Shrinking the Inquiry to Quote time

Posted by Kamalakannan Sankaran
October 26th, 2017

If you had once built a dam in Tuticorin, would you be able to estimate the time taken for doing the same in Turin?

Estimation is a breeze. Take cars for instance. Or any white goods. You can ask a salesman and in a jiffy, he gives you a quote. So, I reiterate that estimation is a breeze.

Right? You thought so?

Think of giant projects. Like constructing a fly-over or building a dam or power plant, for instance. Can estimation be done in a couple of days, if not in a jiffy? No. They can be quite complicating.

Mammoth organizations that do undertake such work, aka EPC companies (Engineering, Procurement and Construction), have complex processes that can tackle this. Inquiry to quote takes a longer time depending upon how organized the quoting EPC enterprise is, in terms of their internal systems and processes.

Manufacturing & Consumer team in Hexaware is very proud of having helped a leading EPC company in building a solution in supporting such an effort.

Simplistically, this is how it works.

Let’s say the City Council of Turin is inviting bids for constructing a dam across the river Po. And many competing EPC companies are striving hard to win this bid. How do they estimate? In any EPC company, this is accomplished through a series of manoeuvres called “Excel football”. Somebody prepares a spreadsheet with the list of tasks (WBS – Work Breakdown Structure) required to build a dam. Then the spreadsheet is sent to a reviewer who on completion of his review sends it to an approver. Once the spreadsheet is thoroughly reviewed and approved, each of those tasks are estimated. It’s not that simple, but I am sure you get the drift. It can take many weeks, if not months.

Enter ‘organized’ historical data and artificial intelligence: The solution that this EPC Company developed, assisted by Hexaware’s Manufacturing & Consumer team, was to automate and systematize this process of estimation as far as possible. Quote for a building dam? Just add a search, and you will have an overview of critical information like; the places this EPC company has built dams. Say for example, in Tuticorin they have constructed a dam very similar to what’s required in Turin. Copy the tasks, sub-tasks etc. and then what do you do for costs? Labor in Tuticorin is Latin and the same in Turin is Greek.

Enter benchmarking: Let’s map those tasks from Tuticorin vis-à-vis Turin. Say for example, there is a work involving excavation of a particular area. In Tuticorin, it may cost ‘x’ $. This EPC company might not have constructed a dam in Turin to compare, but they have excavated another area for ‘y’ $, while constructing a power plant. Bingo! You have the estimate for this task. Repeat for all items in the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) and hurrah! You have the estimate.

Review. Approve. In a jiffy. The deal is all yours. No playing football with excel. No paper-based archaic quote preparation and approval process is required.

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