Traditional ERP (Enterprise) systems are touted as wall to wall systems, single systems that combine every element of a companies business (everything that goes on within the confines of the walls) into a single system as simple as the space shuttle. Construction systems must cover many remote sites as well hence wall to fence.
The same basic production equation applies, many times over.
The relationships (and system splits) are one to many to many. Many sites per project/projects per site per company division. For each project there will be a simple set of measurable resources that when measured with productive output and a few environment variables give an accurate overview of the project.
This is a typical I/O breakdown for a small to medium project that can be easily be measured to great potential benefit and administrative cost saving. The cost is low and returns high for Input, Output, Cost and, Achieved measurement systems.
The following triangle is split into levels of operations and the MLA systems that work at a that level. The lowest construction level is the join – the combination of skill, consumables, gear and materials by boilermaker, carpenter, welder, electrician etc that is construction – to a certain safety and quality standard. The successful completion of many joins is one of the keys to moneymaking. Mobilizing the necessary resources an essential part of the costs. MLA systems measure it all to highlight the quickest, best and most.
The blocks within the triangle identify the systems that MLA can provide, either through quick development or off the shelf packages. A more complete but non hierarchical MLA systems view would be as follows:
The key to successful system use is automation, productivity gain and new information. One of the major problems on big projects is lack of co-ordination between the departments, disciplines, contractors etc. Just running MLA systems is an advantage because reporting level and codes must be agreed, tried and tested at the start of the project. Each project will integrate systems differently. MLA can automate information exchange between disparate systems and databases usually at different locations.
As an integration example:
In general as more MLA systems are used in a more sophisticated fashion the systems will be more integrated until they appear to be a Company specific ERP system without the attendant disadvantages of the unavailable off the shelf systems
Assuming you have installed one of the hundred or so excellent financial accounting and management systems with instant Excel and source document drill down, with flashing graphs and executive dials along with some of the following head office modules that MLA could provide:
On a R 20m project site the MLA systems are in place and they tell that you have 43% real progress against a 58% achieved progress – the problems have been there but you want to bank R1.8m now again on completion.
Improving telecommunications and the adoption of remote systems extending head office onto site are the platforms on which the newly successful engineering and construction companies are being built. With 25 years practice MLA is leading the way.