December 8, 2021

 

Manufacturing, healthcare, retail, utilities, construction and other industries all can benefit by using specialized, end-to-end ERP solutions that include automation capabilities. It’s a good time for the construction industry, including residential builders, to look closely at their options here. The sector, which saw a decline in output in 2020, is now recovering, with an expected 15% growth this year.

Companies in the business should consider how they can take advantage of automation in specialized ERP solutions to cut down the number of cross-business functions that rely on manual interactions between builders and their supply chain partners.      

Some of these manual interactions include:

  • Tendering. Trade packages are sent to suppliers, subcontractors and consultants, who in turn send back bids for adjudication and award. Much of this back and forth involves sending around spreadsheets and ultimately rekeying winning bids into a management system, a process that is inefficient and prone to producing order and budget errors.
  • Distribution orders. Even today, signatures between builders and suppliers for the initial order, part order and order package generally involve printing the distribution order, signing it, scanning it, emailing it back and confirming receipt.
  • Trade scheduling. In the residential building industry, accurately scheduling land plot trades — from demolition to concrete work to architectural woodwork — is challenging. This is often even managed on whiteboards! It is problematic since so many changes occur during the building process and amending one plot can result in having to manually cascade changes across the site.

Drive Efficiency: Automate and Collaborate

When it comes to residential construction, specialist homebuilding ERP solutions can provide the necessary tools to automate and facilitate seamless processes between homebuilders and supply chain partners.

Here's an example of how automation can drive business value. Let’s take a tendering scenario. Using homebuilding ERP software, lump-sum or quantified items can easily be grouped together as trades, and invitations sent out to consultants, subcontractors and suppliers. They can securely log on and access the information and submit prices online. These can then be automatically compared, and adjudication conducted, all within the ERP solution. Any specific award notifications and main orders can then be sent out for digital signatures and subsequently automatically populate the budget.

Another scenario is making trade changes. With all work items associated to build program stages and activities within the ERP system, forecast date changes for each trade occur manually when the build program changes in some respect. Trades can have access to their work items within the build program via an online portal for visibility into changes.

Indeed, everyone involved in a homebuilding project — site construction teams, regional teams, and supply chain partners — has visibility into each other’s tasks.

A big advantage for home buyers is that warranties for a home’s major components, such as the furnace, plumbing or electrical systems, can be automatically allocated in the ERP system to the original subcontractor who carried out the work. It’s an automated process to connect the buyer with the subcontractor, which can speed up incident resolution when an issue occurs. Bringing accountability and responding fast to home buyers can be a significant factor in driving customer satisfaction.

DXC’s Homebuilder One, our end-to-end modern ERP automation solution built on Microsoft Dynamics 365, provides the ability to build in critical end-to-end processes so builders and their supply chain partners can stop relying on spreadsheets, reduce emails and avoid having to rekey data, among other benefits. Working smarter creates more time to focus on the job, as well as accelerate outcomes and manage more capabilities at a higher quality. That adds up to curb appeal.

About the Author

Jason Law is an Advisor System Architect (Microsoft Dynamics) within DXC's professional services vertical. Based in London, Jason enables companies to transform processes through system implementations. Jason is highly experienced in IT, systems, service delivery, and program management and change. His main focus is on the management of ERP and specialist business system implementation and ongoing improvement.