Case Study

Downer reduces errors and design time with Benchmark Estimating

January 11, 2022

See how Downer creates efficiencies into the business, reduces design time, makes ordering materials easier and drives accuracy in design, reducing repeat work.

Sue Kapeli, Business Change Manager, Technology Solutions at Downer, spoke to us after the company had turned to Benchmark Estimating to eliminate their spreadsheet pain, improve operational efficiencies and eliminate double entry of data in their job management system.

At that stage, while the initial brief from Downer was for Benchmark Estimating to provide a central repository for their estimates and thus create greater operational efficiencies within that department, when the company extended the brief and rolled out the system throughout the wider Downer team, they realised that Benchmark Estimating delivered more varied and far-reaching benefits.

Now with a significant portion of the roll-out completed and 60% of their work stream now in the Benchmark Estimating platform, we revisit Downer for an update on the benefits that were delivered to their business.

‘Our first round of work streams has been completed and we are using Benchmark Estimating on a high volume of quotes for projects predominantly in the low to mid-range value of $15K-$20K,’ Sue Kapeli said.

The way to go to move away from manual practices

Overall, Sue Kapeli said Downer is experiencing efficiencies and professional benefits from the solution and she encourages others to make the change.

‘It’s important that you understand your current commercial and operational models well and be clear before implementing the software into the business. If your goal is to move away from manual practices, then Benchmark is the way to go,’ Sue Kapeli said.

Efficiency, speed and savings – delivered by Benchmark Estimating

Downer has 90 users located across their different offices in New Zealand and the feedback from key team members on their experience using Benchmark Estimating, provides a hands-on perspective and a cross-section of insights into the benefits being realised across the business sectors:

‘Now that we no longer have to do the project spread and can add codes or quotes in any order, we have been able to complete pricing quicker and also reduce the number of pricing errors,’ Simon said.

Simon also finds the format and layout of the Field Report very good and finds it very efficient to save the Field Report as a word doc and use it as the field spec.

The team see the Resource Library and BOM (Bill of Materials) as one of the major features of Benchmark Estimating alongside the ability to directly interface with JobTrak. They find that the designer spends less time looking for material items and has a greater chance of getting the right item and the single order request on the standardised form to logistics, means less processing time.

Features which translate into direct cost savings when compared with manual methods.

Rowland considers Benchmark Estimating a very successful design tool for his design team:

‘From my perspective, Benchmark Estimating has driven efficiencies into my business, it has reduced design time due to the pricing faculty, made ordering materials so much easier, made the DFA requirement quicker and has driven accuracy in designs, thus reducing re-work.’

Big pluses, huge improvements, less errors

In the Wellington Office, Anne gave her appraisal of some of the specific functionalities of Benchmark Estimating in relation to her work.

She says that having materials in the codes is a big plus and they are finding less and less missing materials, but advises others to ensure they are kept up to date and add new ones as soon as possible.

‘Ease of movement between quotes and codes has been a huge improvement as has the removal of the spread function,’ Anne said.

These benefits and perspectives were supported by Henry (Telco Network Standards Specialist) who add that having a single source to go to for pricing was excellent as was the ability to track who had amended the quote.

Plenty of positives

From the Palmerston North office Bevan says there are many positives from the software, including the on-line approval process, improved spread automation by Benchmark, the ease to build a quote from the libraries, having a single database, automated BOM (Bill of Materials), standardised, professional and easy to use reports.

A perspective which pretty much sums up the positive experience and results that Benchmark is delivering for Downer.

With this first stage of roll-out seemingly a success, Downer is now focussing on the future by extending the work stream with the goal to move completely away from all of their spreadsheet modules.

‘Our focus in the next few months is to the get the remaining 40% of our work stream into Benchmark Estimating, as it has proven itself as the way to go for our business,’ Sue Kapeli said.

In New Zealand, Australia and in many other countries, a wide range of businesses are finding Benchmark Estimating is ‘the way to go’ to get away from manual processes and enjoy positive user benefits to enable businesses to achieve greater operational efficiency, significant cost savings, reduce errors and realise positive growth.

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