Smart Scheduler: Here’s your new personal assistant in EstimatorXpress
Tuesday, June 15th, 2021
The Smart Scheduler, for EstimatorXpress HBXL’s estimating software, takes your estimated (and rounded quantities) and helps you book in labour, and order plant and materials on a specified date, with relevant material orders assigned to subcontractors.
The Smart Scheduler Bonus Pack helps you quickly and easily assess what you want to order or book-in, when you need it.
If you’re currently holding too much information in your head – it’s time to unburden yourself and let your new assistant sort it for you! When can they start??
To be able to use this Bonus Pack you’ll need EstimatorXpress 2021.
As the CEO of Travis Perkins recently said in the Builders Merchant News: “The best thing you can do is plan forward,” he urged. “If you can give us good advance warning in terms of the products and materials you require, then we can plan and make sure we secure that material for you. If somebody rocks up and wants a pallet of cement today, that’s going to be quite challenging. But if I’ve got two or three weeks’ notice, I can definitely plan for that.”
And that’s why Smart Scheduler is so useful!
An extra tab in EstimatorXpress for resource substitution
Over and above the scheduling we’ve also included a very clever addition to EstimatorXpress only available to users of Smart Scheduler.
When you install the Smart Scheduler a new tab will be added to the ‘Resource Quantity Rounding’ dialog in your EstimatorXpress called Resource Substitution.
The tool looks through your job, analyses it, looks at the allowances and money-saving options and then performs two functions for you:
- It will tell you that the length, quantity or surface area of materials used as an allowance to calculate the estimate can’t literally be bought like that – and tots up a realistic ‘buyable’ length, bag weight or quantity. So for example although your apex roof joists were priced per metre for the purposes of the initial estimate, you can’t actually buy them in metre lengths – so it will advise you to change the materials order for x number of say 3.9 metre lengths.
- It will tell you that it would be more cost-effective to buy a larger or smaller pack size. So for instance it will advise you that buying the 2.5kg pack of 30mm Clout nails is more cost effective than buying multiple smaller packs.
Make sure the customer is paying for everything
We don’t suppose pinpointing ‘shop’ costs is something you would put yourself through ordinarily at the estimating stage. You’ve got so many quotes to get through – and some you’ll win and some you won’t. You’ll add some wastage, plus a few hundred quid more to be safe, and see what happens. But that’s not an exact science and you could still be out of pocket.
With the new tool you can now quickly and easily give a quotation that will accurately reflect the invoice you’ll get from the builders merchant – without investing loads of time. The software will do the heavy lifting in no time. You just need to make some decisions and tick or untick boxes. Job done.
The new 3-point estimating process explained
- Estimating stage – this is where EstimatorXpress works its magic identifying exactly how many individual items are needed to construct your building project – exactly how many bricks, how many metres of timber, how many tiles, nails and so on.
- Resource substitution – using your new tool in EstimatorXpress you move onto what you will literally buy. As explained above it gives you the reality – actual lengths of timber not metre lengths. Buyable quantities.
- Rounding up and down – this is an existing tool in EstimatorXpress. It’s the final stage once you’ve committed to any resource substitutions. Round up your skips to full days, days for labour set to, say, 8 hours for each phase and so on.
Then you’re ready to press the button and pass on the quotation to the customer with the peace of mind that you’ve covered your actual costs.
Once you’ve won the job – over to Smart Scheduler
Congratulations! Now it’s time to make things happen and assign the work. It’s crucial, with limited stock and delays currently across the UK, to be on top of material ordering right now. This tool makes the whole process so much easier. From the Smart Scheduler within EstimatorXpress you can:
- Review the quantity of every resource allocated to each build phase
- Swap a resource for another resource in the price book
- Add extra resources if required – say the customer asks for something extra
- Delete a resource – the customer changes their mind or you already have the material in stock
- Assign a resource to be ordered by a subcontractor (more on this below)
- Edit the date required and order date of a resource.
If a resource appears in multiple build phases, you can click to consider the quantity you want to order for the different phases of the job.
You can use the dropdown to choose between materials, plant and labour to view specific resources within a build phase or view a particular resource type such as aggregates, bricks, concrete and so on.
Sub-contractors and Smart Scheduler in EstimatorXpress
When you do your estimating currently chances are you quote for materials that in reality a subcontractor will be purchasing – I’m thinking decorator and plasterer for instance. So with the Smart Scheduler once you’ve won the work you can assign the resources to the subcontractor and remove the materials from your own materials list. The Subcontractor Report will show you which resources are assigned to which subcontract quote so you can keep track of who is ordering what.
Life made easier with valuable reports…
With all the decisions made, you can call off your reports:
- Materials by Build Phase
- Materials by Order Date
- Material Order Report
- Labour Order Report
- Plant Order Report
- Subcontractor Report
- Sundries Order Report
Send them to the relevant people via email or print off.
Use your own print outs as useful checklists – cross things off as you sort them, give yourself a sanity check and stop holding so much in your head! Better still – you can share the load with others on your team. It’s all there in black and white.
Watch our Technical Director, Jim Pizzey, give a tour of the new additions to EstimatorXpress 2021 along with the Smart Scheduler module:
Smart Scheduler requires EstimatorXpress to run. It’s an add-on that we call a ‘Bonus Pack’. If you don’t have EstimatorXpress, the award-winning estimating software yet, call 0117 916 7898 or visit the online shop.
If you have EstimatorXpress great news! But make sure your Support & Updates is in-date as the Bonus Back only works with the 2021 version. If your Support & Updates has expired, please call the team on 0117 916 7892 or go online to either renew or upgrade (if a long time has passed).
The Bonus Pack can be found in our online shop here. If you have EstimatorXpress Enterprise then the Smart Scheduler is included.