Design for Procurement: How To Elevate Project Output

Manage FF&E specification, procurement, and product data at scale. Take on bigger projects with confidence and grow your firm with  FohlioSchedule a demo or book a consultation with one of our account managers to explore these features today.

Between design and procurement, things have always been pretty old school.

For as long as design and procurement co-existed, things have been done pretty much the same way: Each step is done independently and separately, then afterwards, passed on to the next person or team. This is actually a high risk procedure because it entails that the person or team in the next step will absorb all of the errors from the first. This in turn causes time spent on re-doing errors (which takes hours normally) and then trying chase  the time to do the actual work for the actual step that they’re in.

For design and procurement, here’s how it normally goes down: Design takes the process from concept building, down to specification writing -> passes it on to the client for approval -> procurement. In most cases, design teams overlook the fact that the procurement team can sometimes struggle with the next steps because of hiccups in sourcing the specified materials. This, in turn, can cause major delays in delivery and can negatively impact the expected date of turn-over for a project. 

While some might say that the linear workflow has worked in the past, we can’t say for sure whether this can still be considered the most effective way of doing things. It’s frustrating for companies who still use this linear method of work because it puts a lot of factors in the project at risk, but it’s also difficult to find a new way of doing things because the traditional method is the only thing they’ve known to do for so long. Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t putting the blame on anyone. It’s actually quite the contrary because we have something worth bringing to the table: The concept of designing for procurement. 

In simple terms: designing for procurement means working backward and involving procurement during the early design phases.

Since most companies don’t reach out to procurement until they’re ready to purchase, they tend to miss out on some big wins: involving procurement early on can give high-value input for your overall design process. Here are a couple of practices and their benefits to give you a head start on learning how to design for procurement. 

1. Specify your materials with procurement KPIs in mind.

  • Satisfying the right design standards isn’t enough to finish the project. There are other factors like supply availability, lead time, and purchase order cycle time- all detrimental to getting the project done on time. So the next time you think about specifying a special or custom material, consult with your procurement manager first and identify materials that have high compliance to your procurement KPI’s so together you can choose materials that satisfy your design standards and meet the project timeline.

       Learn more on: How to Measure Construction Procurement Success: Basic Key Performance Metrics

  • Benefit: This will drastically shorten your timeline. Shorter timelines mean having the efficiency and time to take on more projects.

2. Upskill your designers by teaching them value engineering. 

Value engineering is a skill very much worth knowing and is definitely a skill that those in procurement know a thing or two about. Value engineering is the method of eliminating project waste and increasing quality to elevate the value of your project at the lowest cost possible. This includes considerations such as material availability, building methods, transportation challenges, site limitations or restrictions, planning and organization, expenses, and profits. By teaching designers about the impact their design specifications make on project value, they can make the procurement process easier when they become value-minded when writing their specifications.  

  • Benefit: Higher savings opportunities and more value out of your project

3. Give procurement a chance to review the specifications before submission. 

  • The design team is ultimately focused on specifying materials that satisfy design standards and functionality requirements, but there are a lot more ways on how you can determine the quality of your specifications, by placing into consideration things like product lifecycle, wear and tear recovery and etc., and much of these things are known by procurement specialists who are exposed to the supply chain and therefore have better chances of identifying high-quality products. 

          Read: How to Use Design Standards to Improve Project Success

  • Result: Build a strong materials library that has tried and tested products and specifications. Having a robust design digital materials library is an asset to your organization because this gives you the guarantee of quality in your work. Delivering high-quality projects will impress your clients and improve your reputation in the marketplace. 

Manage FF&E specification, procurement, and product data at scale. Take on bigger projects with confidence and grow your firm with  FohlioSchedule a demo or book a consultation with one of our account managers to explore these features today.

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