It’s one of those boring details that is frequently overlooked – but ignoring it can cause havoc in project reporting. I’m talking about the importance of aligning project financial reporting to a specific point in time in order to have any chance at meaningful metrics on the state of the project. Major projects are steeped in complexity, with a high pace of activity going on every day. It’s tricky to measure and report on frenetic, in-flight projects like that because putting a halt to things simply isn’t an option, “Hey everyone, just stop what you’re doing so we can get a reading on what’s going on.” That’s just not going to happen. So, you have to set regular, theoretical, lines-in-the-sand at incremental points, and measure the project at those increments so that you can produce reports, even though things will keep moving on. It’s a bit like trying to measure the flow of a fast mountain river tumbling over rocks and cliffs – you have to just jump in and go for it while the river keeps pounding on past you.
Statistics show that more and more Oil and Gas contractors are moving forward and embracing better technology to streamline their businesses. Contractors in many industries have been a bit late to adopt software as a means to improve their profitability - but that is changing fast. This is partly due to the near-collapse in oil prices that haunted the industry over the past five years; which has recently been creeping up into the $60/bbl range to make things profitable again. During that period, companies had been searching for ways to remain profitable, and many turned to technology such as project cost management solutions to secure that profitability. This momentum is continuing, as companies aren’t prepared to take a risk on another fall in prices.
In this article I’m going to go through the basics of how, after creating a change order in 4castplus, you can go on to make any revisions to purchase orders based on the details of that change order. First, however, I’ll clarify a bit of terminology in terms of the difference between a change order and PO revision:
For any organization, their corporate data is one of the most important assets they possess. The information they gather on a daily basis forms the core of who they are, where they’ve been and where they’re going. The monumental technology changes going on in the world today have made ‘Data’ the central element that determines success or failure for most any company.
On any day of any major construction project, a ton of information is being collected about that project. Including: costs, hours, activities and progress; along with a variety of documents, photos, invoices and receipts. Feeding all this data to the project managers is critical to enable them to bring the project to a successful completion on time and on budget.
The thing is, all this data that’s collected needs to be both accurate and complete, otherwise it’s not much use to anyone. Not only that, but it also has to be timely – meaning that, giving project managers data that several weeks old doesn’t really help much. It needs to be current, like from today, otherwise you’re managing the past, which is not only ineffective, but frustrating.
Construction costs in the US have been escalating for months now, and it’s so far the contractors who are carrying the weight of absorbing these price increases. This, according to a recent study by the Associated General Contractors, who went on to point out that recent tariffs on non-US foreign materials have further intensified the issue.
The Pain of Higher Construction Costs
Several decades ago, organizations used to manage all their finances using big paper-based ledgers, where they’d spend much of their day “doing the books”. These large ledger books worked for hundreds of years, however it would be a challenge to find any modern company today that runs their business on paper-based accounting methods.
It’s not uncommon for organizations to consider the idea of using their ERP as a one-stop-solution for all their technology needs – even when it comes to managing the many-layered complexities of cost management on major projects. It’s an appealing idea: everything in one place, under the tight control and scrutiny of the finance department. The challenge with this of course, is that the target users of an ERP are in the finance department, not those who are managing the day-to-day operations of a large construction project.
Construction projects have many moving parts and a colossal amount of data to carefully manage in order to keep the project running to plan. Not only that, but there are numerous different types of users that need to work collaboratively in real-time. Such as: Project managers, project controls, engineers, field staff at the jobsite, subcontractors, project owners and others, that all need to work together, sharing data and workflows, to seamlessly bring a project to a successful conclusion.