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Monday, June 16, 2008

Bid Communications

By David Swider
Director of Business Development, Sub-Hub

Have you noticed how crowded the Invitation to Bid and Project Communication space has become in the last few months?

Increasingly, General Contractors (GC’s) are looking for ways to be more efficient in sending Project Communications to their Owners, Architects, Subcontractors and Suppliers while still linking to their digital documents. The competition is trying to secure the project communication business and in many cases this is happening at great cost to the reprographer’s digital and print revenue.

How are these companies “taking” our business? Every day our competition is calling on our GC’s, offering to provide them with an easy-to-use tool for project communications. They tell our GC that all they need to do is upload the digital plans/specs. or other documents via their software and it will ensure that their subs and suppliers have everything they need to know about their project and submit their bids.

What is compelling the GC to use these services? They will tell the GC that since your local reprographer needs a digital file to fulfill print orders, and you give that reprographer the “Paper Revenue,” your reprographer should give you and all of your subs a copy of that digital file FREE. To add insult to injury, they will also tell the GC that in addition to providing the free digital files, if your reprographer is charging you more than $.05 a square foot they are not looking out for your best interests.

Sound familiar? If it doesn’t, we either haven’t spoken to enough of our GC’s or we better start asking our GC’s if they are interested in this service.

What can we do to keep our hands on this revenue and our GC’s, while still giving them a valuable service that increases efficiency in their business? At the end of the day, these competitive communication companies require one thing….the Digital File. Without the digital file these competitors do not stand a chance. Generally speaking, each of us already has access to that file currently in the workflow at all our shops.

Many of us are familiar with the Bidcaster program, which allows for our customers, or us as their reprographic services providers, to send ITB’s out to their subs based on Project Documents we currently manage for them in PlanWell. Many reprographers are now utilizing Bidcaster’s ITB functionality, along with the document management prowess of PlanWell, to make them increasingly more revenue as more and more of their customers are requiring these types of digital solutions performed by their reprographer.

Now, reprographers have another alternative called Sub-Hub. Sub-Hub is a digital plan room (as opposed to a Document Management system) combined with an easy to use bid communication tool. As the reprographer you can now add revenue to your shops by creating, converting and posting the digital files, and then providing the backbone (via Sub-Hub) for a private digital plan room for your GC, and their subs. You can also fulfill any print orders that the GC has sent out to their subs with the click of a button. Your GC will appreciate having the control of the documents and the communication process all under one roof.

Regardless if your GC is looking for an alternative to his FTP site and a more efficient way to contact subs on jobs, or if his scope of work demands complete Project Document Management services and a comprehensive ITB Solution, we have a tool that will keep you in the game, increase efficiency for your GC customers, and even make money for you!

If you have not yet investigated Sub-Hub and the many benefits it offers to both you AND your GC’s in today’s rapidly changing reprographics environment, then type: and browse meeting to see how you may succeed with this offering. Meetings are held every Tues. Thurs. at 8:30am – 10:00am PST.

Editor’s Note: For direct questions please contact David Swider at or 925-658-9025. The Bid Communications feature will become a regular feature of Point of View.

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