ERP for the Manufacturing and Utility Industries
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Construction Software Guide

How to choose the ideal construction software for your company.

An increasing number of successful construction companies gain their competitive edge by using Construction Software programs to increase productivity and efficiency. The most powerful of them are Enterprise Resource Planning software, or ERP, specializing in the Construction Industry.

An ERP software helps construction companies integrate several aspects of project management. Project leaders monitor construction teams, assets, and expenses both on-site and remotely. They perform job cost analysis and provide live updates to stakeholders on the progress of any project. They also manage shipments, orders, and material usage or buyouts. Construction companies using a Construction ERP software can track assets from beginning to end of a project. The software provides them team and asset scheduling management and records all provider activity.

ERP Software for Construction

When it comes to accounting needs, an ERP software simplifies the financial reporting and analysis of any company. It tracks cash flow, creates payment schedules, organizes vendor and transaction information, and records all customer activity. Companies also have the ability to monitor profitability throughout an entire project using various accounting reports.

The most advanced ERP Software also ensure repeat business through their advanced CRM programs. Construction companies guarantee repeat business through automated strategy and prompting for lead follow-ups generated from a record of past bids and sales.

As explained above, an ERP Software encompasses every single aspect of your business, from sales to project management, inventory, and accounting. But what are the benefits for your business? And features do you absolutely need when selecting your Construction Software? This is what we will discuss below.

    1. Which Aspects of My Business Are Included in a Construction Software?
    2. What Are the Benefits of a Construction Software?
    3. What Are The Best Features of a Construction Software?
    4. Cost of a Construction Software
    5. ABIS ERP Software for the Construction Industry

1. Which Aspects of My Business Are Included in a Construction Software?

Managing your construction company is a 24/7 job. You’re running between job sites, managing inventories, ordering supplies, keeping track of employees, and meeting with customers. Wouldn’t it be nice to automate some of these functions? To have information available to you or your project managers, anytime, anywhere? An ERP – enterprise resource planning – software designed specifically for the construction industry just may be the new tool you need to support your business and keep it growing strong.

What is an ERP?

Enterprise resource planning (“ERP”) is a “process by which a company manages and integrates the important part of its business. An ERP management information system integrates areas such as planning, purchasing, inventory, sales, marketing, finance, and human resources.” (Investopedia) An ERP software takes into account all aspects of your business and integrates them for streamlined management. When catered to the construction industry, it becomes a Construction Software capable of handling every facet of your company, from project management to cost analysis, inventory count, and workforce scheduling.

How Can an ERP Software Designed for the Construction Industry Help Your Business?

An ERP software is designed to provide a single point solution for managing multiple aspects of your business. In the construction industry, it means that you will be able to control everything from project management to cost management, and from human resources to customer relations.

  • Project Management: Efficiently and accurately track project milestones, tasks and resources. Your construction software will allow you to set and manage a budget for each phase of the project, and monitor your labor, materials, subcontractors, expenses and overhead costs.
  • Cost Management and Accounting: Plan and control business and project budgets. Anticipate future expenditures and reduce your risk of going over budget. Manage all aspects of accounting, including accounts receivable and accounts payable.
  • Procurement and Tracking Materials: Manage inventory levels, costs, prices, transactions, and inventory locations. Request and collect bids, archive quotes, and manage orders and material buyouts.
  • Human Resources: Easily manage your mobile workforce and field employees. Managers and supervisors can manage time billing for office and field employees and perform other HR functions either in the office or in the field.
  • Customer Relationship Management: Maintain and access customer information anytime. Software manages customer data, interactions, business information and sales, as well as managing business prospects.

2. What are the Benefits of a Construction Software?

Enterprise resource planning (ERP) management information system software for the construction industry integrates and automates all of the various aspects of the construction business to organize, plan and estimate projects, providing managers with more end-to-end control of the process, and more seamless workflows.  The ERP software “integrates areas such as planning, purchasing, inventory, sales, marketing, finance, and human resources.” (Investopedia) The efficiency gained through an ERP software promotes higher project efficiency, reduced waste, and reduced cost.

