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Sound construction tech can help contractors cut costs

Ian Hauptfleisch,  general manager of Construction Computer Software (CCS) Gulf outlines how the right construction software can result in long-term cost and efficiency savings


Most companies have taken the step to embrace technology and implement business-applicable IT solutions, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, to better manage and streamline their operations.

However, the construction industry presents a different challenge in this regard. Earlier, ERP solutions were not fit for construction purposes, and were designed with traditional businesses in mind, rendering them unable to deal with the complex asset and project life cycle of the construction industry.

This resulted in early attempts to utilise generic ERP platforms being less than successful for contractors and constructors.  So, construction-specific ERP systems, designed by and for the construction industry – such as CCS BuildSmart – have been available in the market for more than two decades, and have become essential for contractors to stay in control and stay ahead in all facets of their operations.

Specialist construction software that can manage the entire contract process – from estimation, cost control, change management,  payroll, subcontracting, plant and equipment management, and inventory control, through to billing and financials – sounds almost too good to be true. But, it is real, and it has been securely implemented into the operating procedures of some of the most prominent and successful construction companies around the globe. The question is – what does it cost price-conscious customers to not have this system?

The cost of the software itself will depend on its features and scope of operation, and whether it is bought outright or leased. The total cost, however will need to take into account the factors over and above the software price itself, such as implementation, training, customisation, process alignment, updates, and technical support. Your construction software is going to need professional installation and configuration.

If you have already begun your research into the scope of construction software applications, you will know that they are extremely complex, and you will most likely need to carry out a review of your current operating systems and servers as well as the suitability of existing hardware and software applications in use. The cost of this is going to need to be factored into your overall cost estimate. Market-leading construction software providers will have solutions and alternatives for you to minimise these impacts, representing a real time saving in the long run rather than pursuing a lower budget option.

Construction software could be perceived as complex, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t user-friendly. Rather, it has extremely wide ranging and comprehensive functions that will require training for users. An experienced software provider will have the resources to provide this training and should be discussed and agreed with them when sourcing your software.

Best practices and required feature sets should intrinsically exist in genuinely good construction software: it should have the flexibility and functions to be tailored to fit your business in terms of operational processes and reporting purposes, without any structural bespoke customisation that is both expensive and timely. Consider how many manual processes are currently performed within your teams. It is hard to comprehend before having seen these systems in action, but the level of integration and intuitive process enhancements can be breath-taking. Some of the most significant benefits of using construction solutions come from the amount of time freed up by removing redundant manual processes and the near elimination of human error and resultant increased accuracy.

Technology advances at a rapid rate and your software should follow suit. Consider the benefit of having a rental type agreement software lease that includes upgrades and enhancements. Continuous enhancements and development to your solution is always a good way to ensure you stay ahead of the pack. Make sure that your software provider has a strong and verifiable track record in delivering outstanding and professional customer service and support – it’s an essential quality differentiator.

Investment in the right construction software is a necessity and could be considered expensive, but one that should deliver unparalleled return on investment (ROI) if correctly implemented and operated. You’ll be surprised by how quickly the solution pays for itself, and will never again imagine your business ever running without it.

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Construction Week - Issue 744
Jun 15, 2019