What Can You Learn From The Rear View Mirror?
If a CI manager analytically reviewed a summary listing of the last 12 months of the company’s projects, would it affect any behavior?
Consider a list of jobs noting the size, type, duration, category mix, and gross margin of each. Sort by job size – do you think you’d see things that would help you better bid future jobs? Do you think you’d see any patterns about which kinds of jobs are in your company’s sweet spot, and which aren’t?
So many integrators rely on database and labor estimates from a proposal tool. We get it; you need some basis for quoting. But how many companies validate these estimates in detail or in whole? For example, jobs too often require more hours than estimated. If we ever bothered to “collate the data”, we might uncover the flaw causing the problem. Unfortunately, few companies conduct post mortems on key projects. We just keep doing what we have always done.
We suggest you keep a log of proposals going out the door. We’ve even developed a log format you might find useful. Most integrators have less than 15 projects/jobs a month; some simple data entry should not be too big an issue. In fact, someone should be reviewing and policing bid prices before they are presented to the client.
Ok an excel spreadsheet isn’t an elegant solution. But if you had captured all of last year’s activity you would have a goldmine of information to act on. Click here to download our example of a tracking worksheet.
Another way to go after this issue is to have your enterprise system generate a projects/jobs report with size/type and duration breakdown, similar to the worksheet. Because if you know how profitable small, medium, large and X-large jobs are; you may be able to improve how you bid them.
Our only word of caution is to understand the difference between looking at estimates (before the work is done) or actuals (results after production) in reviewing these jobs. It’s the estimates vs actuals comparison, especially as concerns labor hours and margins, that will help you best understand where your bid pricing might be coming up short.
Our best wishes for learning more about the habits of bidding you have.