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ERP and CAD – the perfect pairing

July 15th, 2014

ERP and CAD – the perfect pairing

Enterprise Resource Planning known as ERP, and Computer Aided Design (CAD) are perfect partners because they complement each other’s basic features and functions allowing for a fully integrated approach in industries such as construction, engineering and architecture.

What are CAD and ERP’s basic functions?

CAD programmes provide early-on solutions for the planning and execution phase of a project. The main industries using CAD include construction, engineering and architecture.

Enterprise Resource Planning is focused on the commercial and administrative needs of a company with some aspects addressing the planning and managerial sections. ERP provides an overview of the business as a whole, allowing for complete visibility across different functions and aspects of a business. It can successfully track the workflow of departments/sections, producing a single reporting system to analyse statistical information. In real-time, ERP brings together the various sections of a business from HR, Finance and Accounts, Marketing and Sales, Supply Chain, CRM and Project Management- all of which can be customised for individual client needs, tailoring solutions to companies.

By joining the design aspect with workflow and statistical data, companies and clients benefit from projects that are delivered on time and are more cost effective.

Integrated systems that benefit the whole process from start to finish

Once CAD has been used, ERP steps in to strengthen the relationship between the phases providing the company, whether they are for example a small-business bathroom supply and fit, to a large multi-national construction firm, with the overall picture in real time. This includes the consideration of supplying or buying more stock and ERP can report the impact on cash flow and staffing.

This clearly benefits the company by reducing costs and minimizing risk of error by identifying discrepancies in any size of project, no matter how complex. Benefits to the CAD user allows them to edit data and check the various requirements of any subsequent change which then automatically updates the CAD and ERP databases. The system integration ensures the end-customer receives an excellent service and outcome whilst keeping both the company and client abreast of any changes to lead time and cost implications.

A working example

The simple example that follows is from a medium sized construction firm and it highlights the need for CAD and ERP to become integral systems in the aforementioned industries where CAD is predominantly used.

CAD is used to design an office space; the client then requires further rooms and a change to the layout and an increase of toilet facilities. The CAD user provides the design solution and because the company’s systems are integrated with ERP, the CAD user is able to update the lead-time and expected costs that are then relayed in real time to the client, whilst simultaneously updating the databases from the various sections involved in the new design. The combination of CAD and ERP means that the project, although substantially altered, is delivered on time, with minimum disruption and the risk of error greatly reduced.

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