For most design projects, the time it takes to shift from the specification phase to the procurement phase could be months and even years. That means a great deal of time, effort, talent, and coordination were put into the specification sheets that now lay before you, and it’s now time to bring the drawings & words of multiple teams into reality.
That’s a lot of pressure!
During the procurement phase, some of your biggest responsibilities include maintaining design integrity, staying on schedule, and controlling costs. Here’s how to manage that.
Design Integrity: Procuring What Was Asked For
When creating POs and RFQs, making sure they accurately represent design intent is always top of mind. This can get difficult when your main directive is to be cost-efficient.
On top of that, suppliers often bid with substitutes and price changes, making bid comparison even more complex. What would ideally have been apples to apples becomes apples from the design phase to peaches, or plums that are apple-colored but with the texture and cost of an exotic pineapple.
More realistically: The design team could have specified a natural-finish wooden chair, and you’re now looking at a suggested substitute that has a faux mahogany finish with roughly the same shape and features as what was asked for, with adjustable heights that nobody asked for, but is cheaper. Is it worth the substitute?
While we can’t help you decide one way or another, Fohlio can at least make the process easier – or more transparent, anyway.
When creating RFQs, you’re able to set your own very specific parameters in order to “force” bidders to send the correct information.
Then, when all the quotes roll in, including suggested substitutions, you’re able to see them side by side, and actually compare apples to apples! In other words, you’re looking at color vs. color, dimensions vs. dimensions, price vs. price, and what other pieces of information you need to decide.
Schedule and Cost Control: Delivering What Was Asked For, On Time and On Budget
Now that you’re bid out to suppliers and can organize all the variables that come in to facilitate a decision on what to purchase, we can move on to tracking and monitoring time and costs to deliver the products that will make the design come to life.
Again, as a procurement agent, your main directive is cost efficiency. Delays cost money. Quantity and quality errors cost money. Duplicate efforts and time spend generating documents and reports to track every move … Yes, they all cost money.
One way to speed things up is to automate document generation. Just select products (make sure they’re all from the same supplier) then click “Create Purchase Order,” “Request Quotes,” or another procurement function. That’s it. No need to type details into another software or even copy and paste: You spend less time on manual, repetitive work and prevent errors.
Staying within the design budget is also a lot easier when (1) costs are automatically calculated as products are added; and (2) you can identify cost overruns before any actual purchasing begins.
Lastly, you can see PO and invoice statuses at a glance, and even sort them by status, project, and more. Your planned budget, spent funds, and remaining balances are also automatically calculated and visible all the time.