Co-written by Tim Tucker and Jason Niccolau
The software industry has created many applications for construction companies—maybe too many. Below, we state our case for a unified construction software platform on which you can run your business. Then we discuss how our solution can help you manage a critical area of the business: subcontractors.
Larger construction companies may run more than 160 different software applications to manage their business. Even smaller firms often use close to 100 systems.1 While all these software tools fill important needs, it can be a staggering effort to keep them running flawlessly, secure, and current in terms of functionality and licensing.
Sikich takes a different approach. Our HEADSTART for Construction is an integrated solution that combines Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central with ProjectPro, the leading industry software. Together, the two products are a complete consolidated construction management software system.
ERP designed for the construction industry
Business Central is a cloud-based, complete enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, available in several versions. As with all Microsoft Dynamics 365 solutions, developers have developed many industry and process-specific applications to extend the software.
Companies can use the edition of Business Central that best fits their requirements. Usually, they do this with expert guidance from a consultancy like Sikich. The ERP system includes a range of capabilities that provide most of your needs—it helps you manage finances, projects, sales and services, distribution, warehousing, and the supply chain.
ProjectPro closes Business Central capabilities gaps for construction companies. Many of its features extend the jobs module in Business Central. In addition to such essential activities as job quoting, subcontract management, resource management, progress billing, and project management, it enables equipment management, retention tracking, inventory, and materials management—and a lot more. Only qualified, carefully vetted partners like Sikich resell and deploy the solution for customers, so you don’t run the risk of inadvertently engaging somebody who lacks the appropriate expertise.
To highlight how this construction management software can help you run your business, let’s consider subcontractor management.
Ensuring profitable, productive subcontractor engagements
In HEADSTART for Construction, you can record the contract conditions you establish with contractors, including the details about payment milestones or the tasks for which they are responsible. You also can document which materials are purchased by subcontractors and how and when you reimburse them.
You can let payments depend on specific conditions, such as certain requirements met to your satisfaction. With these details recorded in the construction management system, more timely and accurate progress billing to your clients can bring in revenue faster. Even better, you can automate invoicing to clients, or, if you’re a subcontractor, to general contractors.
Streamlined setup and release of liens
Maintaining liens and lien releases can be a headache for general contractors, who need to keep lien documents securely accessible and make sure that payments that impact a lien are properly recorded. In HEADSTART for Construction, you can track lien-related information with all its dependencies. The system generates lien documents, expedites them to the right parties, and records and files them once they are signed and returned. When all these steps are automated, contractors can receive their pay much faster.
By managing subcontractors, payments, and liens in the contractor management software, you can do away with spreadsheets and other ancillary mechanisms. Instead, you rely on a single resource for all management actions. Information is recorded just once, not repeatedly. Nobody has to remember or look for a certain document, and nobody has to keep spreadsheets current and secure. You immediately eliminate a lot of distracting busywork, saving time and expenses.
Transforming subcontractor management based on shared interests
There’s more to it; you get to transform how you work and communicate with subcontractors. The focus can shift to a collaboration based on shared interests and away from a series of potentially fraught transactions. You can discuss what’s best for clients and projects instead of talking about invoices or liens. There may also be a direct financial benefit. Subcontractors often invoice higher amounts when they know that the general contractor’s payments are likely to be late. Many will offer a general contractor better terms when efficient lien management accelerates their payments.
At the same time, both general contractors and subcontractors minimize the risk in their business. When you manage finance and contracts in a centralized construction software system, the likelihood of errors and inconsistencies declines. You don’t need to take special steps to ensure that payments happen on time, because the system can prompt them automatically, based on the projects and contract relationships you configure. By documenting what matters, you can avoid contentious ambiguities.
If you want to evaluate how engagements with a general contractor or subcontractor contribute to your business, you have a complete record of every project in your contractor management software. When you assess them based on data and actual events, business relationships may look quite different from your impressions of the most recent project.
Take the next step for consolidated construction management software
If you want to explore how Sikich expertise and HEADSTART for Construction can help you:
- Contact us and we’ll be right back in touch to answer your questions or arrange a demo.
- Visit the Sikich construction page with the latest on our services and solutions.