NAV4Construction – SWOT Analysis

You can find information about main strength of NAVConstruction solution, I’ve already wrote here. Also, if you want to use standard NAV in construction business, you can find information about these implementation possibilities here. You can find more texts about reason for using ERP in construction business in my earlier blog posts.

Some construction workers want separate (specific) solutions for construction and rest processes (ERP). But, in my experience, the main strength of construction in ERP is exactly possibility of using all actual data on each part of ERP. When you use this solution, you can use:

  • actual cost from purchase or manufacturing in construction or when you make bids
  • actual cost from cost accounting, about goods and/or all other resources
  • automatic posting of invoice to G/L with any number of dimensions
  • managing with purchase process using construction requirements
  • using forecasting and other planning processes for construction, mechanization, subcontractors, manufacturing, purchase, sale, WMS in the same time

Otherwise, Microsoft Dynamics NAV is not real project planning software and someone says that this is weakness of this solution. But NAV4Construction is fully integrated with Microsoft Project Server using web-services. Now, you can use the best things of both solutions; e.g. you can use planning process in Project and Normative and Material requirement process from NAV. Maybe, bidding process is more complex in NAV, but this process is more precise.

On next picture, you can find a short SWOT analyses. If you have additional answers or comments, you can ask and start with discussion.

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Posting operational work (resource costs/price calculation) – part 6

Using NAV4Construction, we can use specific resource cost or price models. When we post resources, we have next quantity fields:

  • Quantity – total time of resource engagement
  • Waiting time – time when resources do not make usage, because poor site organization
  • Extremely Stagnation Time – time when resources do not make usage, because force majeure
  • Effective Time – calculative field = Quantity – (Waiting time + Extremely Stagnation Time)

In NAV4Construction, we use Cost field for actual resource cost and Price form internal resource cost (transfer price for internal needs). Cost and Price are not calculate in the same way. Definition of them are placed on:

  • Quantity:
    • Cost – ‘Direct Unit Cost’ on Resource Card
    • Price – ‘Unit Price’ on Resource Card
  • Waiting time:
    • Cost – same as Quantity Cost
    • Price – ‘Standby Unit Price’ on Resource Card (using of this price depends of setup)
  • Extremely Stagnation Time:
    • Cost – no
    • Price – no

Cost Calculation

Cost Calculation is always the same. This calculation is based on resource usage and we calculate it by next pattern: Direct Unit Cost X ( Quantity – Extremely Stagnation Time )

If we want to use total quantity in calculation, we need to put ‘Extremely Stagnation Time’ blank.

Price Calculation

Price Calculation is more complex and depends of setup in ‘Res. Utilization Margin %’ field at Construction Setup. In this field we need to configure what is ‘acceptably utilization’ for us. In our example I will define that it is 70%. That means that if (Quantity-Waiting Time) is 70% or more in regard to total Quantity, this is good usage. Based on this, we have two different models of price calculation (we will use factor 0,7 instead of 70%):

Model 1: ( Quantity – Waiting Time ) >= 0,7 X Quantity

( Quantity – ( Waiting time + Extremely Stagnation Time ) ) X Unit Price

Model 1: ( Quantity – Waiting Time ) < 0,7 X Quantity

( ( Quantity – ( Waiting time + Extremely Stagnation Time ) ) X Unit Price ) + ( Waiting time X Standby Unit Price )

These Costs and Prices are the base of Construction Position cost and price calculation, based of their actual consumption.

Posting operational work (posting differences) – part 5

What is a main difference between using Output Order and Job & Position Journals?

As I wrote in my first post for this theme, we can post the operational work on next ways:

  • Using ‘Output Order’ – posting of Construction Position output work and Resource and Item consumption per Project in the same time;
  • Using ‘Position Journal’ – posting only Construction Position output work per Project; we need to post consumption separately;
  • Using ‘Job Journal’ (standard NAV functionality with some specific customizations) – posting only Resource and Item consumption per Project; we need to post output separately;

Advantage of the first method is that we can post all entries with the one document. We get posted document with ‘Navigate’ functionality. Also, this method enables us to have complete statistic of cost per every Construction Position for each Project.