Ten Benefits of Construction Software

1. Centralize Data and Documents

ERP software maintains all data and documents in one centralized, secure place. All project data is easily accessible, and produces an audit trail of all project changes. Better manage project documents, RFIs, transmittals, submittals, and submittal packages as well as project plans, checklists and daily field reports. No more wondering where documents are filed – all are at your fingertips.

2. Improved Accuracy and Resource Planning

When entering a project, an ERP can automatically create a job budget and billing schedule and automate the purchasing process. Based upon historical data, the software provides an accurate cost estimate of the project, including necessary labor, materials, and equipment required at the site – and when. Just-in-time deliveries allow for less waste and fewer re-supply delays. By managing the multitude of details, tasks are less likely to fall through the cracks, and are taken to completion.

3. Cost Control

Track and manage the contracts, budget status and change-orders for each project and deal with project overruns as they occur. Access to real-time financial data for each project allows more timely and efficient decision-making.

4. Improved Project Management

Dashboards reflect real-time information on the current status of all projects and next steps. Improve quality and efficiency by anticipating and resolving issues before they become major problems.

5. Risk Management

ERP software helps companies abide by the stringent OSHA rules and construction requirements through alerts, due dates and documentation to ensure requirements are met in a thorough and timely manner, increasing the safety of employees and decreasing the risk to the business.

6. Efficient Service Delivery

Streamline operations and promote efficiency and quality through an integrated approach that allows for greater agility. When the architects, designers, project managers, builders, sub-contractors and tradesmen follow the same system until completion, communication and collaboration increases among all stakeholders.

7. Improved Quality

The natural overflow of an integrated effort is decreased delays, fewer mistakes, and greater communication among all stakeholders, resulting in greater project quality.

8. Human Resources

ERP software streamlines many facets of human resource management, including federal and state taxes, and workers’ compensation. It is particularly helpful in managing the extra HR requirements for publicly-funded projects, including specific forms and certified payroll, thereby preventing the rejection of payment requisitions and the witholding of public funds.

9. Customer Relationship Management

With an integrated approach, you can address your customers’ questions and concerns at any time. The information is always at hand. You can also manage the contact and outreach data for all prospects, and provide accurate and timely quotes. Quick and accurate responsiveness enhances your brand image with current and prospective clients.

10. Business Growth and Development

Speed, efficiency, and improved communications result in projects that are completed with high quality, within budget and on-time. Through greater efficiency, all stakeholders from the architect on can take on additional work and support business growth. Likewise, these successful projects deliver a positive brand image to your current and prospective customers.

3. What are the Best Features of a Construction Software?

Software that covers every area of your construction business can optimize your processes maximizing efficiency and productivity while increasing profits. Some are intuitive, user-friendly, and provide an alternative to the costs and training associated with multiple software systems. But when selecting your next Construction Software, you must be able to differentiate the “out-of-the-box” software – the ones that are the same if you manufacture buildings or if you sell cupcakes – from the Industry specialists. Here are a few features that are essential to a Construction Software.

Ten Best Features of Construction Software

1. Job Cost

A Job Cost module, uniquely designed for a project-oriented industry like construction, provides detailed accounting capabilities, flexibility, and control. Job cost includes powerful features that give you the ability to control every aspect of your business with exceptional detail. It allows you to stay up to date on bid proposals, project updates, and material and labor costs. Having up to date information is essential to controlling costs and making informed decisions.

2. Mobile Workforce Automation

If you have teams on site, you need a software that gives you the ability to manage and track mobile workers. Letting them clock-in from the site, manage their project, have visibility over the materials used on the project will increase their productivity and effectiveness while reducing operational costs. These benefits are the result of combining powerful software applications, appropriate wireless technology, and an understanding of your processes.

3. Project Management

The Project Management tool enables you to set a budget for every phase of a project and control the associated labor, material, subcontractor cost, general expense, and overhead costs.

4. Item Control/Item Management

Item Control is an inventory and item management solution, tracking inventory locations and levels, costs, transaction history, and more. The system will provide you with insight into any item in your database.

5. Task Management

The Task Management module eliminate mistakes. Enter a task into the system, and it will organize it, assign the appropriate resources, and follow-up to ensure the work gets done on time and within budget.

