How to Build an ERP for Construction?

ERP for construction
Faiza Khalid
CIS engineer | Developer | Tech Writer

Are you wondering how to build an ERP for construction?

The construction management software market is expected to reach 6.5208 billion USD by 2028.

The market is split between cloud-based and on-premises software types. The types of market users include contractors, project managers, engineers, and builders.

The construction industry is one of the enterprises undergoing a massive digital transformation. Enterprise resource planning and management software help increase operational efficiency and accountability across construction firms.

While multiple commercial software solutions are available for the construction market, all may not work seamlessly with your specific construction business operations.

You can develop custom ERP software that suits your business processes management and growth requirements.

Build an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) for Construction Businesses

Construction ERP software integrates various departments and relevant people, including onsite crew, contractors, and other stakeholders. The real-time exchange of information via a centralized database helps maintain data integrity. 

ERP features help streamline processes such as materials procurement and delivery, labor management and scheduling, finance and accounting, sales management, document management, enterprise asset management, etc.

Moreover, ERP systems automate manual processes, such as internal communication, job scheduling, quality control, etc. 

You will go through the following steps to develop the best ERP software for construction.

Develop a Project Plan

The first step is to draft a project plan that includes your project goals and objectives. For this, you will conduct a detailed requirements analysis across your enterprise and find out how an ERP will help you reach your business objectives.

Your project scope will help you decide on the functionalities you want to achieve in your ERP system. Usually, an ERP for construction has the following key features:

Project Management: This module helps connect your project managers and team members. All the information is available instantly so every team member can stay in the loop. Task assignment and progress tracking get easier.

File Management: A centralized data model helps with faster file access and sharing. Access control tools allow customization of sharing options, granting controlled permissions to view and edit file data.

Quality Management: A real-time availability of site data helps in remote inspection and monitoring of quality assurance and safety protocols. Organized risk management mitigates risks on time by tracking quality issues in one place.

Tender Management: This module helps with the distribution of tender documents, collection of information, etc. 

Financial Management: This module helps track cash flows and manage budgets, in addition, to streamlining bids, bills, invoicing, online payments, etc.

Human Resource Management: This module helps manage human resources, including site contractors, laborers, engineers, etc. It offers features like time-tracking, compensation management, job assignment, etc.

Data Analytics: Dashboards show real-time data on every construction site activity. Executives can identify risks and inefficiencies and devise better strategies using business intelligence.

These are a few of the many features that you can include in your ERP for construction businesses. You will prepare systems requirements documents that convey functional and non-functional requirements to product developers.

Build a Team for ERP Development

Your ERP development team will consist of the following:

  • A project manager helps map out a project plan, decide on deliverables, assign tasks, manage developers, etc.
  • A business analyst performs business requirements analysis, cost estimates, etc.
  • A UI/UX designer designs an appealing and intuitive front end of your ERP application.
  • A frontend developer codes the frontend components and layout of your ERP as per UI/UX designs.
  • A backend developer develops core ERP features, design and develop data models, perform third-party integrations, implement a deployment plan, etc.
  • A software tester conducts test cases and ensures the smooth and bug-free running of software.

You will also decide on a software development methodology and build your software development team accordingly. For example, agile methodologies, like Scrum, are commonly used in software development.

Scrum development breaks down the development process into smaller iterations called sprints. Each sprint delivers a deployable feature at the end. 

The scrum team is small and cross-functional. They work closely together and each developer is responsible for the successful completion of the software product.

You can read our article on what is a scrum development team for more information.

Provide the ERP Development Infrastructure

Provision of the software development infrastructure is the next step. You can either opt for an on-premise infrastructure or an on-cloud. Cloud computing technologies are popular today due to the benefits they offer to users.

Product owners get access to a range of development tools for their software developers at minimum startup costs. Moreover, cloud resources like servers, databases, etc., are easily scalable according to the business needs. 

There is no installation and maintenance expense as cloud service providers host and maintain computation and development resources.

Amazon Web ServicesMicrosoft AzureIBM Cloud, etc., are some of the leading cloud service providers in the market today.

Design and Development of ERP for Construction

Now that your development team has all the required tools, they will start with the development of the ERP system for constructors.

You can develop ERP web and mobile applications. A mobile app will help your users to utilize ERP features while on construction sites.

ERP Application Design 

Your UI/UX designer will design application layouts. A low-fidelity mockup called wireframe will describe the placement of UI components.

A high-fidelity prototype will give a more detailed view of application design, including visual themes, the interaction of UI components, etc.

For mobile app design, your app designers will follow Material Design Guidelines and Human Interface Guidelines to design an interactive UI for Android and iOS apps respectively.

Your UI/UX designers will use tools like SketchFigma, etc., to create wireframes and prototypes.

ERP Frontend Development

Your front-end developers will code the application frontend as per design prototypes. They will use programming languages like CSS and JavaScript and frameworks like BootStrap and Vue.js for web applications.

ERP Backend Development

Backend developers will develop the core functionalities of your ERP solution for construction.

