Benefits of ERP in managing complex projects
13 September 2021
Paula Yarwood examines how the right ERP solution can make all the difference when it comes to managing complex projects.
Businesses everywhere face the worrying prospect of projects spiralling out of control, going both over budget and over schedule. Increased project complexity has made this even more of a concern, with the tools organisations once used to successfully manage projects no longer fit-for-purpose.
Ensuring that all aspects of a project, from resource allocation, revenue and expenses, to capacity and timelines are managed meticulously is crucial if businesses are to optimise both short-term profitability and long-term reputation.
Customers need complex goods built to specification and delivered within budget; project managers need real-time integrated tools to track all aspects of a project at any given time.
In light of this, more businesses are turning to ERP solutions for help, but it’s vital that they choose the right system for the job in hand. ERP capabilities must include the functionality to track projects, foster collaboration and ensure ease, accuracy, and efficient project management if manufacturers are to maximise margins to build market share in what stand to be increasingly tricky markets in the years ahead.
With this in mind, what exactly should organisations be looking for in the right ERP solution?
For the ultimate in project control, your ERP solution needs to unite every aspect of your business, including manufacturing, purchasing, accounts payable, accounts receivable, order entry, inventory, payroll and general ledger.
It’s this bringing together of key operational information, amalgamating all data in a single, centralised repository that allows the efficient management of all projects, no matter how complex.
It gives project managers real-time access to the integrated data needed to manage projects in their entirety, from planning and resource management, through to costing, purchasing and time and labour management.
This information, delivered on-time and in an accessible format, ensures project managers don’t have to spend time searching for data, with systems efficiently capturing costs, maintaining contracts and projects, while handling long lead-times and delivering on-time complex projects.
Inefficient admin processes are streamlined, eradicating the need to pull together information from all areas of the business to build project status reports, leaving more time to focus on other value-add, project-related tasks.
The right ERP solution will provide robust project management functionality too.
Through the use of user-defined project types and codes, it’s easy to track all activities and associate all costs with a specific project.
This enables the quick and easy capture of all time and costs associated with project-related activities, including labour and expense reporting, as well as the multiple manufacturing work orders tied to a project, and any service work for the install and training of finished goods.
It’s this functionality that underpins efficient and effective project management, enabling the real time planning and tracking of project resources, revenues, expenses and, crucially, profitability.
Critical to the success of any project is the ability to keep on track. The best ERP systems for the job ensure this happens, with functionality built-in to track, drive and recognise milestones or progress billing, with the added bonus of automated alerts in the event of any scheduling problems.
It’s also possible to apply percentage of completion revenue recognition and other metrics, including actuals-to-budget and cost-to-complete KPIs.
Ultimately, you need a solution with the flexibility to deliver the different reporting and accounting needs of every project you undertake, safe in the knowledge that it will help you stay on track and on budget.
By putting the right ERP framework in place, you can ensure successful project delivery every time. The right solution will automate and streamline core processes and workflows for optimum efficiency levels.
By facilitating teamwork and the seamless exchange of information right across the project timeline, businesses can boost customer satisfaction considerably, maximising margins and building that all-important market share.