Construction companies need to control site ordering, deliveries and compare actual costs against the original tendered or estimated cost.
Whimbrel has developed a powerful cloud-based construction requisition and procurement application that can be customised to your requirements. The procurement system can integrate with most accounting packages, including Pastel, or run independently.
Whimbrel’s site procurement software has the following features:
- Place and manage requisitions from site
- The site management team can request quotations and prices from the authorised buyer
- Generate multiple email alerts to inform the buyer a requisition has been placed and once the quotation from the supplier is updated, email the contracts manager for final authorisation
- Record delivery note numbers and dates
- Whimbrel is cloud-based and can be accessed from multiple sites
- Limits user access to certain fields, and viewing of reports requires the appropriate permissions
- Material costs can be managed against allowables and specific reports can be set up to manage health & safety, small tools, aggregates, etc
- Manage site deliveries against purchase orders
- Control all petty cash spent on sites
- Control bulk orders from the site
- Suppliers can access the system to update various aspects of the order
- Invoices can either be captured on Whimbrel or imported from the accounting package
- Customise and add features to the system according to your needs at an affordable cost
- Import all wage and salary costs from payroll
- Export all reports to excel with the required formatting
- Direct integration with your accounting packages’
Managing plant asset costs correctly is a vital part of plant hire and construction site management. Plant assets are notoriously difficult to manage from a financial perspective. Not only is there depreciation but also plant repair, servicing, diesel, operator and tax considerations. Whimbrel has developed a number of plant management modules that can be configured around your company’s requirements.
Our custom designed plant management applications typically cover the following:
- Generate plant hire quotations with senior management authorisation
- Diesel consumption and oil costs
- Manage the company’s equipment fleet register
- Creates service, wear checks and general job cards
- Control the equipment servicing including historical data on past services
- Alerts to order kits for machine services
- Calculate minimum hours, breakdown hours, rain time, operator and invoice hours
- Integrate with plant tracking solution
- Specilised plant invoicing module
- Plant location, utilization and productivity
- Stores and parts dispatch management: books machine parts into stores and out of stores onto job cards
- Activity based costing – calculating an hourly cost rate for each item of equipment
- Revenue vs. cost reports with details of the profit or loss on each item of equipment
- Custom designed plant templates
- Custom designed plant costing reports
- Shared plant asset registers between site, customers and the plant department
- All reports can be exported to Microsoft Excel with all the formatting automated
Commercial software and software integration considerations
Plant management systems are required by a myriad of different construction companies, from plant hire companies to contracting companies which own their plant. Commercial plant management software has been designed with all these different companies in mind, and can be overly complex with far too many features for the average company. Another difficulty regarding commercial plant management software is that it is notoriously difficult to integrate with the company’s existing accounts’ packages.
Problems with using accounting packages to manage a construction company’s plant
One of the main considerations when using accounting packages to manage construction assets is depreciation. Accountants generally use the tax depreciation rate to depreciate plant. This works for financial accounting purposes but is very misleading in measuring current asset values. Invoicing from an accounting packages is also problematic for plant hire companies as clients often need more specific plant management financial reports.
Benefits of custom designed plant management software
Whimbrel has developed a plant management package to suit most plant management needs, from plant hire, to earthworks, pipe laying, rail, demolition and general contracting. Whimbrel is able to customise solutions to your needs and your personnel’s computer skills, while ensuring you only have the necessary features. At Whimbrel we also specialise in software integration and can integrate Whimbrel’s plant management software with your accounting package or any other existing software solutions.
Keeping track of scaffolding and related costs in the construction industry, whether you are a scaffolding hire company or using your own scaffolding can be challenging. Scaffolding can be damaged, lost or stolen on site. It is therefore vital to keep track of items being used on site, items that have been moved from site and stock in store.
In addition, if labour is being supplied these costs need to be allocated to the appropriate site. Calculating costs or income manually can be tedious, as scaffolding is continuously being moved. This process has been completely automated by Whimbrel software. Whimbrel is a cloud based application and can be accessed by site and storage depot.
Whimbrel’s scaffolding management system has the following features:
- Records opening and closing balances for each site
- Manages scaffolding movements from site to site and to storage
- A double entry system to eliminate errors
- Custom designed scaffolding stock reports and invoicing templates
- Scaffolding labour management module
- Keeps track of daily, weekly and monthly scaffolding hire income
- Controls new scaffolding purchased
- Additional modules can be developed if required
- Manages scaffolding inspections
- Calculates cost per item and cost per ton
- Measures labour costs for erection and dismantling
- Customised scaffolding templates
- All reports can be exported to Microsoft Excel with all the formatting automated
Problems with commercial scaffolding management software
Commercial scaffolding management software can be frustrating to use. These systems are designed to suit all scaffolding companies and are often overly complex, with most of the features irrelevant to a specific company. Commercial scaffolding management software can also be difficult to integrate with the company’s existing software systems.
Benefits of custom designed scaffolding management software
Whimbrel has developed a number of software scaffolding modules that can be configure to your requirements and the skills of your personnel. We have designed our modules to suit both contractors and scaffolding hire companies. The software is flexible and additional modules can be added to include tools, plant, formwork, false work and access equipment if required.
