A peculiarity of the GCC can be seen in the impact small and medium enterprises (SME’s) have in driving the growth, development, innovation and diversification of the region. The business-friendly environment offered by the region is supported by a very strong element of entrepreneurial spirit and the GCC is often a world leader in vital markers such as, the Trade Facilitation Index, Logistics Performance Index, the Global Competitive Index and Ease of Doing Business.
SME’s in the GCC are active across all sectors from manufacturing to general trading through real estate and general contracting. All these businesses encounter a common challenge in keeping pace with such a fast paced and ever evolving landscape; the availability to gather accurate business information and intelligence to exploit opportunities and avoid business disruption by making swift, timely and effective decisions that impact efficiency and profitability.
ERP software is now commonplace across almost all sectors of industry allowing all processes and procedures to be integrated through the entire lifecycle of a project or opportunity using a single unified platform. The efficiencies delivered were once a competitive advantage which has in time evolved into a necessity as those without this facility find themselves significantly disadvantaged if not obsolete.
These ERP systems link every business function from Human Resources and Sales through Procurement, Project Management, Inventory and Distribution, Contracting and Finance. The scope of integration is only restricted by the structure and set up of the business itself.
In an evolving marketplace, increases in wage demands, overall costs of raw materials and distribution (to name but a few) consistently put a strain on the profitability of a business. Implementation of ERP systems has allowed businesses to better manage these aspects to maintain their profitability although one industry in the region is conspicuous in falling considerably behind.
Traditionally one of the largest industry sectors in the region, construction remains a core activity employing vast numbers of workers at all levels and generates billions of dollars of turnover. It is also perhaps the industry feeling the largest impact of the price squeeze with the profit margin on large projects reducing as low as 5%. Admittedly 5% of large numbers remains a significant profit but with such a narrow margin, the importance of effective project management becomes obvious. Even more so when you consider the statistics stating that most projects over-run considerably on time and typically more than 5% over cost.
With the need for absolute finite control and monitoring of project costs and track, it would be easy to assume the construction industry would have been the first to employ ERP software, but this was not the case. Early attempts to utilize ERP software in the Construction Industry were fraught with problems, largely due to these traditional ERP systems being designed for traditional industry and not being adapted to cater for an asset based business.
Today, however, there are key providers in the market who have designed ERP solutions specifically for the construction industry (solutions designed by construction professionals for use by construction professionals). With the absolute need to improve and refine process, communication and efficiencies across end to end projects, the importance of Construction ERP cannot be overstated.
The world’s largest and most successful construction companies employ market leading software for projects ranging from small housing or warehouse provisions right through to the completion of the world’s largest and tallest structures. They have been pivotal in the evolution and development of these ERP systems that are now available to all construction companies of any size.
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