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Historically, technology has been siloed in the construction industry and companies often have to adopt a “best of breed” approach that includes various disjointed tech solutions and platforms. 

Construction companies need tools to manage bids, contracts, change orders, process billing, job costs and budgets, and more. And they need these tools to tie seamlessly into their finance and accounting processes. With multiple platforms, it’s difficult to get a single source of truth. And bouncing between these platforms can reduce efficiency and introduce errors into financial processes. In a low-margin business like construction, all of these problems could impact a company’s bottom line. 

Fortunately, enterprise resources planning technology has advanced to a point today where companies can start to bring these disparate pieces of technology together and unify management of financials, sales, service, and operations under a single ERP “roof.” By bringing all these critical business processes together, companies can expect to see improvement in several areas.

Profitability 

By managing a wide range of businesses processes within a single piece of technology, companies can better manage and protect profitability, and closely monitor project performance. A unified tech infrastructure will help a company improve cost control and productivity at job sites and within company offices. It can help them create more accurate and organized estimates and bids, better understand project and job costs, and streamline contracts and change orders for the many people that touch construction projects (e.g., general contractors, owners, architects and engineers). It will also help them efficiently manage progress billings and subcontracts, certifications of insurance, liens and other important documents. 

Productivity

A unified technology infrastructure can provide anytime, anywhere access to up-to-date data and information. When managing projects across various job sites, mobile and real-time access to accurate information is crucial. Project managers run into problems when they need to process change orders, reschedule deliveries or subcontractors, but are not able to do that at the site because they don’t have the necessary information on hand. A unified tech solution can not only provide real-time access, but it will also promote and improve collaboration across different jobs and contractors. 

Mitigate Risk and Improve Visibility

A single comprehensive solution will help a company improve compliance, reduce human error and ultimately mitigate risk by cutting down on manual processes such as combining data from different applications and creating ad hoc financial reports. A unified solution will provide users access to accurate financial reports, help them actively monitor and manage cash flow, and solidify their reporting and invoice processes. Further, banks considering loan applications want to see sound finance and accounting disciplines along with appropriate controls in place, which requires the use of solid back-end technology solutions. Outdated and disjointed technology can create business liability. 

Win the Competition for Talent

Companies that embrace these technologies will also position themselves to attract top talent. These individuals typically have certain expectations around what modern tools can do for businesses. Organizations that do not have tech solutions and systems that meet those expectations will struggle to attract and retain the top talent they need to compete and grow. Also, since these solutions improve collaboration across teams and automate processes that were previously manual, company leaders can give employees more interesting and valuable (and less manual) work. 

It is time to close the door on the era of disjointed technology in the construction industry. New ERP tools enable construction companies to pull together operational, financial and other service functions to improve efficiency and gain the insights needed to improve decision-making and ultimately grow. As the U.S. turns the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic, companies should embrace these innovations to position their business for growth in this new year of new possibilities.

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