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Trimble Quest - lays the foundation for a good tender

Read this story in Swedish

An accurate cost estimate is the foundation of a good tender, and a healthy project economy. AB Södermännen, a Swedish contractor, knows this and wants to make their cost estimation and tender process more effective and accurate. AB Södermännen has chosen Trimble Quest as their cost estimating tool both for tenders and project follow up.

We spoke to Pontus Runesson, head of sales at AB Södermännen to hear his thoughts about how Trimble Quest is transforming the way they work with cost estimating and bidding.

AB Södermännen is a contractor with about 30 employees based in Eskilstuna in Sweden. They have in-house competence in project management, surveying, cost estimation and construction - so they can offer their customer an holistic approach to most projects, running them from early phases up until completion and handover. AB Södermännen works, for example, with logistic centers, property developments and shopping centers.

Pontus Runsesson explained they have a team-based approach to their work, so that competence and skills can be spread throughout their organization. For example the estimators also have design competence so they can use the models produced fully in the cost calculations.

“We also have our own construction workers, but almost no machinery where we hire subcontractors, but we have our own surveyors who use a lot of Trimble equipment such as total stations, scanners and drones,” Pontus explains.

Digital Construction

Our projects are fully digital, Pontus continues. We don't even have a printer on the construction site these days. Right now we are in the middle of implementing a new tool for production management on site. We clearly see big value in keeping the construction process digital just because in the end, we will do more right, and less wrong.

Why Trimble Quest?

Why did you choose to start using Trimble Quest, we asked? Pontus tells us that AB Södermännen has been using a lot of Trimble equipment and softwares before, like Trimble Business Center, drones, total stations, and machine control systems. Through the years we have tried out a lot of different cost estimation software without being satisfied with them. Above all it is due to the lack of flexibility we have seen, Pontus explains.

When we were in contact with Trimble regarding another question someone mentioned Trimble Quest and we immediately found it interesting. We were put in contact with Dawid Weideman who went through the basics of the software and then set up a trial environment for us. After three sessions with Dawid, we decided to invest in Trimble Quest and start to implement it in our business. We can't emphasize enough the excellent service we’ve been provided by Trimble and Dawid in this, Pontus summarizes. The price and licensing is also really favorable and suits our needs very well!

What makes Trimble Quest so good is the flexibility. We can create our own work processes, cost calculation formulas and set up a list of resources, then we connect the cost calculation formulas to different volumes and areas from the design model, mostly done in Trimble Business Center, says Pontus Runesson. 
We are also really satisfied with the different report extraction functionality in Quest, Pontus goes on. We can export reports to use further in the follow-up at the construction site and to check that progress and budget are on time with each other.

One main challenge for the whole construction industry when it comes to digitalization, is to communicate between different software systems. In a common construction project, a lot of different software applications are used for all types of work like meeting appointments, quantity control and machine control data production. With Trimbles collaboration platform Quadri users connect their different software applications to one common data environment, without the need of exporting and importing files back and forth. All communication between software is handled by built-in connections between, for example, a design tool like Civil 3D and a cost estimation tool like Trimble Quest. This is the way we want to work, Pontus emphasizes, when we are discussing the challenges we all have in the business when it comes to integration between systems of different kinds.

The work of cost estimation is fundamentally changed

We are convinced that Trimble Quest is a really really good cost estimation application. We have used a lot of other cost estimation tools before, so this is good a judgment, but of course, there is room for enhancements, Pontus tells us. For example, a translation to Swedish would be nice to have and also a library of pre-made cost calculation formulas to use as templates for the projects. A possibility to connect to different suppliers' price lists would also be a good feature to have!

When using Trimble Quest the way the cost estimator works is changed in the way that the software is taking care of all calculations. What you need to do as a cost estimator is to set up and update price lists, set of resources and formulas inside Quest. Then you add volumes and areas from the design and the cost estimation is performed.

We surely count on saving a lot of time by using Trimble Quest, says Pontus, but at the start it takes some time to build up the configuration with price lists, formulas and workspaces. When this is done the cost estimating process will be much more effective than earlier, and it will also be much easier to introduce new colleagues to the art of cost estimation, Pontus summarizes.