Just to clarify, this post is not about different construction project management software options. This is not a ranking of the best construction project software suites. The goal of this post is to discuss the different software tools that can be useful in managing a construction project to serve as a guide in finding the right construction project management software to get. The tools featured here can be used as a guide in deciding on what features to look for and in comparing different software options.
1. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software Tools
Enterprise Resource Planning software are typically composed of several integrated applications that are used by a company in collecting, storing, managing, and interpreting data pertaining to business activities. There are various ERP software solutions for construction companies and they help make sure that important activities such as prospecting, estimation/quoting, project costing, work-in-progress and direct costing management, and contract/purchase management are properly handled.
2. Job Management and Costing Tools
Since construction projects involve labor, job management tools are naturally needed. Job management tools are necessary for employee scheduling and in getting updates on the progress of the work done so far. They are also useful in determining the need to hire people to make sure that there are people to do the work as projects start. They also clarify the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in a project.
3. Invoicing or Billing Tools
Construction project management can also benefit from the use of invoicing and billing tools. These tools could be something that sends a simple invoice or it may be something that can handle multi-job invoices. Data from other departments can be automatically fed into invoicing or billing tools to be able to quickly generate invoices. Invoicing or billing tools can automate calculations for billing or invoicing using different parameters. The invoice can be based on actual time and costs, quoted or estimated time and costs, percentage of the quoted amount, or corresponding costs for project progress. All these can be quickly generated with just a few clicks.
4. Document Management
Construction projects involve a wide variety of documents. These documents need to be properly stored, compiled, organized, and shared or presented. Document management tools help construction project managers take control of these documents without necessarily eliminating or completely supplanting the use for hard copies. Document management tools can complement the management of paper documents. They can also make documents cloud-based for more convenient anywhere access. They may be integrated with well-known cloud storage services such as Google Drive and Dropbox.
5. Messaging and Collaboration Tools
Without a doubt, messaging or communication is important for everyone in a project. It would be a great help for construction project managers to have a unified platform for messaging when discussing a project. Messaging tools can enable chat, email, or voice based communication over the internet and may also store messages or call logs for future reference. On the other hand, collaboration tools are also highly useful to construction project management. These tools enable the fast and convenient coordination with staff, contractors, as well as with clients. They may include presentation functions to make it easier to discuss project with visual aids and access to supporting documents.
6. Workflow Management System
Just like ERP, a workflow management system features an array of functions that make it easier to manage projects. It may include lead generation and management, job management and costing, time tracking, invoicing or billing, messaging, collaboration, as well as document management and reporting tools. It is a suite of applications that can be used as a standalone solution for managing construction projects. It may also be used in consonance with other tools or be integrated with other systems that are already being used by a company.
Software suites designed for construction project management nowadays feature a combination of the tools mentioned above. They don’t necessarily get labeled as construction project management software. Some may simply be called integrated project management software but provide a host of functions or features that make them suitable for use in construction project management. If you are looking for a good construction project management system, consider choosing one that include the aforementioned tools or features.