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What is a Metal Building ERP?

August 31, 2018
By ABIS Team
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What is a Metal Building ERP?

Using the best manufacturing machinery and hiring the most qualified engineers is no longer enough to guarantee competitiveness, high customer satisfaction levels, and profitability.

How can a metal construction company impress customers every time if it's unable to estimate costs accurately, procure the required materials quickly, and schedule shop floor processes to optimize production?

Usually, an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can help resolve most of the challenges that metal building contractors encounter in many aspects, including inventory management, production, and customer relationship management.

But, first things first: What's an ERP?

An ERP is a software solution that integrates otherwise disjointed critical business functions and processes. The platform serves as a hub for tracking all enterprise processes and data in real-time, making easy work of data-centric decision-making. It eliminates data silos and enhances transparency, efficiency, and analytics across different systems in an organization, including finance, human resources, procurement, inventory management, and sales and marketing. You may deploy the system entirely on-premise, entirely in the cloud, or as a hybrid of the two primary deployment options.

What is a Metal Building ERP?

An ERP can solve the unique structural and process-related challenges of the metal building industry, such as material scheduling, prefabrication detailing, and shop floor routing, among others. Rather than deploy independent software for each of your business functions, you can integrate everything and streamline workflows with a metal building construction ERP.

Here some of the critical modules of an ERP for the metal building industry:

1. Production Management

Production management features of the ERP solution include:

  • Shop floor routing: Helps schedule and adjust shop floor workflows efficiently. It provides real-time info on ongoing processes, and it allows you to track time and completed tasks for each work center and per  employee. Use the feature to monitor and allocate resource usage per work center for a specific duration of time.
  • Bill of materials: For the automatic creation of lists of parts required to manufacture main items. Besides helping you track materials, the feature links each components list and routing information to the relevant work order.

2. Supply Chain Management

The feature supports procurement functions, ordering, material requirements planning, and supplier relationship management. 

  • Increase your communication with your vendors with automated checks on the status of your orders, allowing you to get ahead of trouble and make adjustments before you miss a deadline.
  • Understanding what component orders are needed when will end the fight for inventory items inside your operation.  Visibility into due dates will allow for quicker order turnaround in components and less delays for full projects because of missing materials.

3. Inventory Management

The tool is vital to asset management, item control, and management of catch-unit items.

  • Understanding of inventory usage and setting minimum levels for common inventory items allows for more bulk ordering leading to greater discounts, reduced shipping charges, and greatly reduces the need for costly rush orders.
  • On hand inventory such as items produced before change orders and other material can be advertised and sold at a premium compared to cost.  Free up valuable storage space and add additional revenues to your month at the same time.  

4. Logistics

The function lets you track and manage all your freight. It supports route and load management.

  • Guaranteed order accuracy in shipping will save thousands in hot shot fees for items that didn't make it onto the truck.  
  • Intuitive loading sequences and weight tolerances take the guesswork out of loading & reduces time unloading, allowing for more deliveries in your week.

5. Customer Relationship Management (CRM)

The tool helps with lead management, opportunity tracking, and other sales lifecycle tasks.

  • Ensure that every request for quote has been fulfilled, every quote has been followed up on, and know that active customers are being pro actively spoken to.  
  • Targeted campaigns can push older product and drive customer demand.

6. Other ERP modules support:

  • Business analytics and KPI's
  • Workforce management
  • Remote access and Mobile Workforce

What are the Benefits of ERP in Metal Building Construction?

Using the right ERP solution to manage your metal building projects has many perks, including:

1. It Helps Make Accurate Data-Centric Decisions

Whether you're the CEO, project manager, or purchasing manager of a construction company, the decisions you make in your official capacity impact the cost-effectiveness of your operations. You don't want to make such calls blindly.

Thankfully, ERP data can help you make the right choices. For instance, the software supports data-centric material scheduling to avoid wastage and track costs, helping save money. Likewise, shop floor shortage and inventory reports help identify and prevent possible manufacturing delays due to a lack of necessary parts.

A report featured in MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy found that data-based decision making in the manufacturing industry resulted in 3% productivity increase on average.

2. Integration Benefits

An EPR for metal building projects makes all your construction process data available and visible across all departments. The people responsible for estimating, purchasing, or resource scheduling can see all the data in real-time before making important decisions.

Respondents in Panorama's 2017 Report on ERP Systems & Enterprise Software highlighted EPR benefits as follows:

  • 7% cited better lead time and inventories: That's because shop floor and work order data, sales orders, purchase orders, and item information is available in real-time to people responsible for purchases and ordering of materials.
  • 8% cited better engagement with suppliers: The system facilitates vendor management and the identification of best purchasing opportunity.
  • 4% mention reduced operating costs: Cloud-based integration eliminates the need to acquire or operate expensive on-premise infrastructure.
  • 13% cited enhanced integration: This is due to the harmonization of all construction company software and data.

A metal building ERP solution can streamline production processes and improve collaboration among the various teams involved in your construction project. It can help check resource wastage, boost lead times, and maximize profits, among other benefits. Contact us to learn more about leveraging construction ERP software!

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