For construction companies looking to venture into the world of ERP (enterprise resource planning) or for companies simply looking for a new solution or an upgrade, the selection and implementation process can be quite daunting. But, today, many construction organizations—large and small, specialty and general—find value in the technology for the long term.
Take the example of Knutson Construction, www.knutsonconstruction.com, Minneapolis, Minn., which has a workforce of 1,000 employees and four office locations in Iowa and Minnesota. The company specializes in preconstruction, design/build, general contracting, and construction-management services.
Knutson Construction recently purchased eCMS v.4.0 for financial, project, and operations management. The upgraded technology, from Computer Guidance Corp., www.computerguidance.com, Scottsdale, Ariz., has advancements in business intelligence, enterprise-content management, and third-party integrations.
Dale Rohling, controller, Knutson Construction, says the strategic partnership that Computer Guidance recently established with Textura Corp., www.texturacorp.com, Deerfield, Ill., further guided its decision, as the integrated solution looks to offer some appealing features.
Textura provides CPM (Construction Payment Management)—a payment solution that integrates with the ERP software from Computer Guidance. “We worked together to build an interface that (is) more detailed and more realtime than what we have had in the past. The benefit is our clients can seamlessly use CPM and eCMS and switch between the two pretty seamlessly,” say Patrick Allin, CEO and cofounder, Textura Corp.
Integration between ERP systems and other applications allow teams to better disperse information. As a few other examples, ERP systems can integrate with electronic-payment technology and mobile time-tracking software, among others.
Michael Reiser, business development manager, Computer Guidance Corp., speaks to the benefit of integration between eCMS and CPM, “Textura has a fantastic subcontract portal … it is all electronic. The subcontractor gets notification that the checks have been cut, and it reduces the communication and chasing accounting down. The strength of partners is we can bring the best software to the clients who need the best results.” The integration will enable a greater exchange of subcontractor information with the various departments within a construction organization such as finance and project management.
Beyond considering the integration capabilities of ERP software, construction companies also need to determine how the technology can solve existing challenges. A big element of this is making sure the current business environment and the intended growth can be accomplished with the applications. As Reiser suggests, “know your problems, prioritize them for a resolution, and use that as your roadmap.”
Interested in learning more about how you can embark on the path of enterprise-software selection? Check out the recent Time to Deploy ERP article in the Sept/Oct issue of Constructechmagazine.