BOEMax, our propsal software, 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. Here, we present an introduction to the Process Library and how it can help cost estimators improve the quality of their cost estimate data.
About the BOEMax Process Library
The purpose of the Process Library is to help you build and manage repeatable process templates all estimators can use as reliable source data for cost estimating. For each process template, you define a set of tasks, and then assign the labor, material, and other non-labor resource roles with labor hours or direct costs needed to complete each task in the process.
For the labor hour and direct cost data in the Process Library templates, you can use historical performance and actual costs, historical bills of material, a master parts list, standards, or other validated source data. You can also include text documentation for the task or resource roles. The benefit? You have a consistent basis for estimators to produce quality cost estimates from reliable source data.
The Process Library is a powerful tool that can be used in a variety of ways depending on your business environment. When cost estimators copy selected Process Library tasks with resource assignment data into their cost estimate project, they can apply multipliers to the source data to reflect specific proposal requirements.
Steps for Establishing the Process Library in BOEMax
There are a few up-front steps that need to be completed before the cost estimators can take advantage of the Process Library. You can start with a small set of common process templates and add to them over time. It is easy to import data into BOEMax estimate software from a variety of other systems using Excel, so you can take advantage of pulling historical source data from other systems of record to substantiate the data in the Process Library.
Step 1. Create the common list of resource roles. These are usually a defined set of labor skill sets or higher-level categories of resources such as engineering material or production material useful for organizing the process template data. The cost estimators can map their project specific resources to these resource roles when they copy the Process Library tasks into their project.
Step 2. Create the master part list and assemblies if applicable for your business environment. You can then select parts or assemblies from the master list when you define the tasks and assign resources to the tasks for a given process template.
Step 3. Either add or import the Process Library data. This includes the list of named process templates, related list of tasks, assigned resource roles for each task, and labor hour or direct cost data for each resource. For example, you could import historical actual cost data as the basis for the labor hours and direct costs. You may also want to document the source for the data. For example, perhaps you did a specific data extract from the accounting system to populate the Process Library templates the cost estimators would find useful to substantiate their basis of estimates.
This is the easy part for the cost estimators: using the main estimate grid view in BOEMax, they navigate the proposal software and select the Process Library option from the top Ribbon Menu to display the copy Process Library window. This window includes a search function so they can quickly find a specific process template or set of tasks they need for their project. Once they locate the set of process tasks they want, they simply:
- Select the tasks and resources they want to copy over;
- Select the applicable work breakdown structure (WBS) element to copy the tasks into; and
- Set the applicable duration and multiplier options in the window.
The copy Process Library window displays the results from their option settings, so the cost estimator can verify the data before they copy it into their project. As needed, they can adjust their settings in the window to produce the desired result. Clicking save copies the data with the applied option settings into their project.
One copy Process Library option is to use a complexity factor to apply to the tasks. For example, the proposal team or technical resource could determine this complexity factor based on the RFP statement of work. Using a complexity factor works well for a series of labor-intensive tasks such as a common engineering process with a known set of resource skill grades and labor hours for each task in the process. The cost estimator can determine the start and end date for the task, select the spread or distribution profile, and apply a complexity factor to the base labor hours from the Process Library. The complexity factor functions like a multiplier to determine the project specific labor hour cost estimate for the tasks.
Another copy Process Library option in the estimate software is to use a quantity factor to apply to the tasks. This option works well when the Process Library is used to organize cost estimating relationship (CER) data with labor resources and related bill of material quantities required to complete a task such as building an assembly, servicing or refurbishing a piece of equipment, or paving a road.
The cost estimators can also define project specific multiplier variables such as crew size or square footage to add to the copy Process Library window. When using the quantity factor, they can also use frequency and duration settings. For example, perhaps the defined set of tasks are performed once a month for a duration of six months. Using a combination of all of the multipliers – quantity, frequency, duration, and any user defined variables – determines the project specific labor hour and direct costs for the tasks.
How the Process Library Helps Cost Estimators
The source data documented in the Process Library and the project specific factors applied are captured in the project’s database. Data traceability is automatically maintained for the cost estimators. As desired, they can add text documentation to the WBS element, tasks, or resources to note their assumptions for the work elements. Everything is in one database – the text documentation along with the time phased cost data.
What are you waiting for? Call or schedule a proposal writing software demo today to see how BOEMax can help your proposal teams create quality cost estimate data easier and faster.