Seven construction ERP vendor red flags

There are many ERP systems on the market and relatively few that focus on the construction industry. So pay attention for any red flags that pop up when looking at potential construction ERP vendors.

1. Unfamiliarity with your construction niche

Let the vendor talk and follow up with open-ended questions of your own. Listen carefully to what is said. If you are a residential builder and the vendor is talking about groundwork and extensive DWV systems they might be more familiar with larger construction projects. If your business is painting or mechanical construction you want to hear a story related to subcontract trades and not general contractors. Don’t’ rush to a decision to eliminate the potential vendor. If they can be redirected to a conversation related to your business, you could find they really can provide tools you can use- though of course, you wish they had done some homework before starting to talk.

Find construction ERP vendors to suit your business with our comparison.

2. Their team are disinterested in your business

Let’s say the sales person connected well with your business. The vendor has teams of people with a variety of backgrounds that will be doing the real work for you. You want most of them to understand your business too. A vendor’s team’s disinterest in your business is a sign that something isn’t right - you should tread carefully if this is the case.

3. Inadequate templates and tools

If the vendor truly knows your business, they should have a great deal of experience with similar construction companies. They should have developed an arsenal of templates, check lists, and similar tools and have them ready to detail your business and how their construction ERP will actually be implemented and begin to provide you value quickly.

4. Their implementation is needlessly complicated

Keep it simple, stupid. If at all possible, you want a simple, easy implementation without a lot of fancy touches that are mainly for show. You want a construction ERP; you don’t want a vendor who ties to baffle you with with sales speak.

5. They fail to meet deadlines

Even while you are beginning to evaluate construction ERP systems and vendors, there will be deadlines. If the vendor promises some information by Tuesday afternoon, hold them to that promise. If they miss deadlines at this point, what is likely to happen next time around?

6. Their ERP needs to be customized too much

Over time, ERP customization might be unavoidable to meet your needs. But if they are proposing customization right at the beginning of your conversation, this is really is a red flag. Does the native application fail your needs somewhere - is the customization is a band-aid? Are they trying to load up the contract for their benefit on your dime?

7. They don’t have your back

A good vendor should have your interests in mind. Even when you cause a delay or miss a point you should cover, they should be there to keep you on the right path. Does your schedule plan for unavoidable delays? Do you have a 'Plan B' if the whole project begins to fail? These are your responsibility, but a worthwhile construction ERP vendor should have your back throughout the process.

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Tom Miller

About the author…

Tom completed implementations of Epicor, SAP, QAD, and Micro MRP. He works as a logistics and supply chain manager and he always looks for processes to improve. He lives near San Francisco Bay in California and can be found on the water in his kayak or on the road riding his motorcycle. Contact Tom at

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Tom Miller

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