They will use programming languages like PHP, C#, and JavaScript and frameworks like Laravel.NetNode.js, etc., to develop feature-rich applications while utilizing extensive development libraries available with these tools.

Moreover, your backend developers will design database models and implement data structures to store and retrieve business data efficiently.

They will choose between structured and unstructured database technologies like SQL-based PostgreSQL and JSON document-based MongoDB.

Your development team may choose third-party services and integrate them into your ERP application instead of building them from scratch.

For example, data visualization dashboards, message notification services, etc. Your developers should be knowledgeable about API integrations, development, and documentation.

Mobile App Development

We will recommend you build a native mobile application as it offers a seamless user experience and high performance on a native mobile device. Android and iOS are the main shareholders of the mobile user market.

Your mobile app developers will use programming languages like Java and Kotlin to develop Android apps and use tools like Android Studio IDEAndroid Virtual Device Manager, etc. 

Your iOS app developers will use Swift programming language to code iOS applications and use development tools like Xcode IDE and iOS Simulator.

Mobile app developers usually use lightweight databases like SQLite and Realm to store data on users’ devices as text files.

With Android apps, developers use libraries like Room as an abstraction layer. They use frameworks like Core Data with iOS apps.

You can read our articles on how to build a construction app and how to build a construction calculator app for more guidance.

Advanced Development Technologies

Your ERP developers will use advanced technologies like machine learning and data science to implement automation and data analytics features in your construction ERP solution. 

Your ERP developers should be familiar with the underlying structure of machine learning algorithms to implement them successfully. 

They should have experience in multiple data analysis and processing techniques, like descriptive analysis, time series analysis, regression analysis, etc., to implement data models effectively.

ML Developers commonly use Python programming language for handling machine learning models and big data processing.

There are multiple supporting tools and libraries which make ML and data science implementations much more efficient. A few examples include PyTorchScikit-LearnTensorFlowKerasApache Spark, etc.

Your mobile app developers can use ML Toolkit for Android apps and Core ML framework for iOS apps.

Test ERP for Construction

Quality assurance of the ERP application is the next step. Your software testers will run test cases to ensure all functional and non-functional requirements are met as planned. 

They will perform ERP application security testing, usability testing, unit testing, integration testing, etc.

Software testing tools like Selenium, TestRail, LambdaTest, etc., offer extensive testing features to record bugs, automate test routines, etc.

Your mobile app testers can use tools like AppiumEspresso, and XCTest to test ERP mobile applications.

Deploy and Configure

Once your ERP system is extensively tested for its smooth running, your development team will start to prepare for deployment. You may deploy high-priority modules first, followed by low-priority ones.

Your developers will follow DevOps practices to integrate development and deployment operations. This will ensure continuous testing of your application, automation of certain deployment tasks, continuous feedback, etc.

Your development team will perform configurations and integration of ERP modules with the existing systems, verify data migration, etc. They will use DevOps tools like GitBitBucketKubernetesDynatrace, etc., for source control management, container management, application performance monitoring, etc.

You can read more details in our article on the top DevOps tools available in the market.

Monitor and Maintain

Your employees will now use your ERP for construction activities. You will monitor their performance and overall business growth via ERP implementation KPIs. The analysis of these KPIs will help you evaluate if you have reached your goals of ERP development for the construction market.

Some of the essential construction KPIs include inventory turnovers, project margins, scheduling, revenue growth, etc. You can use tools like Datapad, Tableau, Klipfolio, etc., to measure these KPIs.

You will also require a plan to maintain your ERP solution and keep it up-to-date with new requirements of end users and versions of development technologies, including software and hardware.

Ready to Invest in Custom Construction ERP Development?

We have discussed in detail the steps of ERP implementation for the construction industry. You will require a competent team of software developers and project managers to follow these steps successfully.

If you, as a business CTO or CEO, do not find such qualified talent on your in-house team, a reliable option is to partner with a credible software development company like DevTeamSpace.

You can either outsource your complete construction ERP development project to DevTeamSpace or hire developers and designers to augment your existing team.

All our software engineers go through a vetting process before they become a part of our dev teams. You can rest assured that the top quality talent is developing your ERP product.

If you plan to partner with the field-expert community of developers at DevTeamSpace, you can start the process by sending us your initial project specifications via this quick form.

One of our account managers will get in touch with you to discuss further details on the onboarding and project planning process.

FAQs on ERP for Construction

1. What is ERP in construction?

Construction ERP systems are business management software to help construction companies efficiently and seamlessly manage their construction projects, resources, and financial capital.

2. Which ERP is best for construction?

Enterprise resource planning software like Acumatica, Vista, Sage 300 Construction and Real Estate, etc., can help you organize your construction business. You can opt for a custom construction ERP system development option if ready-to-use ERP software does not meet your business requirements.

3. What are the main modules of enterprise resource planning software?

Supply chain management, human resource management, finance and accounting management, customer relationship management, and inventory management are the main components of an ERP system.

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