How efficient are Odoo ERP apps to Optimize your Agile Construction Project?

Break down your project into small tasks and track them in graphic view with Odoo
April 25, 2021 by
How efficient are Odoo ERP apps to Optimize your Agile Construction Project?
Ahad Mahmud
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                                    This article provides a brief on the following questions: 

                                    • Is the Agile Management approach applicable for a construction project? If yes, how?

                                    • Why and how an ERP solution is vital for an Agile Construction Project? 

                                    • How efficiently Odoo ERP apps can handle your Agile Construction Project?


                                    The agile approach in a construction project focuses on constant development and frequent delivery to ensure the high-quality product end of the project in any situation. Mainly without a good communication flow among the teams, you can not implement agility in the project. From the planning to delivery phase agile approach concentrate on continuous learning and development. An integrated system is vital to support your agile construction project to create a good communication flow among the team. When it comes to an integrated system first thing that comes to mind is 'Enterprise resource planning (ERP)'. An ERP solution supports your agile construction project by focusing on two main functionalities – data management and workflow management [1]. 

                                    The agile technology of the Odoo ERP modules offers total coordination of all the key processes such as tender, vendor, subcontract, project planning, scheduling, cost, and time tracking involved in a construction project. Odoo ERP enables integration along with mobility to your project management process. 

                                    What is Agile Project Management?

                                    Traditional project management focuses on hierarchical structure for decision making and task accomplishing. In contrast, Agile project management deals with continuous learning, discovery, and changes throughout the project life cycle. If project stakeholders, scope, and solutions are entirely determined, traditional project management has proven successful [1]. Agile methodology has become popular for project management due to quick changes in technology, customer demand, and scope. 

                                    Raising senses of accountability and ownership in the team for quality assurance, enabling quick and easy direction change, making project resourceful and adaptable to required changes- according to Project Management Institute, these are the main three characteristics of agile project management approach [2].  

                                    Is Agile Methodology applicable to Construction Project Management?

                                    Agile project management has made its fame first in Information Technology (IT) based project. IT projects requirements frequently change due to coping up with the speedy advancement of technology. In this case, the agile management approach has been proven efficient to deal with frequent updates and continuous development from the planning to delivery phase. However, the agile method has placed the traditional project management approach in other industries with its adaptability and continuous development characteristics. In a construction project may be the scope and solutions are fixed, but project management activities such as scheduling, staff assigning, stuff allocating, purchasing, task monitoring, and reporting need changes and adjustment. 

                                    Let me explain to you how Agile Project Management is suitable for a Construction Project:

                                    • With the 'predetermination' approach, it is challenging to manage your construction project since the user requirements, competition, materials quality, market trends are continuously changing [3]. The construction industry has also started adopting agile methodology from project planning to the product delivery phase to cope with constant changes in the market and requirements.

                                    • Few project management consultants claim that construction project is not a perfect sector for implementing agile methodology since the plan, design, and results are almost fixed. But Agile methods assist you to manage your budget, schedule, team, product delivery to complete the project safely, on time, and under budget [4]. 

                                    • The agile management approach can be used in any large-scale project. Even for your small or medium-sized construction project, you can use agile methodology. For example, you can break down your entire 'duplex apartment- 15 weeks' project into 5 sprints. Maybe, sprint 1 (3 weeks) consists of foundational work, sprint 2 (4 weeks) consists of structuring the entire apartment, and the rest eight weeks you can allocate in another three sprints for furnishing, plumbing, tiling, etc. Thus, by focusing on a single sprint, you can deliver your entire project in different phases, which will help you to avoid big mistakes at the end [5].

                                    In a nutshell, agile management, a lighter weight framework, can provide adaptability to changes, faster detection of issues, focus on specific client's needs, high-quality product delivery by constant development in your construction project. 

                                    Why is an Integrated system/Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) crucial for Agile Construction Project Management?

                                    Tight budget and fixed deadline are essential and most crucial concerns for every construction project. Other functionalities such as Financial Management, Contractor Management, Vendor Management, Human Resource Management, Inventory Management, Schedule Management, etc., move around a Tight budget and a fixed deadline.  To accomplish a project on budget and on time, it is crucial to integrate the functionalities mentioned above.

