The increased competition and greater risk in Architectural, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industries has compelled companies of all sizes to work in integrated and collaborative information management platforms such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. ERP systems provides an integrated real time view of essential business processes, using common databases. These systems track business resources such as materials, production capacity, service units, cash and the status of sales orders, purchases, and payroll.

Management techniques in Architectural, Engineering and Construction industries have become outdated. Organizations have oriented themselves to work in environments where the processes are completed quicker. Then, the company can manage the information more efficiently. On the other hand, the nature of the AEC industries are very much fragmented. Each discipline in the industry has evolved independently with their own unique terminology, technology and way of expressing and communicating information.

Modern ERP and AEC

Today, ERP systems not only produce measurable profit benefits they can also help to reduce risk. They do it by bringing together multiple offline systems and unrelated technologies into a unified data rich environment. Time sensitive information requirements can be acquired, stored and accessed more efficiently by integrated teams locally. Also, the team can manage projects in a better and cost-effective manner.

ERP systems share data across the various departments that create transactions (sales, purchasing, manufacturing, service, accounting, etc.). Plus, the system can disseminate the information across the enterprise. ERP facilitates information flow between all business functions, and manages connections to stakeholders.

Best ERP for AEC

A well designed and well-implemented ERP system can offer Architectural, Engineering and Construction companies many benefits:

  1. Workflow Redundancy: Radically reduce redundant data entry and processes.
  2. Visibility: It gives companies visibility into the totality of their business. Accounting, estimating, project management, progress on project completion and schedules, human resource management, and projections of profitability in a single, centralized and integrated software solution.
  3. Real Time Information: Industry-ready ERP solutions help companies to seamlessly integrate core management processes – providing real time information to the entire team anywhere in the world.
  4. Agility: ERP systems creates a more agile company that better adapts to change. ERP makes a company more flexible and less rigidly structured so organizational components operate more cohesively, enhancing the business—internally and externally.
  5. Cash Flow: It helps companies manage their cash flow, liquidity and banking relationships.
  6. Compliance: ERP systems can help companies comply with government regulations, project accounting standards and owners’ documentation requirements.
  7. Business Intelligence: With built-in business intelligence, ERP systems helps companies mine the data for information critical to their business.

Properly implemented and managed ERP system can improve a company’s competitive position tremendously. It does it by driving business efficiency and not leaving decisions to be made without the support of time sensitive and accurate information.

Current ERP Systems

ERP systems of today are cheaper with reduced customizations. Plus, there is time to deploy with mobile solutions for remotely monitoring project progress. The benefits of real-time accurate project information and executive dashboards are proving to be a critical project management tool. They yield positive cost/benefit evaluations.

Many ERP technologies are cloud-based and work from a remote server. Critical factors for ERP technologies in a cloud are security and privacy. Advanced technologies, especially Microsoft based applications, are at an advantage in providing secure connectivity over the Internet and data privacy in the hosting environment. This helps to encourage companies in the AEC segment to implement ERP systems in their organizations. ERP in the cloud provides the convenience of computing capacity on demand over the Internet. It also has the same flexibility and security of an on-premise deployment of ERP.

The Architectural, Engineering and Construction industries are transforming away from their disparate legacy systems. Then, they realize the role technology can play in increasing profitability while reducing risk. Therefore, there is an evolving trend towards adopting ERP with AEC management systems that delivers in-depth workflows. Plus, the systems configureto the unique work processes required by AEC companies.

Integrated ERPs

ERP systems should not be a bottleneck. They should be an integrated solution within an architectural context that allow teams to proactively make informed decision from anywhere at any time. The biggest advantage of an ERP system is to see what is going on as it happens. This occurs with highly accurate information and also significantly reduced data entry.

An ERP system provides the solid operational backbone AEC companies need to improve the volume of their business while reducing costs.  By optimizing systems and processes companies will be able to focus on new business opportunities.

In the seamless work flow of ERP systems, it is not only remarkably simpler to process transactions, but data is also captured at a higher level of accuracy resulting in unprecedented quality and reliability in information.