Finding the right software
Searching for the most appropriate systems and finding the best fitting solution is possible. There are many solutions available that are geared toward oil and gas and mining industries. These solutions are designed to help control costs, promote efficiencies, and help you run a profitable operation.
These solutions are available as task specific options to add on to your current software package as well as in comprehensive ERP packages. There are solutions for each business phase or specialization. Some systems allow you to add the modules as needed and others are full ERP systems that can meet all of your needs going forward.
Other issues handled by ERP software
Below is a list of some of the central issues many mining companies are looking to address:
- Cost control
- Equipment management
- Project management
- Document management
- Financial projections
- Production reporting
- Multilingual, multi-currency
- Standard financial management and cash management
- Investment tracking
These features can be found in one complete ERP system or as separate modules to add on to your current system.
Whether you are buying a whole system or just modules, also think about how you want to deploy the system. You could purchase the system outright and install on your own servers, purchase the system to be installed on a hosted environment, or go with a web-native solution that operates on a monthly subscription as opposed to an up-front purchase price.
Natural resources exploration related software needs
Before your shovels even hit the dirt or before you roll your first piece of equipment onto the property, there are a number of things that need to take place first and these activities cost you money. Doing your research is critical. You need to have a fair amount of certainty that the land you are about to work has the goods you are looking to obtain. Budgeting software that allows you to quantify likely expenses and potential revenues is particularly important for companies involved in the natural resources exploration business.
Managing investments is another important aspect of companies in the exploration phase. Trust accounting packages can help your firm adequately track investments from 3rd parties.
Once you have identified the land, now it is time to work a deal for acquiring the land. Permitting issues can be complex. Document management programs that allow you to store all documents related to permitting issues can help with the efficiency of working through permitting challenges.
Another major cost is the environmental studies. These studies are very important for the approval process because during the the permitting process, which includes reaching receiving approval from local, state and potentially federal authorities to proceed, they will be asking for the environmental impact of the proposed mine/drilling.
Managing construction work with the right software tools
So, you have obtained regulatory approval and are ready for your shovels to hit the dirt. You’ve procured rights to the land which means you either bought it outright or created a contract with the landowner. By now, you have also made the decision to hire the workforce to operate the mine or have decided to hire subcontractors to handle much of the work.
Software geared toward the construction phase of the mine will allow you to track the costs associated with establishing an operating presence. This includes setting up offices and construction of necessary facilities.
It also includes hiring a general contractor (if needed) and sub-contractors. Hiring of staff to oversee the construction phase of the mine and tracking the costs associated with the construction are also very important.
Project management will allow you to schedule your crews and subcontractors ensuring you have the right people on board at all times and performing the work they should be doing.
Job costing is an important part of construction work. You need to track your labor costs, machine and equipment costs, fuel costs and any contract labor. Tracking these costs, in-depth, will also help with better understanding your profitability at the end of the day.
Typical software needs for oil and gas production work
If you are running an oil and gas or other natural resources production business, tracking operational costs is a central concern which your ERP software needs to address. Managing costs associated with the operation of your mine or well can include labor costs, equipment and repairs, fuel, and transportation. Understanding where your money is going at this point in the process is critical.
Bringing your products to market involves another set of complexities. Identifying and tracking information related to buyers can be greatly assisted with customer relationship management software. This will allow you to manage contact information for each of the buyers, but also track what they typically purchase, how much, last price, and discounting.
The operational modules will also help you with logistics and delivery of the items. Tracking the costs associated with the transportation of the materials to your customers is critical to understanding your profitability. The software will also help you analyze which mode of transportation is the best in terms of price and time of delivery.
What if demand decreases or increases? How do you adjust your business to meet the customer demands? Spending money to mine without a buyer reduces your profitability. If you are not producing enough, you may need to hire more employees or subcontractors or bring in more equipment. Whatever the case may be, a production planning module will help you understand how much demand you have and how much material you are processing to keep up with customer demand.
Taking the next steps
There are thousands of products on the market that offer basic financial accounting, hundreds that can do cost accounting and less that are specific geared toward mining and natural resources. Going with a general accounting solution may result in improper cost accounting which leads to improper profit reporting and incorrect reporting to investors. Investing money in the right software now can save you thousands of dollars and keep your investors happy.
If you are at the point where you are ready to find out which mining and oil & gas programs are right for you, we can help. Through a brief phone call, our software specialists will look to better understand your business and software needs to help you locate a handful of solutions that can address the issues you are currently experiencing. Get started today!