce manual errors, duplicate data entries, and avoid costly mistakes that can potentially slow down or drive a project to a halt.
For construction companies handling a multitude of projects and clients at any one time, an ERP system’s single data source helps make the exchange and sharing of information, smooth, easy, and seamless. What’s more, an ERP system provides high-level data security, enabling organization to define permission-based authorization levels for all system users. Further, construction ERP software automates data tracking, enabling managers to monitor project status, delegate tasks according to scheduling and budgetary needs, manage the supply and delivery of raw materials, and share information with all stakeholders in the supply chain.
Project Costs: Taking the guesswork out of the equation
Without exception, across all industry sectors, it’s “customers first,” whereby organizations do their utmost to meet their customers’ requirements and no less important, their expectations. In the construction industry, appeasing clients’ individual needs, especially when it comes to project costs, can be a tall order. An ERP system essentially takes the guesswork out of construction project cost proposals, enabling project managers to generate accurate price quotations based on comprehensive insights and analyses.
ERP software renders the quote generation process exceedingly easier, offering tools and functionality that allows managers to integrate all aspects of a given project, beyond manpower and raw materials. Generate project budgets, and closely monitor and track project costs and profitability, create detailed budget and costing based on real-time operational and financial data integrated into the ERP, and manage entire strategic, operational and financial planning generated by real-time data insights and forecasting tools inside the system.
Decisions, decisions, decisions
To support improved and timely decision-making, construction ERP enables organizations to effectively analyze their actual business environment, to build more strategic project plans, and better track and measure their progress. Construction ERP software provides comprehensive insights, real-time visibility into day-to-day operations, to make better informed business decisions at every stage in the project lifecycle.
Accurate analysis and assessment of raw materials, labor requirements and project timelines and milestones are vitally important for construction companies to effectively control resources both on and off construction sites. Valuable insights driven by an ERP system’s real-time data access prior to making business decisions, improves operational efficiency, lowers project downtime, and helps project managers make better informed operational and budgetary decisions that can result in a leaner, more streamlined project, and in turn, a happier client.
What about that bottom line?
When it comes to achieving ROI, in all industry sectors, and in particular, in the construction industry, return on investment is not only measured in terms of dollars and cents. While ROI is the disclaimer for measuring project returns and comparing them with other potential investments a company can make, ERP ROI can be used to establish a construction project’s cost-efficiency, and help validate the initial decision made to invest in it.
All contractors strive to increase their ROI. That’s the nature of their business. Simply put, ROI can essentially be realized much more easily with an ERP system. An ERP automates business operations, eliminating the need for manual process when carrying out repetitive, cumbersome tasks. This in turn, saves construction companies valuable time and resources, enabling them to focus on their strategic operations – and grow their business, instead of endlessly crunching data.
When it comes to implementing an ERP system in any vertical industry, the widespread benefits and added value are clear across all sectors. But in the complex and dynamic construction industry, rarely will one find standalone applications or legacy business management software. The construction industry in particular, is powered by advanced technologies, and substantial investments sustainable solutions to enable growth and expansion. A comprehensive ERP system gives today’s contractors the tools they need to drive efficiency, process transparency, and project and cost management on every job. In a market that is intensely competitive, and dependent on enormous investments vs profit margins, if they haven’t done so already, ERP is one sound investment that every construction company make.
To learn more about onboarding ERP in your organization, contact us for a no-obligation call with one of our ERP implementation experts.