6. Quoting

Creating quotes efficiently with a professional presentation is critical for any business. The right software will streamline the process and give you the information you need to win a higher percentage of the quotes you deliver.

7. Scheduling

Construction software provides scheduling capabilities for any task, enabling you to assign and schedule any person, organization, asset, or equipment that you designate, as a resource. The system can integrate with your Outlook Calendar, directly importing all tasks.

8. Time Billing

Time and billing management is crucial for any company. Our software organizes time management, budgeting, and client billing into one easy to use module. Time management allows you to control both human time and equipment time and tracks material costs of a job for billing purposes.

9. CRM

A CRM System enables you to effortlessly create and track leads, prospects, opportunities, and marketing campaigns. You can manage telemarketing, direct mail, and email campaigns, easily generate standard letters and a web-enabled target marketing system promotes the initial processes in the buying cycle.

10. Key Performance Indicators

ERP systems should allow users to define leading indicators and measure them in real-time, providing projections and highlighting deviations for correction. Graphical depictions indicate trends and provide easy-to-read assessments at a glance.

4. Cost of a Construction Software

Having the right software for your construction company makes the difference between getting the work done and getting the work done right. But most construction companies are concerned over the cost of implementing construction software in their operations. We’ve put together a list of factors that go into construction software pricing so you can make the best decision for your business.

Company size and User Count

When implementing new software, it’s important to consider how many of your teams or departments you want to have integrated into the program. You may want to include accounting, sales, project management, procurement, and any other area needing visibility into operations. A major factor affecting the cost is your company size and your need for support in implementation and training for employees for long-term success.

Complexity

Along with the size of your company, the complexity of the software required will play an important role in cost. For instance, you may or may not need to integrate as many departments with the software depending on your business needs. Or if your business does custom manufacturing, you might need more modules and more flexibility in the planning process.

On-Premise or Cloud-Based

Construction software is considered on premise when it is installed on one or various computers and managed on-site by the company’s IT staff. Companies usually pay a high price at purchase and then a yearly support or maintenance cost. This kind of software generally works for larger construction companies who can afford a multi-million price tag and have a large operating IT staff. Cloud-based construction software works well for small and medium construction businesses who do not have an extensive IT staff to run their construction software. Generally, whether cloud-based or on-premise options are utilized, the cost really depends on the needs of each individual company, but cloud-based software options generally have a faster timeline for implementation, which reduces the cost.

Read: How to Cut Costs during Your ERP Implementation

Company Goals

Ultimately, what truly matters is that your company reaches its goals. Your software needs should be based on what you would like to accomplish. And getting the right construction software to fit the needs of your business is a must! Not implementing or choosing the wrong construction software holds your company back in the long-term. Construction software is meant to streamline communications and operations so your company is more efficiently racing towards its goal.

5. ABIS ERP Software for the Construction Industry

Based on over thirty years of studying best practices, ABIS, Inc. specializes in ERP software to automate every aspect of your business, putting information and resources at your fingertips. Developed specifically with your needs in mind, ABIS offers an enterprise resource planning software that integrates all aspects of your construction business. Each component is customizable to your needs, and over 150 functionalities available to help your business gain efficiencies and implement industry-best practices.

Just a glimpse of some of the components available:

  • Logistics: Manage, track and streamline your resources and routes.
  • Product life cycle: Oversee profit and loss, and increase profit margins.
  • Project management: Plan and schedule projects while managing teams and assets and access real-time status on labor, materials, and projects, in the office or out in the field.
  • Customer relationship management: Maintain customer contacts, record quotes, sales, and interactions, as well as managing your pipeline of future clients.
  • Order management: Predict asset consumption, request and collect bids, analyze purchase history, archive quotes, and eliminate redundancy when ordering.
  • Inventory management: Optimize your inventory levels and anticipate future needs, and have every detail of your inventory at your fingertips.
  • Accounting: Monitor cash flow, accounts payable and receivable, manage asset depreciation and expenses.
  • Human Resources: Manage time billing and other human resource functions either in the office or at the job site.

We put together an ERP Selection Kit comprised of four white papers to help you find the perfect Software based on your Industry, company size and many more factors. It will show you the modules you should look for and help you calculate your Return-On-Investment (ROI).

Download the ERP Selection Kit


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