Seven must-haves for construction ERP
In many ways, ERP requirements development in the construction discipline is nearly as complex as dealing with medical systems. This is largely due to an intrinsic focus on active project management, and affiliated cost accounting needs.
Consequently, while typical ‘resources’ systems largely orient themselves to elements related to the indexing and management of individual ‘things’, as passive elements, Construction ERP systems tend to lean heavily on ‘what happens to those things,' followed by when, and how they end up being utilized and measured within a linear project continuum.
The construction ERP requirements index
Aside from typical GAAP elements, primarily oriented to accounting/inventory/workforce management; there are a number of discrete resources-related elements involved. These categories of work suggest more active management processes within the ERP operating envelope including; Dashboard activation, CAD interfacing, Service Fleet Asset Management, Preventative Maintenance Scheduling, related Maintenance Costing, integration with External GIS/GPS systems, and active/passive Workflow Processing.
Let’s investigate these requirements in greater detail.
Particular construction-related needs
Dashboard activation: This ERP Construction requirement is largely seen to be cloud-based. While on-premise or hybrid ERP systems do utilize image-driven reporting here and there, in general, the delivery of actively consolidated graphical reports only came to the fore once cloud variants allowed users to identify, see and manage multiple data channels in real-time.
This advantage has become particularly popular in various construction ERP sectors since the ability allows users to display, measure, and respond to real-time work tasks, while at the same time, measuring a project’s results across a common operational path.
CAD interface: This requirement related to an ability to receive, display and manage externally designed construction designs including; space planning, utility and building plans, and other relevant documents. As an additional value, this interface accrues to the necessary direct integration and indexing of WIP plans iterations.
Service Fleet Asset Management: This construction requirement relates to the active management of utility vehicles during project operations, along with the delivery and management of real-time cost accounting.
Preventative Maintenance: This process requirement relates to the aforementioned Fleet Asset Management capability. In this event, the Construction ERP platforms must not only accommodate schedule tasking ranging from daily to periodic maintenance processing.
Fleet Maintenance Costing: In concert with the Preventative Maintenance requirement, the system must also calculate, measure, and manage discrete costs associated with fleet vehicles and equipment.
External GIS/GPS interface: This interface requirement involves itself with the aforementioned CAD interface. In this case, today’s Geo-based Information (GIS) Systems, typically supported Global Positioning Systems (GPS) systems, define and establish ground-based and/or physical elements, relating to the physical characteristics of a particular project location. These investigative elements are then integrated within the ERP platform, usually in concert with the CAD process.
Active/passive workflow processes: As suggested earlier, all construction workflow tasks must be fully-involved within the ERP platform, ranging from discrete tasks, and all supporting project elements.
As one might expect, (and upon a detailed review of the complete checklist above), the elements discussed above are only parts of what go into a full-span Construction ERP. However, the bullet point will allow the reader to at least understand various components that define major differences from C-ERP and more general resources-based systems.
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