Watch the following video to learn how purchase orders in 4castplus move through the 3 main lifecycle stages, called the 3-way-match:
Analyzing Vendor Bids
The final stage of any Request for Quote (RFQ) or Request for Proposal (RFP), is the process of awarding the contract to the successful bidder. A key part of this stage is when the buyers collect all the information together to compare the various bids, along with the technical & commercial details of each. This can be a challenging and time-consuming process if your buyer team doesn’t have the right tools to help perform that task.
What is a Commercial Bid Analysis?
The purpose of the Competitive, or Commercial Bid Analysis (CBA) undertaken by the procurement team is as follows:
Managing the complexity of procurement for large construction projects requires an exceptionally robust technology solution.
Most commercial procurement software solutions are designed to handle general purchasing for a broad range of businesses and industry applications. Procurement for construction projects has more complex needs such as:
Hey, don’t laugh, it’s a key skill. The only creepy thing about it is I can look at someone right in the eye and be muttering to myself at the same time. And even though I have at least another 40 years before I’m at that station in life where muttering is just something you do, I’m getting an early start because I’ve discovered that it has high value. I’m not the first to discover this, as it turns out. Experiments have been done to prove that regularly talking to yourself is a positive thing: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/04/25/talking-to-yourself-may-actually-be-a-good-idea/.
One of the biggest challenges most procurement professionals face, is managing the day-to-day madness of having too many things to stay on top of, and not enough information to work with. A very common frustration we hear about from procurement officers is their constant battle with “emergency procurement”. A feeling as if they are always behind, in an ongoing reactive state – having to make sudden purchases with next-to-no advance planning.
Risk is everywhere in business. Whether you’re a large or small company; or whether you run large or small projects – you are always running the very real risk that you’re project won’t succeed according to plan. How your business performs on a project however, goes well beyond just your own internal issues of cash flow and resourcing. The interdependencies that are inherent in construction projects means that what you do has a direct effect on your peer organizations and the owner. In other words: what you do is not just your own problem. If you blow it, you may end up blowing it for everyone around you. That doesn’t go over well – people talk.
How on earth do we manage to make sense of the chaotic volumes of information that gets thrown at us every day? If you’re anything like me, in any 24-hour period you can get hundreds of emails, documents, txts, tweets and messages filling your inbox and various other mediums. It’s impossible to believe we can do a decent job of cataloging and organizing it all in order to get back to it later.
I don’t have any stats on this, but I bet that over 90% of people use Outlook as an information management system – supported by hundreds of folders located somewhere on a company shared drive. And to some degree that works ok. There does come a point, however, when that system simply breaks down. I talk to a lot of people who plan, manage and procure construction projects, and easily one of the biggest struggles they fight to endure is how to tackle the barbaric amounts of information they need to stay on top of. Contracts, drawings, change orders, vendor invoices, daily site reports, budgets, status reports and on and on it goes. Each document and email thread can contain important information that’s critical to a project’s smooth and healthy progress.
At some point, engineering and construction companies need to upgrade the systems they use for managing all that project-related content. It’s like when you used to have no kids, and now you have three kids: you have to face the reality that you need to upgrade your two-seater car to something that can haul around the whole family. I specifically wrote project-related content as opposed to enterprise content. There’s a very big difference. The difference is: Project Data should reside with the project – not in a corporate document management system (or in Outlook or on a shared drive).
Hands up if you don't know what an Expeditor is
Oh don't worry - you're not alone if you're not too sure what an expeditor is or does. The expeditor is just that quintessential guy-behind-the-guy that plays a pivotal role in successful project execution. That's all.
The management of critical path items in large construction projects usually involves the coordination of multiple events coming together at exactly the right time. In order for work to be completed smoothly, you need the crews, equipment, materials, drawings, instructions, etc. to all be there at-the-ready, with all preconditions and preparations met, at precisely the right time. For most organizations, the responsibility for the logistics in making sure this all happens without a snag, is perceived as the job of the Project Manager. While true, the project manager is the face of project coordination, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that enable the project manager to achieve the success they’re looking for.
It’s always very interesting to me how much difference there is between how organizations structure the management of major projects. Naturally, the bigger the project, the more bodies they’ll need for project controls, construction project management, procurement, etc. Adding more people of course, adds more complexity (to anything). When you add more people, those people need to be organized into groups and disciplines; each requiring key inputs and outputs and deliverables. In defining this organizational structure; I’ve found that there is a tendency for major to mega projects to disconnect these groups into individual silos. Working in silos, they coexist with each other, but with minimum interaction. No-one wants this to happen, of course, and any person would tell you that healthy communication is vital for streamlined success.