Sometimes, contracting jobs go smoothly. Everyone arrives on time with the necessary equipment and materials, jobs get done ahead of schedule, and the paperwork is a breeze. At other times, you experience disorganization, delays, and missed deadlines.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software helps you put all the pieces of a project together on one accessible platform. With better organization and communication, you can avoid the issues that will derail construction projects and streamline the workflow so that everything runs smoothly and finishes on time and under budget.

Choosing the right ERP tool

ERP platforms are an essential element of a specialty trade contractor’s toolbox. Unfortunately, not all ERP software is the same. These products are supposed to make your business easier to run, but if you make the wrong choice, it could have the opposite effect.

You might find that your software comes with a steep learning curve, isn’t compatible with your current systems, or has features you will never use (even though you have to pay for them).

Today, most ERP platforms use a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. As a customer, you purchase the license and then access the cloud-based platform online (rather than downloading the software and installing it on your computers or devices).

Here are the specific details and factors to consider when choosing a cloud-based enterprise resource planning software for specialty contractors.

Define your budget

Features are important, but you do not want to waste time assessing software outside of your budget range. Price limits can also help you decide whether or not specific features are necessary and able to bring a positive return on the investment. SaaS products have subscription pricing models, so you will have to weigh monthly or annual costs. 

Address your current pain points

Instead of looking for a one-size-fits-all solution, you should find an ERP solution that best fits your specific needs. The first step in this process is defining your needs by seeing where your current system or systems are lacking or create duplicate work. Perhaps you are overloaded with paperwork, or other contractors are unable to access the necessary information for their job.

Once you define the problems, you can search for ERP software that addresses them. This approach will save you from investing in unnecessary extras.

Also, one of the primary advantages of ERP platforms is that they put everything that you need in one package so that you do not have to worry about patching together different incompatible elements to meet your business’s software needs.

Consider accessibility

Cloud-based ERP systems have a distinct advantage over traditional software options because they are accessible from anywhere, anytime. You can log in from an office desktop, a Wi-Fi-connected laptop or a tablet or smartphone with data service. Also, if you work with other specialist contractors, they can access the platform as long as they have login credentials. This accessibility allows you to access and share information in real time regardless of your location.

Ensure necessary features

Specialty contractors usually want specific features, such as inventory, supply chain and logistics information, scheduling, accounting, bookkeeping, and billing.

Again, you will want to ensure that 1) the platform you choose offers the features you want, or 2) it lets you connect existing software that handles specific tasks you need.

Does the FCP Insight’s Business Control Center fit your needs?

FCP Insight’s Business Control Center (BCC) is an ERP option built by a specialty contractor for specialty contractors. It is a cloud-based system accessible from any internet-connected device. In addition to configurable options that can streamline navigation and data collection, this platform has sales, project management, real-time reporting, and timecard tools and the ability to connect QuickBooks for easy bookkeeping.

Since it is hosted on the cloud, all your team members can access the necessary information and add data in real time, even if they are at a job site.

If you would like to take this ERP tool for a test drive, contact FCP Insight to request a demo.