                                    Image source: Line [8]

                                    Let's dig a little deeper. Below some basic tasks and processes are listed to discuss how an integrated/ERP solution can give significant relief from many challenges in your construction project:

                                    1. Project Planning & Scheduling:
                                    If you plan and schedule your budget manually or use separate software, it is commonly time-consuming and error-prone. An entire project plan, including schedule and cost, requires different types of information such as stakeholder, market price, risk analysis. Suppose you fail to list and calculate the project deliverables, resources. Imagine gathering all that information manually or with different software from different areas to make your project Plan! 

                                    On the other hand, you can get all that information needed for a plan with an ERP solution by connecting with CRM, vendor management, contractor management, inventory management, Accounting, HR department. This integration does not only make your planning easy also makes your plan accurate by providing real-time information.

                                    2. Contract & Tender Management:
                                    Managing project tenders separately in different platforms results in a lack of control and communication gap. An ERP enables you to create your tender packages by collaborating with your stakeholders in your system. Traditionally, sending or receiving files such as proposals or other related files you use email raises confidentiality issues. Besides, you can control the user access to confidential files. You can create your tender documents with an ERP solution, including proposals, requirements, quotations, by simply entering words in the provided templates. 

                                    ERP solutions make your stakeholders more visible in the tender, such as private/government agencies, environmental organizations, and clients. 

                                    3. Inventory and Materials Management:
                                    Most of the construction companies use the same high-valued machinery for multiple sites. Your machinery and other materials are constantly engaged in different projects. Without real-time information and an integrated system, it is complex to schedule and use that machinery and materials quickly. Manual processes or using a mix of different inventory and material management systems are not worthy nowadays in today's interconnected working environment. A single-digit mistake in your worksheet can result in a wrong calculation for the entire inventory and material management. 

                                    When it comes to the integrated system like ERP solution, it will help you list and locate your scattered materials such as machinery, parts, tools. In real-time. ERP facilitates you to use mobile devices such as barcode scanners, IoT (Inter of things) with mobile apps for cycle counting and lot tracking. This advantage will help you to avoid any backlog during a crucial time.

                                    4. Subcontractors & Purchase Order Management:
                                    Managing Data about subcontractors and purchase order is crucial for your construction project. Manual process or using separate software for managing your subcontractors for any purchase for your project gives you a hard time since it does not automate data integration.

                                    Nowadays, modern construction companies use good ERP to check and compare the market's best price for selecting subcontractors for a project. A good ERP will provide all the information such as quotation comparison, best price, analytical reports in a single dashboard to choose a contractor and order.

                                    5. Workflow Management and Field Track:
                                    A construction project workflow management consists of vendor and contract, on-site employees onboarding, safety procedure quality control tasks, and processes. Imagine how complex to get an overview when you need to check the matches among these using manual or separated software. In contrast, ERP solutions can provide a Kanban view of all the processes in a single dashboard just by clinking on your pc or mobile screen.  

                                    6. Reporting:
                                    Without a proper reporting system, you are unable to get an update on your project. Using email or a traditional worksheet for reporting any updates is a slower method. If you do not get reports on time and somehow you can't collaborate, it can result in a backlog in your project. In an ERP solution, any manager, supervisor from any location who has access to the system can report any progress, issues to keep your project on track. 

                                    7. Financial Management:
                                    Financial management in construction differs from regular accounting since the high mobility of the assets like equipment, machinery, labour in the construction industry. Even in every task's different types of stakeholders like contractors, subcontractors, vendors are related. So, it is a challenge to track the expenses and income for the Account department without any integrated solutions [6].

                                    How can Odoo Project ERP app Optimize your Agile Construction Project Management?

                                    Odoo ERP suite of business apps helps you run your construction project on track and enables you to create your workflow. With Odoo ERP apps, you can simplify and make your entire project workflow visible in a single dashboard. Odoo ERP provides ready modules for your project, or you can customize those apps according to your project needs.  

                                    The following image borrowed from the Odoo Learn tutorial illustrates the business flow of a construction project [7].

                                    Odoo ERP Sales, Project, Field Service, Purchase, Accounting apps are fully integrated to create and support your construction project workflow with different features in a user-friendly and straightforward way.

                                    Let me tell you how Odoo ERP modules can optimize your small or mid-sized construction project:

                                    Odoo Sales Module for Construction Project: 
                                    For your small or mid-sized, you can use the Odoo Sales module to create and send a quotation to your clients, including cost, time, workers' detail. The following image borrowed from the Odoo Learn tutorial shows a sample quotation to be sent to clients for a construction project [7].

