Construction ERP implementation: What to expect

construction erp

Blog Written By | ERPFocus

What to expect when you implement a new construction ERP

Typical management expectations associated with construction ERP systems range from “so what” to “wow, this is certainly going to be a lot different.” However, as a practical matter, when considering the technical side alone, implementing a construction-specific ERP is not much different from implementing any other ERP, although from then on, things become atypical quite quickly.

As a direct systems comparison, construction versus ‘vanilla’ ERP design tends to behave differently in two critical ways. The first relates to project accounting as the preeminent financial mechanism, and the other regards the holistic acceptance of “project management” processes as the guiding and subjective operational framework whenever a user deals with an internal/external resource.

These more esoteric characteristics also harbor discrete areas of interest, such as an ability to manage equipment and project labor elements simultaneously, and in real-time; and/or the direct integration and calculation of union costs throughout an entire project schedule. Consequently, construction ERP requires an alternative recognition of how things work end-to-end, and as a result, this impact tends to change one’s expectation matrix considerably.

That said, then, what should a user prepare for when shifting to a construction ERP?

Functionalities to expect

To start, it’s fairly important to understand just what elements are typically included in these platforms to give you a sense of what’s likely to come at you.

Recommended Reading: ERPFocus’s 9 step guide to implementation success. 

Integrated elements associated with construction ERP platforms typically encompass the following:

  • Administrative project management: Documentary and workflow papers that support an entire project infrastructure, in addition to the management, and indexing and storage of all RFIs, RFPs, drawings, and any other auditable materials.
  • Project execution: Direct control, development, and management of all resources and scheduling including; task milestones, task budgeting, and internal-project billing.
  • Service management:  Dispatch and manage all mobility-adept services and equipment assets in real-time.
  • Reports and analysis: comprehensive reporting throughout a given project infrastructure.
  • Labor management: Human resources lists, time cards, other relevant FTE or sub-contractor elements, in addition to end-to-end project productivity management.
  • HR and payroll: Automated time, tax, fringe, misc human resources processes, in addition to certification and union cost reporting.
  • Business development: Lead trapping, identification, indexing and outreach processes.

Again, note the priority of modules and their various orientations to the premise of ERP as a project-based operational value. In most vanilla systems the resources themselves typically drive the systems cart, while the modules simply support the value; but in the construction world, the overall project’s visibility represents the first and foremost guidepost throughout.

Consequently, many users who move from a vanilla system to a construction ERP have problems with this focus change, since if appropriate levels of data aren’t applied and categorized properly upfront, then the system cannot find necessary core elements downstream and ultimately fails to create meaningful information at the project reporting level.

How best to implement a construction ERP

This fix is simple, if not a bit tedious. Before you populate your platform with baseline data, at minimum, attempt to ensure you create a paper version of what your project will encompass, including all suggested project task dependencies such as; human resources, a complete matrix of task lists, all proposed project equipment, detailed cost analyses throughout, comprehensive project schedules, and anything else you can think of.

The goal here is to create a representative, and easily reviewed model that acknowledges and showcases every construction project component, and therefore, ensures that all of the necessary pegs are clearly identified, accounted for, and placed properly within the system’s operational framework.

The thought of leaving your legacy system behind can feel overwhelming, but the idea came about because our current system is probably not meeting your business needs. Dynamics 365 Business Central is an ERP solution that can grow with your business. It is adaptable, easy to use, and well, dynamic! Implementing a new ERP system with current and legacy data, customizing the system and modules to your needs, etc. is no small task. Contact allonline365 to help you through this process. Call us on  +27 (21) 205 3650 or email us on  info@allonline365.com.

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Construction Industry: Promote Business Growth

construction

Written by | ERPFocus

3 construction ERP modules that promote business growth

Most people tend to think of ERP as a management and control tool. Construction ERP helps us manage subcontractor payments. It helps keep the project moving toward on-time completion. It allows better control over accepted and pending change orders. But why stop there? We can also use the same ERP to grow our construction business.

