Proposal Initiation, Creation & Execution
Proposal Initiation, Creation & Execution (PRICE) is a small-project proposal and quote generation tool. It is intended for companies that have to provide their prospective clients and customers with tailored prices and specifications for products and services. The system is ideally suited to companies that deliver products/services via repetitive short-term production-type projects (typically up to 5 weeks in duration, but could be longer). Such companies are critically dependent on the timing, accuracy and consistency of their proposals/quotes in order to win profitable work. Examples of companies that fall into this category include installers of networks and systems (e.g. for hosted services, telephones, HVAC), deliverers of small construction projects (e.g. for residential waterproofing), and customized maintenance projects (e.g. for industrial instrumentation calibration), etc.
Customized to Suit Company’s Project Delivery Process
PRICE is configured to produce customized proposals/quotes within the organisation’s project quoting procedures, according to its project delivery process and covering the range of products/services it offers. The system is initially set up by populating the lookup tables in the Configuration sheet with company-specific information, spelling out the production activities that are performed on projects, the associated production rates, the required tools and equipment, and quantifying standard costs (Fig. 1). Non-technical information, e.g. the company’s pricing policy and standard conditions of sale, are also entered here. Setup is a one-off exercise—modifications are only made when there are subsequent changes or additions to standards and rates.
Automated Dropdown Lists and Red Flag Alerts
Once setup is complete, PRICE is ready to start producing proposals. Project-specific non-technical details such as salesperson, client contacts, point of mobilization and cost-impactable information (e.g. project schedules, travel and accommodation plan, etc.) is captured in the Project sheet. The Project sheet is an automated data entry mechanism, incorporating dropdown lists and red flag alerts, which minimises input errors and ultimately improves proposal quality.
Price Estimating Mechanism Factors in Overtime
The next step in the process is price estimation. The PRICE estimator calculates project costs (broken down by labour, materials, plant & equipment and overheads). Costs are schedule-dependent and determined from the technical details of the project which are entered via self-updating dropdown lists in the Input sheet (Fig. 2). Labour costs are based on the company’s direct labour standards and rates and any indirect expenses (such as travel, accommodation and subsistence) as per the company’s expense policy, and includes an overtime premium which take into account actual planned work days and times in accordance with the company’s overtime policy. The estimator can also accommodate companies with different mobilization centres. PRICE enables optimal cost decisions by making cost comparisons for different travel and accommodation arrangements (i.e. whether to travel to site on a daily basis, or whether to make a single return trip by road or by air and stay in a hotel for the duration of the project).
The Proposal Price Summary breaks down the price by cost component (Fig. 3), and serves as the vehicle for proposal price approval, should sign-off be required prior to quote submission. A Tool List, which lists all the tools and equipment that will be need to execute the project, serves as a checklist for the technician preparing for the project.
Printed MS Word Proposal Document
The final step in the process is the generation of the proposal document. The proposal document is formatted to suit the quoting requirements of the quoting company, and typically incorporates industry references, scope of supply, scope of work, standard conditions of sale, etc. (Fig. 4). For companies that sometimes need to submit proposals in a language other than English, the system can be set up to do so. Proposal document printing is activated in Excel (in the chosen language), and automatically generates the MS Word proposal document.
PRICE enables the company to have a printed proposal/quote available immediately at the completion of the estimate and ready for submission to the client. This capability not only saves time, raising quote capacity without having to increase resources, but it also enhances quote accuracy and consistency, and standardizes pricing across the organisation.
PRICE is user-friendly—data is entered only once, red flag alerts draw the user’s attention to incorrect or missing data (thereby minimizing errors and ensuring better quality proposals).
No Additional Capital Expenditure
PRICE is not an off-the-shelf software package—there are no additional capital expenditures. It is a customized tool, and can be adapted easily to accommodate unavoidable changes in the future (e.g. in the volume of business, the range of services offered, information requirements, etc.). A procedure manual for users to operate and maintain the system is compiled for each system that is installed. The users’ guide also serves as a training document and to standardize the proposal process across the organization.
“Since implementing the quotation tool designed by Two Global Eyes, Endress+Hauser has seen a measurable growth in the sales volume and accuracy in costing of our projects. We feel that we have an advantage [over our competitors] in how we create proposals…”
David Riemer (Product Manager Service & Solutions – Endress + Hauser Canada Ltd)
Endress+Hauser is a leading supplier of industrial measurement and automation equipment, providing services and solutions for industrial processes all over the world. The company offers comprehensive process solutions for flow, level, pressure, analysis, temperature, recording and digital communications across a wide range of industries.