                                    So, with the Odoo Sales module, you can send a quotation for the project to your clients. You can add the detail in this dashboard features, for example, products, task description, required time, and price. Even you do not have to go to other platforms to share the quotation. You can send an email with a single click to your client from saved contacts. Then a new project will be automatically created in Project Module Dashboard once the quotation gets approved. 

                                    Odoo Project Module for Construction Project:
                                    Once the quotation is approved, and the contract is negotiated, the project manager will start working on the project. The Odoo Project app enables the project manager to create his workflow for the project, and he will get the kanban view of the tasks under task categories. The following image borrowed from the Odoo Learn tutorial illustrates [7]

                                    The project manager can assign the tasks to a particular team or individual from the kanban dashboard with a single click. Only the project manager can approve the work done even if you do not use a specific system to track your timesheet for the project work. No problem! You can set the time tracker in this dashboard while assigning any tasks. 

                                    Even you can get an overview of all of your projects in one dashboard. The following dashboard represents a dashboard that shows how visible the projects by the Odoo Project module [7].

                                    Well, when it comes to invoicing customers' sales department can easily create invoices from your report with the template in Odoo Sales Module.  

                                    Odoo Purchase Module for Construction Project:
                                    Purchasing is a very common but vital responsibility for the construction project manager. Construction purchasing includes buying materials, services, tools, supplies, equipment and equipment rental, and so on. The project manager can easily create a purchase order in the Odoo Purchase module dashboard.

                                    The above dashboard [7] allows your project manager to create RFQs for your vendors by simply adding product, quantity, and unit price.

                                    When the RFQ's accepted by the vendor, the project manager has to create and send the Materials Purchase Bills to the Accounting department. Well, you do not need to go into another system. Just go to the Accounting module and create the bill as almost in the same process. 

                                    The following dashboard is for creating a Bill from RFQs for sending to the Accounting department [7].

                                    Accounting Module for Construction Project: 
                                    When it comes to the Accounting department for financial management, a lot of works come to mind. But Odoo ERP automates many jobs for the accounting department. The accounting department can get all the invoices from the Sales dashboard. The accounting department needs to visit the Sales dashboard to get all the 'Bill of Materials’/invoices created by the Project Manager.

                                    Standard Features in Odoo ERP Modules that also help you to Optimize your Project:

                                    • You will get an overview of your tasks in graphic views, including chart, bar, and kanban formats.

                                    • You can communicate with the targeted team or individuals (saved contacts) by sending text, email, post without changing your current dashboard. Besides, each module of Odoo ERP allows you to share documents with others. So you do not have to use another platform for document sharing, which can optimize your confidentiality and cybersecurity concerns.

                                    • You can customize your Odoo ERP apps based on your project needs. For example, you have a big responsibility to check the Quality of your products in your project. In this case, you don't have to go to another system. You can incorporate IoT tools and set several parameters for Quality checks.

                                    • You will get the app version of each Odoo ERP module. So your project manager and other employees can bring a mobile device such as a portable tablet with them for tracking, reporting on any issues or any mobile assets. 

                                    Let's recap. Odoo ERP provides you with the opportunity of using its modules what you only need. If you want to add any apps later based on your business requirements, you can easily integrate with other apps anytime. Even you can add third-party apps to your system and can collaborate with other Odoo ERP modules.
                                    If you run a small or medium-sized construction company, the module mentioned above can help you accomplish your project by providing automation and integration to your tasks. Even if you extend your projects on a large scale, Odoo ERP can also handle your big tasks by adding other modules such as Quality Control, Timesheet, Field Service, and Planning, which help you manage your specific functions on a large scale. 



                                    About us:

                                    Ahad Mahmud, Business Analyst

                                    Ahad is an IT- Business Analyst at High Tech Masterminds. He strives to create informative, well-researched, digital content. He is often designing and developing course contents and materials to assist customers in Odoo ERP implementation. He has 3+ years of experience in evaluating stories, shaping content, and accelerating overall work quality in electronic media.

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                                    High Tech Masterminds Pty Ltd is an Official Odoo partner in Australia. We believe that every manufacturing business can benefit from modern information systems and digital technology in its digital transformation journey. You can book a free consultation session today with one of our experienced consultants (No salesperson!) to talk about how digital technology can help you scale up.

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                                    How efficient are Odoo ERP apps to Optimize your Agile Construction Project?
                                    Ahad Mahmud April 25, 2021
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