1.  Supplier relationship management (SRM)

Supplier relationship management (SRM) is one such ERP component. Sending simple feedback to a subcontractor goes a long way toward keeping that relationship strong. The same feedback can be sent to material suppliers too. And don’t forget the crane operator – he might be the first to learn of a new project where you might get in on the ground floor ahead of any competition.

We all prefer to do business with people we like and trust. Make sure subs and suppliers like and trust you by ensuring communication channels are open and active. Report on their performance. Remember their anniversary in business. Use construction ERP to maintain a positive dialogue with suppliers and your supply-demand balance will be easier to maintain.

2.  Customer relationship management (CRM)

Customer relationship management (CRM) is another useful construction ERP feature for construction companies. CRM is generally used when preparing new quotes, but it can also be used to grow your business.  If your ERP CRM contains a sales pipeline, you can manage each client or project according to their proximity to a closed deal.

You can also use ERP CRM modules to maintain contact with owners and developers just as we discussed for suppliers above. Let them know of your successes, wherever they are. Let them know of business developments and new techniques your team is comfortable with. Tell them when your company or project managers have earned a new certification. Congratulate them on their success too – even if you were not apart of those projects. Make sure you know of their plans for any future construction. Again, maintaining this dialogue will pay dividends when the bidding process begins.

3.  Project management (PM)

You already use project management (PM) to track milestones. Now you can use it to generate billings for progress payments. ERP project management modules help you avoid problems on the job. Think back to any job in the past. There were times you missed an opportunity to complete work ahead of schedule. You missed opportunities to avoid costs that were in the original bid. These opportunities will present themselves again in the future, and an ERP which produces comprehensive schedules, daily logs, and documentation can help you capitalize on all of them.

All your construction ERP modules have two edges. Keep both of these edges sharp, and use them to manage your business today and grow for tomorrow.

Whether its CRM, ERP, SRM, or PM; allonline365 can help you implement your ERP solution. We will offer advice and guidance on the best modules to include at an affordable price. Call allonline365 on +27 (21) 205 3650 or email  info@allonline365.com to speak to one of our consultants.

Construction ERP: Ask these questions before jumping in

construction erp benefits

Blog Written By | ERPFocus

7 Questions you should ask your Construction ERP Vendor

You are in the construction business. Your company is growing; you have added many employees; you think you are ready to bid on bigger and more profitable work now. You need a control system and think construction ERP might be a good tool to own and use. How do you focus your thoughts and select the right one? Here are a few starter questions to get you going.

1.  Does the construction ERP system fit your unique business?

The construction industry is broad. You could build roads or dams or buildings. You could be a general contractor or specialty contractor. There are many specialties and often there are unique requirements for a particular business.

2.  Will ERP provide the controls you need?

You bid on and won a contract for a scope of work. You estimated costs and time for each piece of that work. How well are you performing? There will be additional work during the project. Can you keep that added work identified and bill for the add-ons as the project moves to completion? Will the system help provide progress billings that meet the requirements of the owner and the bank?

3.  Can it coordinate work with other contractors on the job?

You need to schedule work along with other players; will construction ERP help plan that work? You might want drawings and other documents attached to the ERP for a single source of all your data. Those drawings can be yours as well as those of other specialties. Can your shortlisted ERP vendors provide this?

4.  Will the ERP help union requirements?

Many contractors use union workers, often members of several unions on a particular job. Each union has its own requirements for reporting and your construction ERP should be able to help.

5.  Will ERP help with government requirements?

Are you working with government contracts? Every government unit connected will want some degree of control over the project. Can the construction ERP system help with environmental reporting or local tax reporting? You need that kind of help.

6.  How well can the system work wirelessly?

Your servers are back at the office. Your workers and all the transactions are on a job site. Management at home needs information. Management at the job site needs information. This could be a critical requirement unless you want to stay in the past.

7.  How will the ERP help win more bids?

You need the next job. If you can document assumptions you made along with feedback regarding your bid and others, you can use that knowledge to help you win your next bid.

There are so many more questions to be asked when selecting a construction ERP system, but these should set you on the right choice to selecting the right construction ERP. To get more guidance and information on the right system for your business, contact allonline365  +27 (21) 205 3650 or  info@allonline365.com.

www.allonline365.com

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