Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to profitably responding to U.S. Government requests for bids. Inconsistent bids set your organization up for failure vis-à-vis government contracts, as government bid reviewers and auditors want easy-to-understand bids that are consistent across multiple versions of a project as well as between projects. That’s difficult to achieve without PROPRICER, because each bid requires a complex and varied set of cost inputs – some based on data, many based on formulas and relationships between inputs.
If you’ve attempted to assemble just one estimate (much less multiple estimates) that incorporates data and formulas from 10, 50, or 100 spreadsheets with different formatting, you know the headache of working with non-standard data and inconsistent outputs. A lack of estimating and pricing consistency is a nightmare that can set a single bid or change order back by weeks.
The Causes Behind Bid Inconsistency
Contractors are plagued by inconsistencies in their bids, mostly due to the following five areas:
- Formula variation
- Raw data
- Data relationships
- Time’s impact on data
Different estimators use different formulas or, worse, some hard code results in spreadsheets. PROPRICER overcomes those issues by allowing you to establish and protect your pricing algorithms; once you do, you can restrict access rights to that area of the tool, ensuring your formulas remain accurate.
Incorrect Raw Data
While your formulas and algorithms may be correct, their results will only be as good as the data you input to them. PROPRICER manages and enables reuse of your company’s library of cost data in different phases of a proposal as well as from one proposal to the next, keeping your data consistent across projects and phases. The tool also performs checks on your data as you enter pricing information; inconsistencies and seemingly outlier data get flagged, and you can’t complete the estimate until you respond to those flags. At the same time, if someone isn’t following the normal process flow for data input, they’ll be prompted to follow the standard process flow, further standardizing the inputs.
Arbitrary Data Relationships
Many estimators find it challenging to revise estimates upward across the board. As a result, inputs such as ‘number of personnel’ and ‘number of machine hours’ may get revised upward – but without upward revisions to the direct and indirect costs associated with them, which leaves the company with vastly underestimated true costs.
PROPRICER eliminates data relationship miscues by providing a unified database that captures all cost, pricing, and resource data. Moreover, it maintains all relational rate information on a proposal-specific basis, including direct, indirect, and custom rates.
PROPRICER’s data consistency allows for flexibility in how a contractor can share information; you can create funding profiles by calendar year or fiscal year, apply cost-estimating relationships within the tool, and burden various items differently.
Time’s Impact on Data
Government bids are constantly pushed back, significantly affecting an estimate’s individual and overall costs. Indeed, a bid for a project originally slated for January 2018 will be far lower than when the project is delayed to 2020.
PROPRICER makes project timing a non-issue (at least, from an estimating and pricing standpoint). The tool allows for automated time-phasing of data, making the data fully consistent over time and preventing errors. It also removes the burden of recalculating line-by-line estimates and requiring additional rounds of review to make sure your estimators got it right.
Auditors will also appreciate the extra level of transparency delivered by PROPRICER’s time-phasing of data – it reveals a history of price changes based on rate updates and time-phasing of proposal data, enabling auditors to easily double-check data accuracy.
Non-Standard, Sloppy Reporting
Have you ever tried presenting a clean and professional report from Excel? Bids based on multiple spreadsheets of data and formulas result in inconsistently and improperly formatted reports that cast doubt on the data you’re presenting.
PROPRICER provides approximately 80 standard out-of-the-box reports, all of which are FAR- and DFAR-compliant. To further underscore your data consistency and professionalism, PROPRICER’s Summary Cost Report can be run by calendar year, government fiscal year, performance period, CLIN, and more. When compared to PROPRICER breakdowns by task and work package, you have ample evidence demonstrating data consistency.
Consistency Puts the Government at Ease with Your Company
When you use PROPRICER for your project estimating and pricing, government auditors come to understand how your organization thinks through estimates and pricing. Because they know what to expect each time they receive your bid, you face far less resistance and rework throughout the process.