Error-check Wizard reduces mistakes in bid processes
B2W Software, a provider of heavy civil construction management software, offers an enhanced Error-check Wizard feature within its flagship B2W Estimate solution for estimating and bidding. The unique and powerful tool checks automatically for red flags and guides users through a step-by-step proofreading process to optimize the speed and accuracy of final bids.
"For heavy construction estimators juggling multiple bids on a tight deadline, every second counts and - if they aren't careful - so can every error," explains Anthony Salvatore, a sales engineer at B2W.
Glen Smith agrees. The general manager at EPC Services runs the B2W Error-check Wizard on the three to five estimates his company completes weekly for solar, wind and utility projects. "It tells you if you have items with zero values or other potential problems and it allows you to go directly to where you need to fix a potential issue in the estimate," Smith explains.
With the B2W Error-check Wizard, estimators can review their work with ease and efficiency that is similar to spell-checking a text document. They can customize the scan to skim their proposal for any abnormalities that might indicate an error - signs like a zero or negative cost, undistributed values, RFQ groups with no assigned subcontractor, or dozens of other variables.
Other estimating software solutions offer error-check features, but none are integrated directly into the system itself, according to Salvatore. "Other systems will take estimators through a complicated series of steps to find red flags," he says. "We bring that capability to them with a single mouse click."
B2W Estimate provides centralized cost data and structures along with specialized functionality for pulling that data into a bid, allowing estimators to work more quickly, accurately and collaboratively than they can with spreadsheets.
"When an estimate contains hundreds of different bid items or quotes, and contractors are racing against the clock to meet a deadline, mistakes are always a possibility," Salvatore adds. "Those mistakes can be costly. Even a misplaced zero could skew the bottom line up to thousands or potentially tens of thousands of dollars above or below the intended estimated cost."
Smith says the Error-check Wizard is just one of the speed and accuracy advantages that a specialized software solution like B2W Estimate provides. "I know people who have used pencils and paper and spreadsheets and I saw them go bankrupt because of missed calculations, simple little stuff," he says. "You drop $10,000 here, $50,000 there. You forget to put in a couple tasks or line items that drop $75,000 or $100,000 out of a million dollar bid. You can't afford that, because that's life or death to you."
"B2W Estimate is drastically faster," Smith adds. "It also allows you to have the confidence over a spreadsheet or something else, where you're not chasing calculations."
"Think about it this way," Salvatore says. "If the wizard catches even one big mistake - say, a missing production rate in a crew - it could save enough money to even cover the cost of the software and then some."
To get the most out of the Error-check Wizard, B2W Software recommends users run the tool at least twice during the estimating process, once after completing costing, and again after the pricing stage.
All editions of B2W Estimate offer the Estimate Error-check Wizard, so whether contractors use Basic, Professional or Enterprise editions to develop their estimates, they always have an extra set of eyes to check bids before submitting them.
B2W Software actively updates the Error-check Wizard, incorporating feedback and real-world requirements posted by users to its ideas portal. As a result, new functionality is added routinely, and the list of "red flags" continues to grow.
"We benefit from being able to incorporate more than 20 years of best-practice feedback and other ideas from our users directly into the B2W Estimate experience," Salvatore says. "That way, we can ensure the Error-check Wizard finds potential mistakes that are important to our users in the field."