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10 Ways ERP Software Improves Your Hardscape Business

February 26, 2024

Running a thriving hardscape business is no easy feat. You juggle complex projects, manage fluctuating inventories, and balance accounts, all while delivering top-notch customer service. It's a tricky balancing act to sustain growth and quality in such a multifaceted company.

But what if there was a powerful tool to help you run the show — a flexible all-in-one software to seamlessly track orders, manage inventory, automate accounting, and more? That solution exists in enterprise resource planning (ERP).

Read on to discover ten ways ERP software can take your hardscape business to the next level. With the right solution in place, you’ll be surprised just how efficiently your operation can run.

What Is ERP Software? (A Quick Refresher)

ERP is business management software that enables hardscape companies and other organizations to collect, store, manage, interpret, and use data from their various business activities across departments.

Core capabilities include accounting, human resources, procurement, project management, inventory management, sales, and customer relationship management (CRM).

By centralizing data across departments and providing a “single source of truth,” ERP systems improve visibility and enable better strategic planning.

The Top 10 ERP Benefits for Hardscape Businesses

1. Streamlined Processes

Integrating functions such as inventory management, sales, and customer management is one of the headline benefits of ERP.

Epicor ERP software streamlines these processes by bringing them under a single, cohesive system.

Rather than weaving in and out of different software, spreadsheets, or paper documents, you simply log into the platform, and your data is ready and waiting for you.

2. Improved Inventory Management

With large, complex inventories often spread across multiple locations, hardscape businesses need comprehensive, all-in-one solutions to understand their true stock levels. That includes knowing where stock is at any one time as well as the lead times for delivery.

Epicor ERP software steps in to offer real-time inventory data, helping you avoid stock shortages or overstocking issues.

To accurately monitor inventory, you may use Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)  that allows businesses to tag and track essential products from yard to distribution. This data can be synchronized to ERP software for complete supply chain visibility.

  1. 32% of ERP users implement the software specifically to help them manage their inventory.
  2. Epicor ERP users routinely increase inventory accuracy to over 95%.
  3. 38% of businesses stated ERP inventory management improvements drove return on investment.

3. Increased Productivity

ERP software automates routine tasks, reduces manual errors, and saves time for everyone across your business.

Moving from cumbersome manual processes to data-driven operations will benefit your employees and boost productivity. They’ll spend less time on administrative duties and more on tasks that fit their skills.

The evidence shows this directly impacts employee well-being, productivity, and retention. For example, Harvard Business Review found that 90% of employees reported feeling more satisfied with their jobs since they began using automation technology like ERP, and 84% were more satisfied with their employer.

4. Efficient Financial Management

Accounting is time-consuming and complex, particularly for hardscape businesses with complicated product catalogs and multiple projects in the pipeline.

ERP systems offer comprehensive financial management tools with modules for budgeting, forecasting, and financial reporting. These functions rank as a major reason for ERP adoption, with 89% of 225 companies in one survey identifying accounting features as one of their top priorities for choosing an ERP.

At Epicor, we can help you streamline processes with solutions that offer configurable tax engines, invoice and payment features, and customizable financial reports under an easy-to-use interface.

5. Improved Customer Service and Retention

Bringing CRM and ERP under the same umbrella makes staying on top of your customer interactions easier.

With an ERP system's real-time data and analytics capabilities, you’ll possess the data you need to identify key customer segments and develop targeted sales strategies.

Having CRM in ERP systems boosts sales resilience. CRM functionality can also help keep sales stable in your business during challenging markets.

“CRM is keeping our sales from dropping off even when our competitors are down 15% or 20%,” said Gary Milks, IT Manager at Merkley Supply Ltd.

6. Better Project Management

The right ERP solution can deliver effective project management, a key to success in the hardscape and landscape sector.

Businesses surveyed by the Technology Evaluation Center cited collaboration and planning as another top benefit of ERP adoption.

