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A tidal wave of technological advancements have left many organizations with two choices: swim or drown. With cloud computing, mobile devices, big data, social media and browser-based business applications comprising the cornerstones of today’s business management landscape, a solid enterprise resource planning (ERP) system can be a welcome lifejacket for a construction company’s infrastructure and operations.

Forward-thinking organizations are looking for integrated software solutions that can perform more than just cost accounting and payroll. They seek powerful ERP systems and line-of-business applications to manage their entire operations. Their productivity and profitability depend entirely on the company’s ability to drive accessibility and collaboration across massive projects, remote workers, heavy machinery, timelines, budgets and more.

A Single Database for All Information

Accounting and financial applications provide contractors with sophisticated management tools to maximize profitability. Data associated with each activity of the organization’s daily operations is captured and fed into a single database for processing. The information provides immediate insight into how the company is doing in terms of revenue, expenses and overall financial goals.

But this information can do so much more. It also can be passed into other applications for enterprise-wide decision-making, planning and forecasting. That’s where the true value of an ERP system lies—far beyond cost accounting functions. ERP offers a data flow that connects each user to information when, where and how they need it to optimize efficiency, productivity and overall functionality.

Data triggers action, and real-time access to information means faster, smarter action. The end result is that today’s budgets and timelines are met, and more projects can be taken on tomorrow.

Automation and Standardization

In order to achieve this improved performance and profitability, actions and processes have to be standardized and automated. With an ERP solution as the backbone and nerve center of the construction company, process re-engineering and improvements can be brought online quickly and easily.

An ERP system will allow cost accounting functions and data to feed other business operations, including project management, service management, equipment management and more. A construction ERP provides a full set of collaboration and productivity tools to manage operational functions and then tie back to cost accounting, payroll and financial reporting. These integrated applications also can share processes and data.

With an integrated ERP, data is captured once and fed to all applications, driving greater accuracy, enhanced accessibility and heightened productivity. All users can work within all aspects of the business with the same software. Browser-based ERP solutions are fundamental for scalability, and cloud-based ERP deployments provide widespread access.

Smartphones, tablets and laptops have encouraged software developers to introduce easy-to-use mobile ERP applications that drive additional productivity. With increased demand for remote payroll time recording and field productivity management applications, more solutions will continue to become available to manage assets, resources, costs and productivity at construction sites, as well.

The analytical function of ERP is just as important as the access it provides. Business intelligence solutions are very powerful in the way they translate data into decisions. Productivity tools such as dashboards, reports, drill-downs, alerts and consolidated financial reporting allow contractors to learn from the past, adjust today’s activities and plan for a better future.

ERP systems can be the key to success for today’s construction companies. They provide a single source for capturing and distributing data, and can automate and standardize better business processes. By working with that information in a streamlined, real-time fashion, an organization can reduce costs and improve revenues, driving the profitability they need to be a leader in the construction industry.

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