Confused Construction Client asks, “Can you fix it?”

Dinah McNav, the ERP Agony Aunt, answers the problems and pressures faced by businesses everywhere. This letter comes from a confused client in the construction sector. Robert is feeling stressed because his big day is getting closer and things are getting out of his control. Can Dinah fix it?


Dear Dinah,

Having finally confirmed a date, we’re only a month away from the big day. It should be the happiest day of our lives but I can’t help worrying that we’ve seriously overspent and won’t get everything done on time.

It’s our biggest construction contract to date and we thought we’d budgeted for everything we’d need; people, equipment, materials. Now it appears that we drastically underestimated and may not make a profit. I’ve tried to keep control of the project costs but there’s so much to consider. I need some way of recording and relating them all to the relevant people and equipment.

I’m getting quite anxious now, the pressure’s on to make sure that the big day isn’t ruined and I have no idea if all tasks will be completed on time. What do you suggest I do? Can you fix it?

Robert, Construction Project Manager/Builder


Dear Robert (or can I call you Bob?),

I completely understand your concerns, it’s the big day that you’ve been ‘building up to’ for months (pardon the pun) and you want everything to be perfect.

It’s all too easy to let the costs of a project spiral out of control and lose sight of where you are at any given time. If you can’t see who’s doing what and how much things cost, you won’t be able to foresee any potential problems before they happen.

Given that you’re in this predicament at the moment, I can only assume that you don’t have systems and automated processes in place that can help you to manage your project schedules; from buying materials and aligning resources, to controlling budgets.

You obviously know how to plan a project and what you should be looking out for, you just lack the functionality to bring all of that information together into one place.

What you need is an ERP system that’s specifically designed to cater for your needs. Before you even consider shopping around for a software supplier, I would strongly recommend that you review your processes, understand what you are looking to achieve and what type of information you need to record in a new database. When you have this then you can start your search.

construction ERP system can manage and monitor your finances, human resources and payroll, timesheets, sales & marketing, inventory, estimating, and project scheduling.

It will also give you;

  • Better visibility across the whole project, pulling all processes into one system
  • The ability to identify potential overspends quickly, giving you time to prevent them
  • Comparisons between budget costs, committed costs and actual costs
  • Cost analysis for CIS, retentions, applications, valuations and variations in one system
  • Better understanding of WIP at any given time, including all actual and committed costs
  • Improved personnel management, whether in-house or subcontracted

To paraphrase your question, can ERP fix it? Yes it can!

Hope that helps,

Dinah McNav, ERP Agony Aunt

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