<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none;" alt="" src="https://dc.ads.linkedin.com/collect/?pid=953018&amp;fmt=gif">

Benefits of an End-to-End Solution for Proposal and Project Cost Management

What do we mean by an end-to-end solution for proposal and project cost management?  It is an integrated set of software tools from a single vendor using a single database design.  That means you can produce and manage time phased cost data for the entire project from inception to closeout with shared data and functions.  No need to write macros, transfer data between tools with different databases and user interfaces, or purchase a suite of add-ons for workflow functions, reporting, and producing government electronic deliverables.

Continue Reading

BOEMax Tech Tips – Establishing a Process Library

BOEMax was designed to help our clients create data driven cost estimates easier and faster.  The Process Library is just one of many functions built into BOEMax for this purpose.  This blog is an introduction to the Process Library and how it can help cost estimators improve the quality of their cost estimate data.

Continue Reading

Creating Data Driven Basis of Estimates

What is a data driven basis of estimate? It is a cost estimate that is based on verifiable data. Ideally, it is historical or other data that is traceable to the source business system such as accounting, timekeeping, material management, purchasing, or manufacturing. Along with verifiable data, the rationale used to arrive at the estimate must be clearly documented and easily available. The proposal team and customer must be able to follow the thought process, methodology, assumptions, and calculations used to arrive at the cost estimate.

Continue Reading

Integrated Estimating and Pricing Proposal Software

Looking for software tools to help manage your proposal estimating and pricing process? There are several commercial off the shelf (COTS) options available, but which one is right for your specific needs? When evaluating your business requirements, and how those software tools can help improve the proposal process, consider the product’s ease of use and return on investment (ROI). The first step is to ask the following questions: • What can make an immediate difference for proposal teams? • What can help proposal teams create a credible proposal response with less time and effort? ProjStream’s BOEMax was designed with you and your proposal teams in mind.  With BOEMax your proposal teams can leverage a central database with built-in workflow to organize the data, create a library of reusable proposal components, and manage the entire proposal process.  Working together, the various functional and technical proposal team members can leverage the same source data for:

Continue Reading

Still Using Excel for Your Proposal Cost Estimates?

A Better Way: Quality Proposal Cost Estimates

Continue Reading

Easily Incorporate Subcontractor Cost Estimate Data into Your Basis of Estimate

Improve Process Efficiencies and Save Time

Continue Reading

How to Best Leverage Proposal Schedule and Cost Estimate at Contract Award

Take Your Winning Proposal to a Winning Project Have you thought about the process you follow immediately after contract award? Are the project teams assigned to a new project using the proposal schedule, cost estimate, and basis of estimate (BOE) data to their full advantage? With the right process and tool-sets in place, you can get through the initiating and planning phases easier and faster – and increase the quality of the schedule and budget data.

Continue Reading

Construction Bidding Software: 3 Features that Estimators Need to Save Time

1) Takeoff template library Many contractors comb through paper blueprints and count each outlet box, run of wire and switch by hand. This time-consuming manual takeoff method increases the chances of missing items, which lowers profitability, and/or doubling items, which increases your final bid and could cost you the job. One way to spend less time completing a takeoff is to choosing a construction bidding software equipped with a sophisticated Takeoff Template Library. Estimating teams can use built-in catalogs of common construction assemblies and build repeatable, customized assemblies to speed up the takeoff process and eliminate errors.  

Continue Reading

How to Best Meet DCAA Compliance Requirements

The Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) performs all contract audits for the Department of Defense (DoD). This audit includes Estimating System Reviews (ESRs). Even though ESRs aim to improve the accuracy and reliability of government contract proposals, going through one is tedious and nerve-wracking. And failure leads to some steep consequences: Your future proposals are scrutinized more. The proposal negotiation process takes longer to complete Governmental agencies will second-guess the accuracy and reliability of your future proposals. Your name is entered into the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) You may not get 5% of your progress and performance-based payments Now that we have your attention, let’s talk about ways to avoid all these penalties. **Spoiler Alert** If you commit to documenting everything, training and managing personnel properly, and following through with system improvements, you will meet all DCAA compliance requirements.

