As the construction industry emerges from the dark days of the recession into the light of new project work across the country, it is confronted with two thorny issues that can impede growth: an unusually high staff-to-craft ratio due to under-investment in technology; and retention of skilled workers. A common theme runs through these seemingly disparate issues – and that is one of document management. Consider this: The construction industry hires skilled, college-educated construction professionals with degrees in engineering or construction management and tasks them to manage mind-numbing, time-intensive paperwork.
Imagine investing in a college education in which you have acquired a skill set in Visual Design, BIM, or leading-edge scheduling system and having to sit in front of a desk full of material receipts to input into a materials book. Adding insult to injury, at month’s end you have to run around to gather all those receipts and compare them to the paid invoice amounts to accrue for unpaid commitments in a green-screen accounting system. Is it any wonder why the construction industry is challenged to attract and retain skilled workers who are versed in modern technologies that provide a competitive edge?
But this issue of document management extends beyond the back-office and thwarts efficiency on the job site as well – particularly on self-perform civil construction job sites. For example, a continual flow of incoming trucks have materials that must be weighed, received, or laid down into yards. Every receipt of materials affects job cost, which requires the involvement of project engineers. Approval and reconciliation of these receipts is typically handled in an old-school, manual manner that can take anywhere from hours to days, is highly error-prone and does provide real-time visibility or data.
Enterprise Content Management with ELO
B4 Consulting is addressing these construction-centric document management issues with a solution that easily integrates into any IT landscape and at a fraction of the price of some Redmond-based document management systems. Through our partnership with ELO Digital Office, a world leader in Enterprise Content Management (ECM), we bring easy-to-use and affordable ECM solutions to SAP and non-SAP users.
Construction companies such as SNC Construction and Bilfinger have gone digital with ELO. Companies such as these integrate email, estimates, drawings, delivery tickets, purchase orders, and invoices – all on one seamlessly integrated platform. In one system with rights-assigned access -- employees can from any type of device streamline and standardize processes such as:
- Project Site Setup: Create an archiving structure for all project-related digital content
- Delivery Ticket/Goods Receipt Process: Delivery receipt at project site; receipt confirmation; automated G/R posting
- Accounts Payable: Capture supplier invoice, validate data, remote project-site workflow approval, release/posting into AR, process invoice with and without PO#
With our ECM solution, the job site scenario described earlier is quickly transformed into a few-click process done in seconds vs. hours or days in which:
- goods receipts are automatically assigned to a clerk who scans them into OCR-based technology
- OCR technology is integrated with the ERP solution
- ERP solution allows the user to check the accuracy of the scan
- workflow is triggered alerting the appropriate Project Engineer to check for any exceptions before approving the goods receipt
- system automatically captures delivery tickets and matches them to appropriate invoices to create an Accounts Payable event, accompanied by an approval processes
This functionality can be applied to several construction scenarios from goods receipt to change order management processing. The B4 Consulting ECM solution for intelligent document processing can be applied to any number of business processes in the construction industry, which integrate ERP systems and enable workflows for downstream processing.
Moreover, our solutions use technology for increased efficiencies that optimize resources while ensuring and simplifying compliance with both internal and external requirements. Your skilled construction personnel can now focus on field activities and managing projects instead of paper. Staff-to-craft ratios can be optimized for improved profitability, increased productivity, and higher worker retention rates.
Regardless of your IT landscape, B4 Consulting can help you implement an ECM solution that capitalizes on the latest scanning technologies to increase your productivity and improve profitability. Let’s talk about how we can put ECM to work for you – email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.