Skip to main content
construction site

Construction projects: how to ensure visibility and alignment across all your KPI

from  May 24, 2022 | 3 min read

One of the biggest challenges facing construction companies is a lack of transparency in projects. Often, it’s impossible to tell if a given project has been financially successful until the work is already done and the money is already spent. This makes controlling costs and ensuring resources are allocated efficiently extremely difficult.

In an ideal world, when a project isn’t performing well, it would be possible for the project managers and the finance department to instantly be notified. The project’s figures would be accurate up to the minute and reflected in central company finance data.

Obviously, in a traditional operating environment this level of accuracy would be almost impossible to enforce without placing considerable burdens on both project managers and the finance office.

And that’s where smart ERP and automated workflows come in. Operational systems that allow routine status reporting, project management, and financial processes to be automated ease the burden of “fact finding” on both the finance team and project management. Allowing both to form a clearer picture of costs incurred, how resources are being used, and optimize projects for revenue, margin, additional change orders, and completion dates.

Automation increases project visibility

The automation of data gathering and reporting through unified cloud operational systems not only eliminates the needs for your teams to spend valuable time importing and re-importing data from dozens of iterations of different spreadsheets. It also makes translating this data into meaningful reports more simply. Providing everyone with a much clearer picture of every aspect of even the most complex projects from supply chains to finished build.

Since automated processes work in the background and update as soon as new information becomes available, they also give everyone involved in a project the ability to spot potential points of failure or cost overruns quickly.

And since all information is coming from a single, trusted source, your onsite managers can be empowered to make decisions on the spot, further reducing delays and allowing greater margin optimization.

Automation brings the finance team closer to the project

Modern ERP systems allow your teams to set routine flags on specific project events – such as phase launches and closes. This means that whenever the next milestone is reached, you’ll be able to instantly see a snapshot of a project and its progress and financial health, and also immediately see any large deviations to your projections and plans in terms of the original budget, projected and actual cashflow, and cost vs completion.

This then allows your teams to begin new phases of a project with clear expectations for what should happen next, preserving continuity, allowing for remediation, and putting you in a better position to meet your targets for customer satisfaction and revenue and margin.

Automation keeps operations simple and smooth

Often, the hurdles which can cause even the most experienced finance and project management experts to trip up are extremely simple and easily overlooked. When everyone’s struggling to keep track of Excel spreadsheets, GANTT charts, and a sea of emails and requests, the difference between remembering to pay a supplier or submit an invoice and forgetting can be a matter of simply being distracted at exactly the wrong moment.

Smart process automation makes it possible for purchase orders, invoices, and payment requests to be raised, processed, and approved simply and quickly as soon as the relevant conditions are met. Keeping you on top not just of your costs, but also freeing you from the manual work of compiling your cost and giving you a much clearer picture of which parts of your budget allocation have actually been spent. Keeping you in your suppliers’ and customers’ good graces alike, and freeing up your teams’ time to focus on the important work of making resources available when they’re needed.

Automation fits exactly to your processes and needs

Because no two projects are the same – and no two businesses’ needs are exactly alike – process automation must be bespoke by default. In modern ERP systems automations can be designed and implemented quickly and simply by your teams as and when they need them – allowing them to automatically flag certain data for review, push certain reports at regular intervals, and even to automate approvals for things like expenses payments and small costs incurred on a job below a certain threshold. Helping everyone in the organization by giving them a smoother experience of day-to-day work, and setting clear expectations for when to rely on automatic systems and when to seek help with exception handling.

How can Unit4 help you?

Unit4 have been creating software that helps project-based organizations like construction firms to better manage their resources – from materials to people – for over 40 years.

Our focus on People Experience creates enterprise software solutions across ERP, HCM, and FP&A that free up your peoples’ time to focus on work rather than admin, automating the rote-work associated with projects so that everyone can add more value and do effective work more efficiently.

Our smart process automation is handled completely within our People Platform and allows the teams that require automated services to implement these expedited workflows themselves without the need for custom code, empowering everyone in your organization to work smarter and leave the rote-work to the robots.

To learn more about what Unit4 can bring to your business visit our dedicated industry page for construction companies.

Sign up to see more like this