5 ways to supercharge your tenders with real time site data

August 15, 2022
5 ways to supercharge your tenders with real time site data

Einstein suggested the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results.  In construction and engineering tendering it could be said that we sometimes fall into this trap.  

Estimating and pricing complex projects is time consuming, objectively difficult and often underpinned by subjective assumptions and optimism bias.

In this blog we explore how capturing and analysing real time site data from historic and current projects could add the special ingredient to create winning tenders along with positive commercial outcomes for suppliers and clients alike.

Capture data

Sounds simple but it’s the first step in harnessing and leveraging value from site data.  Many suppliers and clients will consider that they are already capturing this data, however, is it in a structured, consistent format aligned to commercial reporting metrics.  Where paper records or digitised forms are used, along with excel spreadsheets, you may be left with a considerable task to unpick the data to create actionable insights.  In this situation reverting to tried and tested estimating methods may be more cost effective in the short term but miss out on the hidden value of site data.

For example, if every joint venture tendering works on HS2 had access to structured commercial site data from the entire HS1 project (either from their own work or open source from the client) you would expect those tenders to be better informed, more economical and provide better outcomes for both supplier and client.

Create standard reporting metrics

For every project there are critical path activities reliant on productivity of a component or series of events.  In the rail industry they are easier to spot, such as cabling, troughing, control system commissioning.  Where data is being captured it’s critical to identify and record this consistently within a project and across programmes to benefit from longitudinal trends.  This is where consistency and simplicity is key.  Too often each project is treated uniquely and engineering assurance prioritises records being kept, ignoring those metrics critical to commercial assurance.

Analyze delay

In modern, cost based construction contracts dominated by target cost payment options it's essential that risk is both understood and accounted for.  How risk is priced into tenders and captured in tender programmes is key to providing confidence that suppliers understand the inherent risks and have mitigation plans to address these events when they occur.

Another common aphorism is that the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.  This is also true in construction where risks associated with ground conditions, weather, seasonal impacts on supply chains, resourcing and productivity are best understood through the lens of those projects completed in the past.  To truly understand, price and mitigate these risks detailed data is hugely valuable.

Confidence in a tender programme incorporating time risk allowance based on objective empirical historic data drives value into discussions on how risk will be managed in long term projects.  This might be using regression analysis tools such as nPlan or extracting risk and compensation event data from contract administration tools such as CEMAR however nothing will beat real commercial site data from actual works.

Focus on best practice

It’s often said when managing large teams that you should focus on the top 20% of performers and nurture them to create role models, bringing along the lower performing members of the team.  This is relevant for understanding and capturing best practice on site.  Analysing site data allows us to identify where productivity is maximised, interrogate the reasons and push those innovations and best practices into our processes and plans for future projects.

Instead of focusing on alleviating the lowest performing parts of our delivery processes, using the best performing to lead the way and normalising their behaviors and systems into business as usual will create huge benefits and step change outcomes between projects.

Consider radical transparency

During tender processes for large infrastructure projects there is almost always a period of stress testing tender programmes, pricing and negotiating around where risk is best held in the contractual relationship.  For those holding and utilising real commercial site data it may be useful at this point to consider radical transparency to support elements of the tender relying on this real data.  This helps support arguments such as time risk allowances not just relying on a straight percentage being applied across all activities or priced activities based on productivity metrics relevant to the time of year or geographic location.

Other data may be helpful in understanding how previous performance may indicate future outcomes such as actual site data drawn from scanning tools such as Sensat. A combination of real existing site data and historical performance data should create assurance around planned production and risk management.

In summary the first step to better outcomes is capturing data.  If that can be consistently structured, commercially relevant and easily accessible then further benefits are possible.

Suppliers and asset owners using Raildiary have real time and long term access to structured commercial intelligence.  Whether for collating or assessing tenders, or to leverage actionable insights for long term learning, this data is invaluable and constantly building a foundation for future projects and teams to benefit from.

Overall, real-time project data is a valuable tool for rail organizations looking to supercharge their project tenders. By providing access accurate and up-to-date information, it can help to improve the quality of tenders, reduce risks, and increase the chances of success.

Nick Woodrow

Operations Director

A positive and outcome focused chartered civil engineer with over 20 years spent in a broad range of businesses successfully delivering complex projects and leading teams at C-leve

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