Top 4 Ways Successful Contractors Use Reporting and Analytics to Get Ahead
Contractors and construction companies generate a lot of data, including blueprints, BIM plans, photos, job costing updates, project accounts, customer data and more. Sometimes it can feel like you’re drowning in data. Fortunately, there are powerful ERP systems to help you manage your business information.
For all of this information to make a difference for your business, you need to make sense of all this data. The right reporting and business analytics software can help you to measure, assess, and act on the important data generated by your business.
What does Good Reporting Look Like?
Reporting is crucial for understanding your business performance in the present, as well as for your future strategic planning. As the saying goes: what gets measured gets managed.
Good reporting allows you to make informed decisions, update your business processes, and key in on areas where performance is lagging so that it doesn’t cost you. Good reporting should help reveal trends or identify areas where you’re falling behind so you can take action to correct.
Your ERP system is most valuable when you can extract succinct, timely, and actionable reports that detail the metrics that are essential for your critical business decisions.
In addition to scheduled and ad hoc reporting tools, many contractors and construction companies use business analytics to provide alerts about trends before they become a pattern.
What is Analytics?
Analytics is the process of discovering, interpreting, and communicating significant patterns in data. Using data visualization, analytics bring insights and meaning to data that might otherwise be missed.
More simply said, analytics is the generator for dashboards that you can use to track the key performance indicators (KPIs) that make sense for your business. Just make sure you identify appropriate KPIs that match the actual strategic and business objectives so that you can measure your performance against company goals.
Here are the top four ways successful contractors use reporting and analytics tools to get the most from their ERP system.
Use Job Cost Data to Create Winning Estimates
You can submit more precise bids by closely tracking job costs, variations, change orders, and material and equipment usage for every job. While most companies already do a version of these types of predictions, using a comprehensive post project comparison of your estimates and project figures will alert you about areas where you can improve processes or work more efficiently.
Improve Your Safety Standards
Every contractor wants to make their job site safer for their team members. Careful tracking of any safety issues you do encounter makes it easier to identify high risk tasks or dangerous situations so that you can prepare with extra training and help reduce the risk for your employees. You can use the safety data to create checklists that remind employees to take every safety precaution and ensure they are certified and trained for any specialist work.
Operate More Productively
Beyond job costs and cash flow, you can collect information and generate reports that tell you where your team works. Understanding your team’s actual movements can help you identify where to place inventory and equipment so that your employees can access critical job materials when they need it without adding extra hours of travel.
Determine Where You Can Save Money (or Where You’re Losing Money)
Track operations to see where you can gain efficiencies and save money. For example, you can use your reporting software to understand which subcontractors submit the most accurate bids and provide best value for your jobs. Are there subs who always keep to the schedule or who routinely go over?
How to Select the Right Reporting and Analytics Software
Choose integrated construction ERP software that will allow you to collect and share data from all areas of the same system and held in the same system.
Here are the questions to ask about Reporting in your ERP System
- Does your ERP system allow you to determine which data will be presented in your reports?
Preformatted report templates are just the tip of the iceberg. Your reporting software should be flexible enough to display relevant business data with the level of detail that’s appropriate for your key audiences. For example, department heads need more detailed information than the management team or board.
- Does your ERP system deliver standardized and uniform data across all departments?
All departments within your organization should be able to access and report on the same data so that the results reflect relevant circumstances within your company without the hassle of importing or exporting data across departments.
- Does your ERP system provide reporting that’s current and reporting on demand?
Timeliness is critical in the decision making process. Your ERP system should provide up-to-date data when you need it. Some decisions can’t wait for a weekly report or a download from a separate system. Your business needs reporting that can be called upon the spot.
A refined ERP reporting strategy combines modern real-time data with reports that deliver the information needed by your decision makers so they can take action.
Release date: 20th January 2022