Is your potential profitability being undermined?
In these challenging times, with tight margins, getting your estimate right is absolutely essential to your business. Time pressures and a lack of skilled people can exacerbate the problem.
Finding a good estimator or sparing an engineer from a project in progress, can be very difficult and with tender periods very short, ensuring the necessary time and knowledge is applied to each estimate is a challenge. At best you can lose the bid, at the worst lose a significant sum of money due to an incorrect bid.
A good estimating system can help you address these issues. An easy to use system with fast take-off entry can improve the compilation time. Look for a system which stores and enables you to use your favourite and commonly used products quickly. This is also a way to ensure less experienced estimators pick the correct item/manufacturer reducing the risk. The ability to copy and paste between different areas of an estimate and other estimates can also radically improve input times.
"A good database tailored to your business with your supplier discounts added can remove a lot of the pricing risk and time needed to complete the estimate."
Another way to deskill estimating is to invest some time in building assemblies/kits. These not only speed uptake off but are also a store of knowledge. A kit can, in essence, contain the technically knowledge for that assembly/installation. The items required to make that system/part work are contained in the kit for ready reuse. Parts can no longer be forgotten either through haste or lack of knowledge.
You can also deskill the process by using previous success jobs as a basis for the new bid. Editing is much quicker than starting from scratch so good copy facilities and easy project searches are vital. This could also enable you to use lesser skilled staff. Build up a series of project templates based on your successful bids to use again and again. Do make sure that your system allows you to update the copied estimate with current prices at the click of a button – you don’t want to waste your saved time or manually repricing!
A good database tailored to your business with your supplier discounts added can also remove a lot of the pricing risk and time needed to complete the estimate. If you can keep your prices update easily, one worry is removed immediately so look for a system that provides live updates from Trade Service. Secondly, make sure you can enter your commercial agreements/discount against products (both at a group and individual level) negating the need to keep pestering your suppliers. This all gives valuable time to concentrate on the actual project requirements.
With a solution offering this essential functionality not only will you save time but you will be able to consider using less skilled resource for many tasks and redirect others to focus on the technical and most costly areas.