Project Based CRM for A&E Firms

Posted by Shari Gardner on January 24, 2015

architecture engineering design

Forecasting Your Resources

Tracking resource information allows you to forecast your resource needs. Returning to the previous example and looking at just one of those resources for the $10,000 job, you estimated you would need a designer for 40 hours. How many other potential jobs also need a designer at the present time? Imagine that during the next six months there will be 15 jobs that need design work. Each job needs roughly 40 hours of work, for a total of 600 hours of design work. Now imagine you have two full-time designers who can each work 40 hours a week, which means that over the next six months you have 1,920 hours of design time available (960 per designer).

So, do you have enough work over the next six months to keep these two people busy? Do you need to find more design work? On the other hand, if they’re already backlogged for the next five months, does that mean you need to find an additional designer?

By tracking resources needed based on opportunities, you can answer two key questions:

  • Do you have enough work to keep all your people employed and busy?
  • Do you have all of the right resources for all the work to which you could potentially commit?

Some companies accomplish this tracking with spreadsheets that are attached to opportunities. Ask this question: If you had to find out how many designer hours were in the forecast for all opportunities expected to close over the next six months, how many spreadsheets would you have to look through? A project-based CRM system solves this for you.

Creating Solid Proposals

Back to the example again — you have decided that the $10,000 job would be profitable for your business and you have the resources needed to get the job done. Now you must create a proposal. Many businesses have proposal templates handy, allowing them to put together their written presentations to potential clients. These templates include such things as descriptions of the company, the team that will be involved and their resumes (that’s important because your customers are often buying your expertise and your employees’ skills), similar projects your organization has successfully completed, and countless other pieces of information that go into a winning proposal.

Although every proposal to every client is different, many pieces of that proposal are similar to, if not the same as, what you’ve used in other proposals. So when creating a new proposal, you’ll spend lots of time searching through previous proposals and cutting and pasting items from one document into another. You’ll spend just as much time hunting down people who have answers or who need to update certain pieces of information, such as resumes and project descriptions.

Proposal-generation tools can speed this process, especially if they’re tied to your project-based ERP system. Think of your proposal as a puzzle. You just need to grab the right pieces and glue them all together for the finished product. For example, you may use several company boilerplates. Every member of the organization has a resume used on proposals, there is a list of previous clients to be used as references, and maybe there are descriptions or pictures of previous projects. A proposal tool allows you to select all the pieces you’ll need from these choices and then pulls them all together into one document, saving you the time of searching, cutting, and pasting.

Your previous clients and projects will be part of your projectbased ERP system, so the ability to pull from that system into your proposal will save lots of time.

The above article is an excerpt from the Deltek’s Special Edition “Project-Based ERP for Dummies”. To download the entire book click here.