As we look up in Construction Position Statistic for position posted using Output Orders, we can see Using (position cost), Sales (position revenue) and Profit:

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On previous picture we see position cost for each period.

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In previous example, I presented Construction Position Statistic from NAV, and this is shown only costs, revenue and profit, without analytics. Also, if we use Output Orders for posting, we can make deeper analysis with complete analytics of resources and items cost or quantities, as picture bellow (from BI4CONS):

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Failing of this method is that if we have many complex position works per day, it is too complicated to make evidence and post it.

If we choose posting without ‘Output Order’, we get simply procedure for posting. We use ‘Position Journal’ for evidence of work per all Construction Position we have and separately we use ‘Job Journal’ for evidence of consumption all Items and Resources, not linked with Construction Positions. On this way we get simpler method, but we lose connection of consumption with Construction Position output. Using this method of posting, we know revenue for each position on project, but we don’t know position cost and profit. We could know cost and profit only per complete project or combination project and project task, and of course we will know this data per required period. As we look up in Construction Position Statistic for position posted using Position and Job Journals, we can see only Using (quantity, not a position cost) and Sales (position revenue):

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On previous picture, we cannot see position cost.

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Position sales data (previous picture) are the same as when we use Output Orders. But when we try to see profit, we will get a wrong data with 100% margins.

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We cannot get all things and we must to decide what method we want. Good thing is that we can choose different method for each project, depend of complexity and project requirement. Good thing is also that we can set filter on Position Statistic and we can see complete data for position posted using Output Order on each project.

Posting operational work (Recurring Journals) – part 4

If you do not use Output Order and you have many similar entries for posting, you can use Recurring Journals. There are Recurring Position Journals (NAV4Construction functionality) and Recurring Job Journals (NAV standard with customization). You can use them, when you do many days the same works. E.g., you can make many days one-by-one, on first building-site excavation, on second building-site wall building, on third building-site concrete works. If you do this the same works for e.g. 10 days, you can use recurring functionality. You need to input these position works by projects at one Recurring Position Journal and resource and item consumption, again by projects at one Recurring Job Journal. Everything you need is to fill quantities for each day and post it.

Recurring Journals has the same columns as standard Journals, except two fields:

  • Recurring Method – The recurring method determines what happens to the quantity on the journal line after posting. For example, if you use the same quantity each time you post the line, you can reuse the same quantity after posting as the same main data (Type, No., Position no., Description, Location Code, Work Type Code, Ongoing Code, Division Code, Division Type…). If you want to use the same accounts and text on the line, but the quantity varies each time you post, then quantity should be deleted after posting. There are two recurring methods:
    • Fixed: The amounts (Unit Costs, Unit Prices, Standby unit cost and/or Position price) on the journal line will remain after posting as all quantities (Quantity, Waiting Time, Extremely Stagnation Time, Ongoing Quantity, Mileage).
    • Variable: The amounts (Unit Costs, Unit Prices, Standby unit cost and/or Position price) on the journal line will be deleted after posting.
    • Recurring Frequency – Enter a recurring frequency if you have indicated in the Recurring field in the job journal template that the journal is a recurring journal. The recurring frequency determines how often the entry on the journal line will be posted. The field must be filled in. For example, if you want the journal to be posted every month, enter 1M. After every posting, the date in the Posting Date field will be updated to the same date in the following month. The codes for recurring frequencies are:
      • D (day)
      • W (week)
      • M (month)
      • Q (quarter)
      • Y (year)

If you want to post an entry on the last day of every month, you should post the first entry on the last day of a month and enter the formula 1D+1M-1D (1 day + 1 month – 1 day). With this formula the program takes into account the different number of days in each month.

After posting, we get the same data as posting standard Job Journals or Position Journals.