At Whimbrel we also specialise in software integration and can integrate your scaffolding management software with your existing accounts’ packages, hire or construction software.
Modern accounting packages are not flexible enough to manage the complexities of expanding construction companies. Main contractors need systems to generate monthly subcontractor certificates among other things.
Subcontractor certificates need to be reconciled monthly to the actual payments on the accounting package. This ensures that errors are picked up before contract completion. It is vital that construction companies have a solution that enables them to manage the monthly cash flow liabilities of subcontractor retentions. Contra charging subcontractors, for site costs paid for on their behalf by the main contractor, is also an important aspect of subcontractor management.
Whimbrel’s custom designed subcontractor software typically covers the following:
- Generates subcontractor certificates
- Records this month’s, previous months’, and current month’s certificate values
- Calculates retention and quality retention figures
- Manages monthly contra charge costs
- Enables a choice of financial and subcontractor reports
- Keeps track of all subcontractor payments on one system
- Records total subcontractor costs per job
- Records subcontractor costs across all contracts
- Manages subcontractor site instructions
- Automatic Email Alerts
- Customised templates
- Keeps a historical record of all transactions
- Requests customised modules if required
Integrates software with accounting and estimating software
Integrating financial data across a construction company’s software solutions is critical. Whimbrel has developed a subcontractor management system that can combine financial data from the company’s estimating, accounting and its own subcontractor management packages to producing detailed financial reports. These reports give management accurate monthly cost comparison figures from the budgeted and the actual site costs.
Customise solutions to your needs
Whimbrel’s software solutions are fully customisable to your requirements. Any part of the solution can be altered and additional functionality added if required.
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Steel Erection and Fabrication Application
Whimbrel has developed a steel fabrication and scheduling software application that streamlines operational and financial planning. This application integrates seamlessly with Whimbrel’s Bill of Material Software solutions and can be customised to your exact requirements. It tracks the assembly of all raw materials and finished goods, helping you make the correct decisions on what to make, what to purchase and keeps track of profit margins.
Steel erection and fabrication companies need to control the type and quantities of materials they purchase and fabricate in-house. Companies need to meet future customer demands at the lowest possible cost. If your manufacturing company depends on spreadsheets, legacy systems or hand filled forms to manage materials there is a good chance high error rates are hurting your profit margins.
Whimbrel’s steel fabrication application typically covers the following:
- Manages any part of the material handling
- Controls fabrication of assemblies and sub-assemblies
- Keeps track of inventory
- Monitors stock levels and off cuts put back into stock
- Customised job cards
- Mange labour Costs
- Ensure products get produced on time with minimal waste
- Double check that orders contain the correct item numbers
- Design customised reports
- Controls laser cuts, saw cuts and cut to size parts
- Link products and work orders to streamline material handling
- Import Solid Works or CAD data including general parts or bill of materials lists
- Powerful BOM parts explosion reporting:
- Parts ordered depending on BOM levels
- Click through to edit parts from BOM explosion report
- Orphaned parts error report
- Predictive text dropdown boxes to add common descriptions
With the large increases in diesel prices, controlling diesel costs on construction sites has become a vital financial management task. Diesel needs to be transported to site and then dispensed to the plant and equipment on site. This makes it challenging to control diesel costs especially since theft increases with higher oil prices.
Whimbrel’s diesel management software helps financial managers make the correct decisions on when to dispose of plant. This makes a big difference to the profitability of construction companies, particularly if they operate a lot of heavy equipment.
Whimbrel has developed a diesel management software package specifically for the construction industry, including earthworks, groundworks, pipe laying, civil engineering and road construction.
These are the frequently requested features:
- Records of site diesel utilisation
- Monthly reconciliation statements between diesel suppliers’ invoices and diesel delivered
- Individual reconciliation statements for each diesel truck or bowser on larger sites
- Diesel consumption reports on site equipment and large plant
- Detailed diesel consumption reports across all active sites
- Accurate diesel costs for estimating future tenders
- Accounting and estimating software integration
Whimbrel can integrate data from the diesel management package with automated diesel systems, accounting packages and estimating software. Whimbrel’s diesel management software can also be integrated with other Whimbrel solutions including our plant management software.
Diesel Management Reports
All Whimbrel’s diesel management reports can be custom designed. We can also include detailed plant consumption reports and monthly reports to control diesel usage.
It is critical that construction companies have full control over all aspects of their contract costs. To achieve this goal it is vital that the tender allowables or budget is compared against the actual costs on a monthly basis as the money is made or lost on the construction site itself; most strategic financial decisions are made on the site by the site management team.
The main areas covered by Whimbrel’s construction job costing systems are listed below. These main cost headings are then broken down into detailed ledgers for each. The report shows the profit and loss of the actual costs against the allowable cost for each ledger category.