Continue Reading

The Price is Right: 5 Pricing Strategies that Win Government Contracts

If you think about it, pricing a government contract is a lot like being a contestant on the Price is Right:  You see a product (contract). Think about how much it costs (how much the government will pay for the job). Try to figure out what other contestants (your competitors) will bid. Make the most educated guess to win the game (bid). Winning doesn’t happen overnight However, Price is Right contestants don’t wake up pricing geniuses. They watch the game—a lot. They know the rules inside and out, study the competition, familiarize themselves with bidding strategies that have (or have not) worked out for other contestants, and develop their own tactics based on all that research. So they know exactly what to do when they hear those famous words, “Come on down!”  And that mindset is exactly what you need to win government contracts. We’ve been in the pricing government contracts game for a while now, so we put together a list of pricing strategies we’ve seen work: 1. Bid or no-bid research Before you even decide to respond to an RFP, ask the question, “Does it make sense for me to bid on this contract?” You can spend a lot of money chasing work only to find out later your company’s capabilities and price points don’t match the agency’s funding expectations. The Federal Data Procurement System and FEDMINE are great places to start the research process.  To help you piece together an educated guess at a project’s available funding, follow these suggestions:  Read industry analyst articles on this exact topic. Ask companies in the same industry about sharing pricing information (some are cagey about sharing with competitors, but it does not hurt to try). Study comparable awards to get an idea of common expectations and pricing strategies that won. Review the agency's budget data and priorities. 2. Know what it should cost You’re not the only one playing the price guessing game. As part of releasing an RFP, the governmental agency has also gone through a pricing exercise to decide how much the work should cost.  **SIDE NOTE: This number doesn’t necessarily align with the resulting contract award. Rather, the agency uses this number to get funding for the project.  To help you evaluate what the agency is thinking cost-wise, follow these suggestions: Define a preliminary work breakdown structure (WBS) to help you organize work activities and review project necessities. Create a staffing plan so you have an idea of the skill mix and number of resources you'll need to complete the project. Use pricing and estimating software like BOEMax to data-mine your own data. Quickly compare historical estimates and actuals, so you're confident in the numbers you present. 3. Determine who else won (and why) Dig into previously awarded contracts. Look for how often quality won over price or vice versa, and pay attention to the pattern.  Some agencies consistently award contractors who have the best solution, even if the price tag is slightly higher than other bidders. Others tend to choose the contractor who has the lowest price technically acceptable (LPTA) proposal.  Without taking some time to study award patterns, you run the risk of outbidding yourself or selling your services short, both of which can also affect your overall bidding reputation. 4. Dive into your expense pools We’re not telling you to adjust your direct labor rates, your fees, or your fringe rates here. What we’re suggesting is take a hard look at your indirect rates and look for ways to trim costs. Pay close attention to your overhead and general & administrative pools. Oftentimes, there are places in each where you can reduce costs. Here are some common expenses worth reviewing: Hardware Office supplies Rent Internet Phone Facility maintenance etc. 5. Reverse-engineer the competition Study similar awarded contracts with public financial information to gauge burdened labor rates, direct labor rates, average rate/hour, and total contract value. Do your homework on GSA and other respected sources for rate schedule, labor category, and burdened labor rates in your area. Put your findings up against salary surveys and calculate the burden to each labor category to help you figure out competitor wrap rates and bidding strategies. Get the price right with BOEMax All the above sounds like a lot of work—especially if you start from scratch every time you want to respond to a new RFP. We feel your pain. That’s why we created BOEMax to streamline everything that goes into writing, winning, and executing on a government contract. Use the BOE library to data-mine your existing and historical data. Access it at a project, work breakdown structure (WBS), or task level (see below), and use it to create more exact, high-quality proposals quickly. Then, give yourself a pat on the back for a job well done. You can use BOEMax to access data at a project, WBS, or task-level. Come on down! Perhaps one day, you’ll find yourself on the Price is Right, or maybe you won’t. But when it comes to our industry’s pricing game, we hope you’ll remember our silly analogy, the 5 pricing strategies we shared, and how BOEMax can help make you a winner every time. 

Continue Reading