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  • Jon Olsen

What do you need in a Construction ERP?

Enterprise resource planning is a comprehensive business software solution for handling the huge variety and quantity of data that your business creates. It serves as the foundation for any project that depends on data analytics and it broadens the scope of what you can accomplish with the data you collect and create.


For example an ERP allows you to integrate information from different business processes like accounting, payroll, job costing, bidding, project management, inventory management, equipment management, and order/delivery management with the financial side of the business. The end result will be improved efficiency, transparency and the ability to model and control long-term costs. This is critically important in the construction sector where the scale of investment and risk is relatively high compared to many other sectors.


Choosing the right ERP can be a stressful endeavor. Not only are ERP software solutions expensive but there's a wide range of capabilities and specializations available. Focusing down to what your current needs are and what capabilities you will likely need to accommodate for future growth can be both time consuming and error prone.


To be suitable for the construction industry an ERP needs to have advanced capabilities for contract management. On complex construction projects the scope of work can be fluid there can be hundreds of changes from the initial design. A suitable ERP needs to be structured to handle regular contract changes and revisions as well as providing a system for managing approvals and workflow. Look for features designed specifically for contractors and contract management such as:


Procurement and controls

Specialized Cost Ledgers

Payroll and Labour Costing

Plant and Equipment Costing

Contract Cost Reporting

Business Intelligence

Document Management

Time and Attendance Systems

Human Resource Management

Enterprise Accounting


The complexity of cost control in construction can also go far beyond the abilities of many ERP systems. A construction ERP must be able to handle resource allocation, payments on milestones, sub-contractor and equipment costs. It must also have the ability to provide scheduled reports, on demand reports, and revision of the project forecast based on actual spend.


Vista by Viewpoint can be a excellent option for mid-sized construction companies considering their first implementation it's capabilities scale well and it can be a catalyst for impressive growth. Many large companies end up staying with Vista because of its strong accounting services. It offers mobile field management, bid management, and estimating tools that plug in seamlessly to RFIs, change orders, and payment plans. Vista also allows integration with BIM and offers business management options, including reporting on performance indicators and safety management.


If you're considering your first implementation or you've outgrown your current ERP contact us here at Olsen Consulting and benefit from the breadth and depth of our experience in ERP systems and the construction industry.

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