The following handy hints assume at least a beginner’s level of knowledge of Benchmark Estimating Software. These hints do not take you through detailed step by step instructions, and are mainly designed to provide you with an overview of various commonly asked questions. If you have any questions on these please Contact Us.
If you would like more detailed instructions on these or any other topics, simply open Benchmark Estimating Software, select HELP from the main menu and you then have access to the PDF User Manual and Online Help. You can also access the latest PDF Release Notes from the Help menu by selecting What’s New.
1. Copy and paste between Projects
You can copy and paste data between Projects in various ways in Benchmark Estimating Software.
In the Project Browser
- Simply expand the Project you wish to copy data from.
- Highlight the Section or Item you wish to copy, right click and select Copy (or press the windows <CTRL+C> keyboard shortcut).
- Expand the Project you wish to paste the data into.
- Highlight the Project or Section you wish to paste your copied Section or Item (respectively) into, right click and select Paste (or press the windows <CTRL+V> keyboard shortcut).
When you are working in a Project
You can also use powerful features such as “Add Item from Project” to copy and paste multiple Items between Projects in one simple operation. You do this by right clicking in the Project Items window.
This feature is more powerful than your typical copy/paste function. This is because, during the process, you can type in your new Item Quantities and Benchmark automatically recalculates your Resource quantities and updates your Item rate and Cost as part of the “paste” process.
2. Comparing Projects side by side
In our newest release version – Version 7.5 – we have implemented a new “Project Comparator” feature that allows you to compare related projects side-by-side. Accessed from the Project Browser window, you can run this feature by one of two means:
- If you wish to compare 2 or more Projects that you have “linked” together for Market Share purposes, simply highlight ANY of the linked projects, right click and select “Compare selected Project and all linked Projects“; or
- If you wish to compare any Projects regardless of whether they are linked or not, simply highlight the Projects you wish to compare, right click and select “Compare Selected Projects“.
An example of the Project Comparator window is below; you will find numerous options at the top to help you customise your analysis, and you can also export the data to Excel to undertake your own, custom data manipulation/analysis/comparisons.
3. Preparing a "budget" version of your estimate
Many customers, following successful contract award, prepare a “budget” version of the successful estimate. This version of the estimate is used as the basis to give to the Project Manager/Supervisor to use to run the project.
BUT what many customers also do as part of this process is that they edit the “budget” version first before handing it over to a Project Manager.. why do they do this? The main reason is that the business may wish to increase production rates for various Items or modify the breakdown of some Items to, effectively, “raise the bar” for the Project Manager. This sets higher standards/levels of production, giving the Project Manager and his/her team a more challenging work schedule. Combined with a performance based rewards-based scheme for project managers and their teams, this can help a business generate more profits, but also help projects run on schedule.
Here is a brief step-by-step guide how to do generate this “budget” version of the estimate:
- Firstly you should DUPLICATE the original Project. Open the Project Details window and press <CTRL+D> on your keyboard (or right click and select Duplicate).
- When duplicating the Project make sure:
- In the “Duplicate Project” window, you select the option to link the duplicated project for “Market Share” purposes.
- Always edit the description of the duplicated project to have the words “Budget” – before or after the normal description – this makes it easy for everyone to know what this duplicate is for.
- In the duplicated Project, open the SPREAD feature and select the feature called “Fix All Rates” – this will “lock” your submission rates so any adjustments you make do not alter your Submission values. THIS IS A CRITICAL STEP.
- You can now adjust anything you wish in the duplicated Project. You may adjust Production Rates or Variable values for example, or even manually over-ride Resource data for some Items. You may also wish to consult with key Suppliers to get better prices for some key Materials for example.
- You now have your budget! You can now use the extensive Reporting/Export features of Benchmark Estimating Software to generate the necessary “handover” data for your Project Manager.
EXTRA TIP – combine this tip with the Project Comparator tip. This will enable you to see the differences between the accepted Estimate and the Budget. Management can see the estimated additional Profit margin and/or drill down to individual Sections/Items to see the estimated cost.
4. Recording and reporting on Marketing data
Recording Marketing data
To record marketing data you can do this in one of two ways.
Firstly in the Project Details window, simply select the Analysis tab – here you can edit fields like the project status (Won, Lost), Reason for Loss and the Competitor who won the Project (if you lost it), as shown in the screen shot below.
OR if you have many Projects to update, you can do this very quickly in the “Update Marketing Data” feature. You access this feature from either the MARKETING tab in the Command Centre or the “My Favourites” section of the new “MY BENCHMARK” feature. The “Update Marketing Data” feature displays all projects and allows you to quickly edit marketing data for many Projects in one window.
Reporting on Marketing data
The “Project Analysis” feature is designed for you to generate a multitude of Marketing graphs & reports based on user-defined parameters. As can be seen in the screen shot below you have various options to select from at the top of the window. Once you have selected your options you can then generate a Graph, list-style Report or export the data to Excel for your own more detailed analysis.
In the Project Browser window you can also generate further marketing and business reports. The screen shot below shows these reports: