Challenged by inflation that’s spiking material costs on top of ongoing labor shortages, leaders at construction companies are digitally transforming to realize growth in a fundamentally changed market. One example is Graham Construction, a North American market leader delivering buildings, industrial, infrastructure, and water projects, as well as investment and finance solutions. It’s implementing ETM.next, an industry cloud solution from SAP developed by BearingPoint, to centralize equipment inventory management.

“Whether it’s concrete, steel, lumber, or other building materials, inflation and supply chain disruptions have increased the risk every time we submit a project bid,” said Matt Gramblicka, vice president of IT and Enterprise Applications at Graham. “We’re focused on doing things consistently across the board and it starts with solid processes, standards of excellence, and understanding what’s expected of the people involved in every project. We’re on a transformational journey with SAP that will help us connect data for visibility across the business including labor, equipment, material, and subcontractors.”

Connected Data to Become Intelligent Enterprise

Keeping track of construction equipment at any given point in time is a monumental task, especially for a company like Graham. The firm is involved with an ever-increasing range of projects across a large geographical footprint. Typical projects require hundreds and thousands of pieces of equipment from earth-moving excavators, cranes, and scaffolding to generators, tarps, ladders, tools, and more. People are assigned to keep everything in working order as well. With ETM.next, Graham expects greater efficiencies from project start through completion, providing employees with transparency so they know what equipment is available, when, and where. ETM.next is available on SAP Store and integrated with SAP S/4HANA.

“We’ve taken care of the back office with SAP S/4HANA and our workforce with SAP SuccessFactors solutions, and now we’re aiming for efficiency gains across our project sites,” said Gramblicka. “Using ETM.next, we can better manage our internal supply chain network. We can quickly identify how to get each project up and running efficiently, making sure sites have the required equipment to get the job done. Over time, we’ll keep our utilization up so equipment isn’t sitting idle anywhere.”

When equipment requests come in, employees will use ETM.next to track availability based on proximity to a site, which will help keep shipping costs down. Collected data will show appropriate information for billing management as well. AI and advanced analytics will help Graham replace manual, paper-based recordkeeping with digitalized and automated processes, increasing efficiencies and real-time visibility into operations.

“We’ll make sure that we’re getting value out of our capital expenditures on that equipment and that it’s fully operational for maximum project profitability,” said Gramblicka. “Tracking exact usage times and costs also encourages project leads to return equipment promptly so they’re not paying for something that’s not in use, and we can quickly deploy it to the next site where it’s needed most.”

Integrated Analytics Yield Business Insights

Having expanded its business with larger projects in new locations during the past years, adding ETM.next is the latest strategic move for Graham in working with SAP.

“We needed a platform strong enough to manage our growing business, especially connecting our financial core to workforce and payroll, and now equipment,” said Gramblicka. “SAP has consistently added capabilities that are more user-friendly and efficient process-wise. We needed a fully integrated system where people complete tasks once, and that information flows all the way through to finance, HR, procurement, and the field who can use it for reporting and insights supporting that project and the business overall.”

In many ways, becoming an intelligent, sustainable enterprise is core to every organization’s ability to grow, managing internal and external supply chains with insights from connected data that drive competitive advantage in an increasingly complex, volatile world.

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