An Integrated Control System for SMEs in the Construction Industry
Pellicer, E; Universidad Politécnica de Valencia,
Pellicer, T.M.; Universidad Politécnica de Valencia,
Catalá, J.; Universidad Politécnica de Valencia,
Most construction companies are smalland medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)that manage project-based and businessfocusedact ivi t ies s imul taneous ly.Commercial software packages are notfully developed to offer a unique solutionthat tackles both. To fill this gap, this paperdescribes an integrated managementsystem specifically developed for SMEsin the construction industry, whethercontractors or consulting engineeringand architectural firms. Both, projectand business functions are addressedand handled by the system as a whole.Particular attention is given to theprocurement process because it isessential for the strategic planning ofthese companies, which must naturallyengage new contracts to remain inbusiness. The system is based on a client/server architecture that is arranged inthree tiers: presentation (user interfacesand forms), application (queries), anddata (relational tables). The system usesMS AccessTM as a database managementsystem. Users are categorized accordingto their functions within the hierarchyof the company, and therefore severaldifferent interfaces are designed for eachpersonnel category. The system works inreal-time, so every employee with a preestablishedright of access can obtaininformation instantaneously. This is crucialfor making immediate decisions whenproblems arise, allowing prompt actionsfrom every manager in the hierarchy andresulting in noteworthy time savings. Thiscomputer-based application has beensuccessfully implemented by four SpanishSMEs in the construction industry. Thesuitability and advantages of the systemimplementation are highlighted in thispaper with specific data regarding itscurrent operation.Key words: Business management, construction companies, relational databases;Information Technology (IT), project management.