- The control and management of site costs including:
- Preliminary and General
- Having accurate historical information at hand when pricing tenders
- Managing labour costs on site to increase productivity
- Having supporting information for payment claims
The costs, revenue and adjustments that should to be monitored closely:
- Checking the actual revenue to the certificate revenue
- Managing all under and over claims for cash flow purposes
- Understanding how escalation effects the cost report
- Ensuring that all adjustments are accounted for correctly and understood
- Management of overheads and markups
- Checking all Material on Site Adjustments
- Doing cash flow forecasts
- Specifying both the tender and retender amounts
Accounting packages are inadequate for construction job costing purposes
Most construction companies have invested in an accounting package. However, accounting packages are designed for financial accounting reports and are generally hopelessly inadequate for construction job costing purposes. They simply don’t have the functionality and flexibly required to keep track of individual costs on a site.
The need for job costing solutions to integrate with existing financial software
A well designed job costing package that can integrate directly with the company’s accounting package ensures that the site management team has all the financial information it requires. In addition, good financial systems help break down the barriers in communication that exist between the financial management team based at head office and the site management team based on site.
Benefits of custom designed job costing software
Job costing solutions need to be flexible. Unfortunately, accounting packages, which focus on financial control and audits do not have this flexibility. It is important that job costing solutions are custom designed around the specific needs and skills of the company’s personnel.
At Whimbrel we have developed a number of software job costing building blocks; these building blocks can be configured to suit your company’s job costing requirements, and your site management team’s abilities. The job costing package should also integrate with the construction company’s accounting package. Our job costing solutions can be used by developers, general contractors, main contractors and trade contractors.
Whimbrel has developed a powerful estimating and quotation package for engineering, manufacturing and construction companies.
Calculating construction costs can now be automated saving valuable time. Rather than investing in complex quantity surveying or estimating packages, construction companies now have the option of having an estimating solution tailored designed to fit their exact requirements.
Whimbrel’s estimating and quotation package has the following features:
- Customer Details
- Quotation Module
- Part and Job Card Module
- Cost Centre’s
- Cost Control Module
- Cutting Specification for Steel Components
- Raw Material Costing
- Purchased Item Costing
- Additional Services Costing
Whimbrel’s estimating and quotation package can be integrated with most accounting packages.
Capturing financial information in two separate financial software packages can prove challenging for construction companies. Comparing actual values on the accounting package with allowable values on the estimating package is almost impossible. This creates communication barriers between the estimating, quantity surveying and accounting professionals.
Whimbrel has developed a middleware package for the construction industry that has the ability to combine information from both accounting and estimating packages. An example of the type of packages Whimbrel has integrated is Candy’s estimating package and Pastel’s accounting package.
The middleware construction integration package has the following features.
- Compares actual to allowable costs and includes:
- Preliminaries and General
- Reconciles Subcontractors’ Retentions and Contra Charges
- Connects to other Whimbrel bespoke software solutions including:
- Customised labour management software solutions
- Customised plant management software solutions
- Customised subcontractor software solutions
- Produces comparison summary reports that can drill down into more detailed financial data
- Reports can be fully customised
Benefits of Middleware Application
Having the ability to compare actual to allowable costs enables estimators to check the accuracy of their tenders, rates and pricing on a monthly basis. This information helps site management teams reduce and manage variable construction costs, including site labour, P&G costs, and material wastage. Subcontractor certificates can be reconciled to the actual amounts paid, and subcontractor retention cash flows can be better managed.
Improving Communication and Control
Combining financial reporting dramatically improves communication between estimating and accounting departments. Both sides now have access to each others data and reporting can be configured to both parties’ requirements. Having comparison reports gives construction directors and owners full control over monthly contract costs, and assists in controlling sensitive costs and resources.
Managing customer relationships and previous tenders are often overlooked in the construction industry. However, having good marketing data is vital in developing successful sales and marketing strategies.
An important part of customer management is claims and retentions. It is difficult to keep track of this information on most accounting packages. But Whimbrel has included this financial feature in our Customer Relationship Management software solutions.
Whimbrel has developed a Customer Relationship Management solution with a specialised financial module specifically for the construction industry. Whimbrel’s Customer Relationship Management software typically includes the following:
- Keeps information of all customers, companies and contacts
- Separates customers by customised categories
- Records all tenders won or lost
- Includes all claims and invoiced values
- Has reminders of when retention amounts are due
- Manages project income flows and deadlines
- Reports on yearly contract values by customer
- Builds customised Customer Relationship Management reports
- Builds customised financial reports
- Shares data amongst all personnel
Importance of keeping contacts well informed
Having client contact details, a history of previous tenders and contracts can assist construction companies keep control of their customer base. This ensures that the correct companies are targeted in future marketing and sales campaigns.
Benefits of custom construction Customer Relationship Management solutions and software integration
Construction companies are very diverse in nature. For Customer Relationship Management systems to be efficient they should be custom designed around the existing processes and cultures within the organisation. Integrating the Customer Relationship Management solution with the company’s existing software systems and accounts’ packages is important as this reduces duplicate entries and improves communication across the company.
Tchara specialises in delivering customer relationship management software solutions that are custom designed to a company’s specific requirements.