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Monday, March 3, 2008

The Art of Bid Communications

Bid Day - GC Presentation Objective:
Our objective was to bring in a local project manager from a General Contractor and get an idea of what the bid day looks like from a General Contractor’s perspective and what a reprographer can do to earn or lose his business. What we received were discussions of several key concepts:

Loyalty - Does it Exist?
PEiR Learning: If saving a GC a lot of money still does not generate loyalty what will? While nothing may guarantee loyalty here are some things that may help:
• Stay in touch with your General Contractors on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. No news is not always good news.
• Communicate often that you value the GC’s business while allowing the GC to identify how much value they receive from your service.
• Become that trusted advisor by knowing their business and interacting with their clients.

Fees and Services – It should be free!
PEiR Learning: Time and again our General Contractors still only see us as providers of paper. The next time your General Contractor says it should be free, ask them to build another 10,000 square feet onto your shop for free. While this may not be a good idea, it underscores a reality that we should bring into the discussions of the following concepts:
• We provide more value than paper prints.
• We must help them understand this critical point as the digital age is upon us.
• The amount of money spent on paper according to our GC may be less than 1% of job costs yet we are the most critical aspect of the bid process. There is value in what we offer.

Efficiency – “One Stop Shop”
PEiR Learning: Without a doubt Sub-Hub, Bidcaster and Planwell provide this very functionality for General Contractors. If we are not offering this to all of our A/E/C prospects and clients someone else will and then we will be forced to compete on cost per square foot on paper. This will reduce our efforts to being little more than a Vendor as opposed to leveraging the relationship and resources you have invested and worked so hard to achieve.
• Ask your General Contractors about their current bid process and where the feel it needs improvement.
• Identify (in actual dollars) the impact inefficiency has on their process. At that point you have already built your case for additional service fees such as document management fees and digital download fees.
• Talk to the solutions Bidcaster/Planwell offers to the entire process from planning to project closeout. You will always identify areas that will highlight how valuable you are to the process.

Confusion – “We know what we need”
PEiR Learning: PEiR members helped our visitor identify the fact that the process he feels is one stop shop actually isn’t, and from a higher level is less efficient process than he already has with a BidCaster/Planwell offering. How we can help with confusion:

• Identify if the process they are using leads them to the goal they are trying to achieve.
• Is the GC solving a problem and creating another?
• As the process changes you will need to help the GC identify potential changes to the process.

Conclusion – Be Prepared

Obviously, we can never know in a live scenario where our General Contractors will lead us. The best thing we can do is be prepared with as much information as possible and keep trying to identify what the General Contractor really needs. THIS IS WHAT MAKES BEING A PEiR MEMBER SO IMPORTANT! Our group has the best minds in the business and sharing the best practices and hearing what is good and not so good in our processes and systems will continue to drive our success. We look forward to your participation in our next meeting and upcoming road shows.

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