Posting operational work (Construction Management) – part 1

In NAV4Construction, we can post the operational work on next ways:

  • Using ‘Output Order’ – posting of Construction Position output work and Resource and Item consumption per Project in the same time;
  • Using ‘Position Journal’ – posting only Construction Position output work per Project; we need to post consumption separately;
  • Using ‘Job Journal’ (standard NAV functionality with some specific customizations) – posting only Resource and Item consumption per Project; we need to post output separately;

Advantage of the first method is that we can post all entries with the one document. We get posted document with ‘Navigate’ functionality. Also, this method enables us to have complete statistic of cost per every Construction Position for each Project. Failing of this method is that if we have many complex position works per day, it is too complicated to make evidence and post it.

If we choose posting without ‘Output Order’, we get simply procedure for posting. We use ‘Position Journal’ for evidence of work per all Construction Position we have and separately we use ‘Job Journal’ for evidence of consumption all Items and Resources, not linked with Construction Positions. On this way we get simpler method, but we lose connection of consumption with Construction Position output. We cannot get all things and we must to decide what method we want. Good thing is that we can choose different method for each project, depend of complexity and project requirement.

Output Order

New ‘Output Order’ we get with ‘New’ command on the ribbon. We need to put Project and Task we work on them and choose Construction Position for posting. System will make automatic filter for positions and we get only positions we define on Bill of Quantities.

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If we eventually must post position out-of-BoQ, we can press ‘Show All’ and we will get complete Construction Position code list. After that, we need to fill ‘Quantity’ field with output quantity for this position in presented Unit of Measure. If this is not first posting for this position on this project, we can see previous posted quantity for this position. We also can see contracted position quantity from BoQ. On this way, we have control before posting this values. If we want to see what we post for this position previous, we can press on ‘Position Executed Quantity’ field and we will get complete evidence from Position Ledger Entry.

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We can fill another specific filed, depend of construction type (civil-engineering, building construction, road, maintenance…), but I will explain this in some other posts.

When we fill all necessary header fields, we have to fill lines with consumption data. We can fill lines automatic or manually. Results is the same, but automatic can make work easier if we have good normatives for construction positions.

Automatic fill process can be started by the ‘Import outputs’ command. System will use all normative lines for position in header, recalculate consumption quantity with position quantity on header and fills it. I have to notice, these are planned quantities and I am sure, we need to change some of them.

If we have manually input of data, we need to choose line Type (Resource or Item) and choose desired Resource/Item. After that, process is different depend of line type:

Item

For Item, we need to fill ‘Location Code’. We can get default location code for project if we make this setup on Project Card. We need to fill item quantity, as well and this is all. All costs and prices for the item will be filled automatically.

Resource

For Resource, we can fill more fields. There are not all mandatory and this depend of setup for company and/or project. It is necessary to fill quantity per Unit of Measure and we can choose ‘Work Type Code’ for different Unit of Measures/Cost/Price. If this is people type of resource, this is enough and as items, costs and prices will be automatic filled. But if we choose machine resource type, we can fill more fields.

First of them are ‘Waiting Time’ and ‘Extremely Stagnation Time’. ‘Waiting Time’ is time when resource did not work because bad organization. System will be calculate cost for all quantity time, but price for (‘Quantity’ – ‘Waiting Time’) if ‘Waiting Time’ is acceptable. If this time is not acceptable, system will calculate price based on specific formula (this is very complex setup, and I will explain it in independent post). ‘Extremely Stagnation Time’ is time we use only for evidence. This is a time when we was prevented for work (nasty weather or some other force majeure).

We can fill ‘Mechanization Resource Code’ if we know exactly what machine is worked. System can propose only machines for choosing resource. If we in advance know what machine worked, we can fill this field, and ‘Resource No.’ will be filled automatically. If we have configured machinist for mechanization resource, this field will be filled automatically, but if we have not it, we can choose ‘Employee No.’ for machinist from filtered employee list only from departments who use machines.

