Oct 27, 2020
Plana's participation in the 13th "National Conference on Transport Infrastructure"
Chudomir Monevski and Radina Syarova gave a presentation on the topic "ERP systems in the sector"

On October 1, 2020, the 13th "National Conference on Transport Infrastructure with International Participation" was held in Nessebar, Bulgaria. The conference is the largest and most prestigious scientific and professional forum in the field of transport infrastructure in Bulgaria and the Balkan Peninsula and since 2007 has been organized by:

  • Department of "Roads and Transport Facilities" at the UASG, 
  • Institute of Transport Construction and Infrastructure, 
  • The National Committee of Bulgaria at the World Road Association (PIARC) - Association "Bulgarian Forum on Transport Infrastructure". 

At the first session on the first day of the event with the theme "Digitalization - actual or necessary" with moderator: Eng. Nikolay Stankov - Advisor on Digitization in Construction to the Minister of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Chudomir Monevski, executive director of Plana Solutions, and Radina Syarova, specialist Key customers, spoke on the topic "ERP systems in the sector". They shared some of their experience with the implementation of the specialized software that Plana Solutions offers. *You can check out their presentation below in the article*

Their presentation began with an analysis of the construction sector, which employs about 7% of the world's working population. They also commented that it is one of the largest industrial sectors with over $10 trillion spent on core and ancillary activities each year, yet the sector has an intractable productivity problem. They made a comparison with other large sectors that have already been transformed or are in the process of digital transformation. In the USA, the sector is second to last in terms of digitization, and in Europe it is last.

Radina shared that there are 7 main directions that can increase productivity by more than 40-50% in the construction sector globally, namely: 

  • Change in regulations; 
  • Changing the dynamics of contractual frameworks; 
  • Rethinking design and engineering processes; 
  • Improving supply chain management; 
  • Improving on-site performance; 
  • Implementation of digital technology for better planning and automation; 
  • Retraining of the workforce; 

and determined that the topic of their lecture is mainly related to point 6-

The implementation of high-tech and modern ERP systems in the sector.

Radina also commented that, taking into account the pandemic that has occurred since the beginning of the year, it has become clear that the age of information is in full swing, and whoever does not realize it in time will be faced with survival. 

    "Digitalization will put companies that do not react quickly and efficiently at risk. It is likely that the top 10 profitable industries will still perform well, but the logic of the game will change. Just as it changed in the transition from the agricultural to the industrial age, for example."

Then she gave the floor to Chudomir, who said: 

    "It gives the impression that serious sums are spent and years are spent creating new software platforms and forming internal teams of programmers. Few succeed in implementing ERP solutions in the pilot phase one, in a similar configuration, but they fail to scale and again to a dead end. Office-based administrations are constantly resentful of having to adopt even more new technologies, only to abandon them and eventually revert to their old ways of working. Most ERP software implementation projects in the industry lag, exhaust budgets early, and productivity stagnates. This scenario is all too common in the design and construction industry."

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He also shared that global studies have shown about a 15% increase in productivity and about a 5% reduction in costs in companies in the construction sector that have successfully implemented modern management systems. According to him, in order for an ERP implementation to be successful, it is a prerequisite that leaders and management have a clear definition of how it will create added value. They have to devote a lot of their time to accomplishing the goals. Those who do will see significant benefits to company productivity. However, unfortunately, only 20% of the companies in the sector manage to achieve a sustainable digitization that continues to develop over time.

The difficulties that may be encountered are that: 

  • the typical construction project involves multiple subcontractors and suppliers who are not incentivized to adopt new ways of working, 
  • construction work often takes place in remote, harsh environments that are not friendly to device handling, 
  • very limited budget for development activity and implementation of ERP solutions, 
  • selection of wrong and outdated software tools leading to poor integration of their applications in business processes, 
  • lack of analysis of processes with the belief that they are at their best.

The characteristics of the construction industry that make digitization particularly challenging are fragmentation (lack of coordination), lack of replication (making it difficult to fully transfer company-level practices from one project to the next), and decentralization (leading to absolute document chaos), says Chudomir. According to him, in order to correct these frequently made mistakes, construction and engineering companies must start to approach their technological development more and more responsibly, easy and quick access to technology, independence from hardware and operating environment, increasing accountability and information security .

From their experience in the industry, they have drawn TWO fundamental practices that they apply in the initial phase of any ERP implementation project 

  • Focus on solving a specific problem in-depth analysis of business processes to identify where improvements are needed training and familiarization with the new processes of all personnel *pages 9-11 of the presentation* 
  • Implementation of business processes that stimulate communication between individual employees. effective communication, proper reporting, process depreciation, saving time processing documents, saving time searching for specific information security *pages 13-15 of the presentation*
SoftUni seminar: ERP vs. Digital transformation
at Software University