The construction industry faces many challenges nowadays. The majority of the sector screams that digitization is a way to go. Is it? What are the main signs that your company is ready and in need of an ERP system?
After all the current challenges of the construction and new issues that have been brought on by covid19 crisis, most of the industry was and is focused on one goal - survival. Business continuity was the main focus for most of us, and taking care of our employees and, quite frankly, of each other became essential. In between a sudden urge for digitalization, and the hustle to implement remote working solutions, many companies just got lost.
So, how about that digital transformation? Is this really the best time to propose a new solution? Is this the right time to invest money? More importantly is it really going to bring value?
Well, we are here to give you some tips on what to look to see if you’re ready to take the next step. Here are our 3 signs your team is ready or in deep need of an ERP.
The bigger the company, the higher the demand for specialistic tools in your business management software to sustain your growth. As your company grows the structure becomes more vertical and more departments emerge with very specific needs. It is natural that you have multiple tools. The problem occurs when those tools are not integrating with each other. Instead of having clear insight into all departments’ metrics, you end up having to click through many softwares, logging in to each of them to gather data, and manually creating reports to be able to make data-driven decisions. This is one of the signs that something might be missing. Your business grew enough to the point it is ready for a complete management solution.
The key here is to decide on a proper ERP system which will finally allow you to easily track, not only your construction projects delivery, but also all company-related matters. A key factor in this case is the ability to integrate with different tools as some departments will still need to use their specialistic solutions. For example, your financial department most likely will not want to work outside of their accounting software. However, that’s even more reason to have an ERP that will help you get the information you need without disrupting their work.
Another sign that you should search for new ways to improve your situation is the lack of document management and a broken information flow among your team. If your employees spend hours on sorting through papers, digging out invoices, and searching for reports that were lost somewhere in the chaos - Houston, we have a problem! These sort of tasks can be easily replaced by an organised communication workflow provided by an ERP.
The construction site is not a playground - everything has to work and go as planned following Health & Safety regulations. Projects require supervision all the time, and every stage completion should be thoroughly managed. Just think about how risky this is using outdated methods more prone to human error. A great solution here would be to set a customised process for reporting, and have your employees upload data directly into the system. Even better, the data can go into a landing page shared with other companies you work with in the same project providing them with instant access to the information. You want a real-time view on the project's progress anywhere you are? By using a next-generation cloud-based ERP, site managers can send reports with attachments (pictures, videos), and provide feedback instantly.
How about your procurement process? Take some time to evaluate how well you track all activities associated with it. How is your communication with your subcontractors and suppliers? Is tendering a pain point in your organization? Managing it in a modern construction management software will make it more efficient, minimize human bias and make it easier to track and take action when needed.
As mentioned above, you need to have access to all the essential information in order to make a strategic decision. How can you do that when information is scattered not only between different softwares but it is also not easily accessible? How do you track and measure your results if your KPI’s are kept in hundreds different spreadsheets that you have to search for and gather results from? An ERP can help with that.
Keeping all data in one place makes it easily accessible. Yet, setting access rights allows you to control who can see what in the system. The users can upload the data, but you may be the only one able to see it all. Access rights are very important for bigger companies as this security layer contributes to better data protection. Speaking of which, in current times, data security became one of the most important factors for an organization's resilience. This is one more reason why an ERP is a good solution for your business - it keeps your data safer thanks to cloud security protocols.
The decision to implement a new solution in your company should be thoroughly processed. It might be demanding not only on a financial level but also time wise to implement and adapt to use it. Out of the box solutions work for smaller organizations, but will provide challenges due to the lack of flexibility for your business as it grows in the long run. Tailored management solutions will support you alongside your company’s growth and continuously bring value along the way. Although their cost may vary, and sometimes it gets pretty high, it is an investment that will work for you long enough, and well enough to bring you financial stability, and a return on your investment. When choosing a solution, consider the costs, the time to implement, and to train your team. These may be a key difference between your options.
Whenever you see something at your company that does not work or takes a lot of time and effort - make a note. Keep track of these points and consider options to improve these processes. An ERP software is a great way to support your organisation, bring order into your workflow, prevent or minimize serious risks, and give you a way to take care of the management from one, centralized source. But as great as it sounds, even modern construction softwares do not make miracles happen. You will also have to focus on leadership and communication to be able to improve your team’s performance. Your business is your people, give them proper tools, support their development, and your company will flourish.