Know we know what time machines spend for making position, but we don’t know what they are worked exactly. Because of that, we have ‘Ongoings Code’ where we can define what our machine really do. ‘Ongoings Code’ list has Unit of Measures and they are configured depending resource types. When we choose this code, we need to fill ‘Ongoings Quantity’.

If our machine is the vehicle, we can fill additional fields: ‘Mileage’ and ‘Tour Quantity’.

This is only base story about this process and I will detailed explain some specifics in some new posts.

Posting

Before posting, we need to change status. Changing status make checking of all necessary fields input. NAV will make evidence of username, date and time for making document and for status changing, because these are very important data.

After that, posting process is simply. For each posted document, we can make storno (correction) document very easy, but I will explain it in later posts.

Bill of Quantities – (Fixed Cost) part 5

When we start with calculation for project, for each Bill of Quantities, we could have specific fix costs. I described full calculation process for each Construction Position, but all of them where variable costs. That means, when we have to complete some position work, we need to consume some items (goods or materials) or some labor (mechanization, vehicle or person). As we have more Construction Positions work, we would have more item and resource consumptions (or subcontract work, as well). All of them are variable costs.

On the other hand, we could have some specific costs who are not linked to Construction Position execution, bit there are linked to complete project. These are e.g.: some project taxes, project preparation, project insurance, staff accommodation… All of them are fixed costs and we cannot link them to one of the positions.

For each BoQ, we can add them to project by insert in linked table ‘Fixed Project Costs’ and fill their cost. When we fill of them, on BoQ Header, we can see Total BoQ Fixed Cost.

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We can insert fixed costs by starting command (three points) near field and after that we need to insert cost values by specification. When we finish cost inserting, we need to assign this cost to positions. We can assign total fixed cost to all positions or only for selected. If we want assign cost only for selected, we need to mark/unmark fields ‘Cost Using’ for each line. After that, we need to start command ‘Apply Fixed Cost’ and NAV will place parts of fixed cost to each selected position. System use proportional method of placing costs. When this is finished, field ‘Assigned Fixed Cost’ on header will be marked as sign that fixed cost is placed to lines.

Bill of Quantities – (Calculating) part 3

I present simply way to calculate position price on BoQ. In real process, we need to make many changes before we finally signing contract. Every time, when we make some change, we need to archive previous BoQ version to have historical data. In NAV4Constructio, this is easy procedure; you only need to press ‘Archive Document’ command and this is all. On document header, we have presented number of existing archive document versions. I we want to use some old archived document version, we need to click on this field and choose desired version. After that, we need to choose version and press ‘Restore Version’. There are only few, very simple steps.

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When we make restored version, we have information about that in comment line with date of restore and comment “Document restored from Version XXX.”

When you want to calculate new position costs, we can use ‘Calculate only Cost’ command. Sometimes there long time from our first calculation and many resources and items costs are changed. Then, we have wrong cost calculated per positions. With this command, NAV will use actual costs and recalculate position costs by normatives.

We can use local currency or some other currency in calculation. If we have foreign customer, system will use his currency configured on customer card. But in countries with big inflation, we usually have to make calculation in additional currency (EUR, USD…). For this purpose we can use specific currency on Project Card (we can use average exchange rate or sales rate of exchange). When we make calculation, we prepare calculation in other currency, but all our documents must be in local currency. When we finish all calculation in BoQ, we need to start ‘Calculate Rate’ to calculate all costs and prices by actual (or on desired date) exchange rate.

We can print many different and complex analysis reports from BoQ about cost breakdown for each construction position and resource work times…

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When we finish all of them, we need to change document status to ‘Release’ and after that we can print ‘Quote’. If someone don’t like predefined Quote layout, he/she has option to export quote in Excel and print it after rearrangement. When we print quote, there are some specifics:

  • NAV will use cross-reference for positions codes
  • NAV will use extended text for position descriptions
  • If ‘Begin-total’ position where specific position placed marked for recapitulation, will be presented in Quote recapitulation (sum of all position in group)
  • If ‘Begin-total’ position where specific position placed marked for grouping, before this set of positions, will be presented parent position as bold line