Epicor ERP systems for hardscape businesses bolster project management by providing a “single source of truth” for business data. Rather than the typical back-and-forth between departments for crucial information, team members simply log into the system to see the relevant insights.

Additionally, ERP solutions make it easier to cost and track jobs, helping ensure alignment on all elements of a project.

7. Supply Chain Optimization

Supply chains in the building supply industry have been under pressure. With lead times soaring and costs rising, businesses are looking for creative methods of building resilience while adapting to change.

With ERP solutions, hardscape businesses can quickly access and help provide accurate lead times and delivery estimates by monitoring the supply chain from procurement to delivery.

Steve Huszar from Millwork Distributors, Inc. commented on how Epicor ERP boosted his companies shipping processes and, by extension, customer relationships:  “I have a great deal of trust in our accuracy, and in all of our shipping processes. If a question arises regarding an order being delivered correctly, I have the confidence to question the claim immediately.”

8. Managing Value-Added Offerings

Providing value-added services is critical to boosting revenue and margins for many hardscape companies. This can include offerings like custom manufacturing, drainage configuration, and more.

However, tracking the costs, labor, sales, and profitability of these diverse services is often a complex process involving disparate spreadsheets and paperwork.

Epicor ERP solutions help hardscape businesses bring clarity to value-added offerings in a variety of ways:

  •  Offering a central system to itemize all bills of materials, parts, and labor associated with customized installations and services.
  • Generating detailed reports on the sales volume, revenue contribution, and profit margins for each type of value-added service over custom periods.
  • Enabling seamless collaboration with installation subcontractors and landscaping partners involved in service delivery.
  • Automating workflows for service orders, project timelines, and invoicing.

9. Leveraging Data for Informed Decisions

By centralizing data, reporting, and process automation, ERPs lead to bold, data-driven decision-making with these capabilities:

  • Enhanced Reporting and Analytics: The ERP can generate detailed reports and analytics with all your data in one system. These help provide insights into various aspects of your business, such as project performance, resource utilization, and financial health.
  • Strategic Decision-Making: With access to real-time and historical data, you can make strategic decisions based on factual information rather than assumptions. These can include decisions about expanding into new markets, investing in new technologies, or adjusting project methodologies to enhance efficiency.
  • Predictive Analytics for Proactive Measures: Epicor ERP solutions offer predictive analytics, enabling you to foresee potential challenges and opportunities. This foresight allows for proactive measures, keeping your business a step ahead in planning and execution.

In an industry where smart decisions matter and on-time delivery is critical, businesses using ERP reported a 36% reduction in decision-making time post-implementation.

10. Support for Online Sales Channels

Top ERP solutions offer features for supporting eCommerce, a sales channel continuing to grow in popularity in the building supply industry. In fact, 72.7% of the top 150 LBM dealers sold online in 2022.

Epicor ERP supports eCommerce and digital sales in three main areas:

  1. Buyer Accessibility: Gives you 24/7 mobile access to your sales data, including open orders, order history, payment history, and shipping details.
  2. Personalized Pricing: Offers customized pricing to customers when they log into their online accounts. Prices can be based on factors like order history, contract terms, volume pricing, or other special rates for that particular buyer. This enhances customer relationships and increases sales opportunities.
  3. Data Centralization: Centralizes customer and order information from various purchase points while streamlining omnichannel sales strategies across eCommerce, distributors, and direct-to-customer channels.

Embrace the Future of Building Supply with Epicor

Hardscape companies need flexible, powerful tools to optimize complex operations and drive growth. Epicor ERP software streamlines workflows and centralizes data, enabling staff to focus on high-value work rather than administrative tasks. This leads to greater productivity, efficiency, and resilience.

Epicor offers solutions specifically tailored to the needs of hardscape contractors, distributors, and manufacturers. With deep expertise in this industry's unique requirements and close customer relationships that inform our roadmap, Epicor can help transform your business into a digital leader.

If you want a springboard to take your company to the next level, contact us for a demo.