Ever wish you had an early warning before exceeding budgeted quantities and costs?

Umbrella – ERP Software that stops Purchase Orders before they exceed allowable costs.

Albert Styger, Umbrella Software.

Successful Construction and Contracting businesses ensure that they complete Projects at or below the budgeted or allowed cost. The most effective control is to flag a Purchase Order that will exceed allowed costs or quantities even before it is approved for release to a Supplier. That way, when a Purchase Order is issued you are assured it is for the correct quantity and cost.

Companies often rely on the Site Manager to issue purchasing instructions, via a requisition, that may lead to exceeding allowed costs or quantities, without an opportunity for the Project Manager or Management to understand why this has happened and take appropriate action. Often, these cost overruns are only apparent towards the end of the project when your Cost to Complete is too low or exhausted. Cost overruns then result and already tight margins are eroded.

Integrated Construction Software is the magic genie that will grant you your wish: it halts the capture of a Purchase Order if you are about to exceed allowed quantity or cost. If you proceed anyway, you have to provide a reason why this line item cost will be exceeded. Your Material List, sub-contract costs and labour budgets are available for real-time comparison because your entire back-office integrates the financial and operational sides of your business.

Once you have costed your Construction or Contracting Project, the task of clever buying under budget or sticking to the allowed cost becomes an everyday battle. One way to achieve this is to use integrated Construction Accounting Software where Purchase Orders are checked against allowed (or budgeted) quantities or costs in real-time and flagged for Management attention if either is about to be exceeded. Request for Quotation capabilities allow Procurement to shop around for the best price and often beat the allowed cost.

Umbrella Construction and Contracting Software is a system that will even ‘sweat’ the small stuff on your behalf: it will keep track of costs at individual line item level and warn you if a Purchase Order request is about to exceed budget. This allows for remedial action to be taken at the earliest opportunity so that these orders can be stopped or re-allocated to be claimed from a sub-contractor or provide early warning that actual quantities exceed those budgeted for.

By catching a pending breach of budget at the Procurement phase you have the opportunity to investigate it and take remedial action before you commit to an over-budget purchase order. This will greatly improve your chances of staying in budget or identify variances, bad sub-contractor work or poor quality product that will allow you to recover the cost overrun.

If a Purchase Order is captured that exceeds budget, you are required to enter a reason for review by Management. Once the Purchase Order approval process is done, any item that exceeds budget is colour coded to provide a visual warning that not all is well – all other orders may be released immediately. A quick drill down on the order line that will exceed budget shows how much it will do so by quantity and cost and the reason why. Management may then stop that order line, approve it or reduce the quantity to match the budget. Any option selected will be communicated, via a message, to staff to take remedial action.

Purchasing is further streamlined by allowing you to purchase by Project Work Breakdown Schedule so that you can go directly to the section of the Project you are working on. Quantity required, already purchased and still required is displayed for ease of Project Progress.

This improves the efficiency of the Procurement process as you are often dealing with vast quantities of purchases. By only purchasing materials when work has reached that stage you can maximise your cash outflow and avoid large quantities of material standing on-site, often where there is just not enough space, leaving you open to stock losses.

With Construction and Contracting Projects operating under the tight margins of today you need every tool available to ensure you do not exceed allowed costs that cannot be re-claimed elsewhere.

Umbrella Construction and Contracting Software is unique in the marketplace due to it having been developed, from the ground up, based on the latest software technology and techniques. Traditional offerings in the market are based on software that is decades old, unfriendly and complex to use. Umbrella is fast, easy to use and quick to implement, supports web services, bar coding and is Mobile friendly.

Umbrella is marketed by Agile Software and selected business partners throughout South Africa and SADC.

Umbrella Construction and Contracting will benefit companies that operate in Construction, Civil Engineering, General Contracting and complex Projects in Rail, Energy, Mining Supply, Metal and the Chemical Industry

Leveraging off the latest technology, Umbrella has a Microsoft Office look and feel, making it easy and intuitive to use. Tight integration eliminates the need for highly skilled accounting staff. On-site training and support until you go live give the confidence needed when installing a system like this. Thereafter, on-line support allows for quick response to support issues with on-site support where appropriate.