Most construction businesses seem to believe that Accounting, Project Management, Scheduling, Payroll, Assets and Stock etc. are different business functions and require separate systems specialising either in each or few business functions. Every time they realise a capability/functionality gap in the existing suite of systems, they go and find a new system to fill that gap. Even though it does patch-up the process or capability gap but as the business grows, it ends up having a number of different systems that do not exchange data. Hence, creating a problem in its own…having too many disparate systems.
Eventually, this one problem leads to a number of other problems for the businesses, e.g. too many different sets of organisational data, delayed data based decisions, availability of the project earned value general ledgers, ability to understand the difference between project liquidity and profit etc.
Based on our 40+ years of association with the national and international construction businesses, I think all of it sums up in the answer of one question…
Why can’t we have one system?
Because most systems are designed while keeping accounting as the forefront instead of Project Management. In addition, to design and develop a 360 degree Construction Business Management Software or Construction ERP Software would take years and years. Therefore, many businesses adopt the MVB (Minimum Viable Product) “go to market” strategy. Then, identify a process or capability gap and start developing another module as a “bolt on” and sold as either an upgrade or additional module. This inherent practice flows through the industry.
Let’s pick a couple of business functions, for example: Payroll and Project Management.
Payroll Software for Construction businesses requires it to be a custom application by default. But, even more importantly, its two-way data integration/interrogation with project management and allocation is essential. And, its no easy task…
Muli Payroll Module (Screenshot below) has over 170 applications (running in the background) that we have developed in-house. And still it is just one module (out of 20 in total). Not to mention with fully functional SBR2*.
Whether you want to check/review Timesheets, Labour Orders, Invoice Charge Out Report, Payrun controls or anything else, you have one centralised section with data integration with individual projects Providing you with one version of the truth in real-time.
“The fundamental principle to implement Muli Payroll Accounting is that the users understand their interpretation of the various awards and conditions to ensure that the payroll set-up reflects the company’s interpretation”. (Ref: Muli – Manual09: Payroll)
Now, let’s move on to the next one: Site and project management.
Or, as we call it: Menu for the “coal face” team!
Project Management Review is “The Central Engine of Muli”.
The Muli project review process provides a framework to review all identified issues in a project and confirm their status. This is achieved by a structured loading of all budget items included in the detailed estimate (at least to the level that clearly identifies all orders, subcontracts and internal expense), along with the company defined Risk2Do items that ensure the process risk in the project is assessed.
A project review is assessing:
All Budget Items
All Purchase Orders and Subcontracts
All use of company Labour
All outstanding Risk2Do items
Making provision for any emerging issues
The process is covered in detail in Procedure 6012.3 Project Review (Project/Site Manager).
(Ref: Muli – Manual07: Site and Project Management)
We have over 800 applications running in the background with only one objective: to provide you with all project and business related data in one place: Project Budget and Variations, Accounts, Contract Preparation, Project Document Management, Estimating, Payroll, Subcontractor Management, Project Schedule and Cash flow management, Project Cost reports with allocations and stages etc.
In my opinion, most businesses viewed as Construction Project Management Softwares are barely qualified to be called Construction ERP Software.
Shar looks after the client acquisition and engagement at