Single-Source Solutions: The Plan For Project X (March 2000)
Late in the year, Engineered Systems will publish this case study from the project manager’s point of view.
Project X involves a building located in a historic section of New England. Its owners are reinvesting in its mechanical and electrical infrastructure while improving space usage through programming changes.
Build Your ReputationHere are some important elements of a successful plan.
- Create a business strategy that will result in D-B opportunities. Put the plan in writing and continuously improve the document.
- Limit D-B “requests for proposals” and focus on a network of professionals for referrals.
- Build a reputation as a firm that solves building problems and completes major mechanical and electrical upgrades as well as system expansions.
- Focus on facility capital projects as the first line of opportunity. Deferred maintenance is a big business.
- Position the D-B firm to be recognized as a leader in completing capital projects efficiently, cost-effectively, on time, and in budget.
- Establish project schedules from the start and keep them current.
- Demonstrate the firm’s reputation as an “ahead–of-the-curve” company when presenting business credentials.
- Monitor and measure each project to document the company’s credentials. Facts speak louder than words.
- Build the firm’s backlog through repeat business while selectively looking for new customer opportunities. Your best customer is your existing customer.
- Seek out creative, problem-solving professionals for your team. Look for “big picture” skills.
- Seek out technically sound professionals to complement the creative individual(s).
- Train the team to “keep it simple” when solving problems.
- Get “buy-in” from all team members that they will stay on schedule and stay in budget.
- Partner with others who are perceived as building leaders, both from a design, construction, and O&M point-of-view.
- Don’t rule out the role of “D-B bridging professional” when the opportunity arises.
- Don’t stop at D-B. Include O&M seamless services.
The Plan in ActionHaving read the above, let’s go back and revisit the D-B business plan and how it worked for Project X.
- The business strategy in place, the D-B firm generated a Table of Contents that “puts in writing” the “deliverable” based on standard operating procedures. For the Building & Maintenance (B&M) committee at Project X, they clearly understood what they were purchasing.
- Project X came from a referral by one of the networking professionals. The D-B firm was chosen based on past experience and reputation as a company that solves building problems. Another piece of the business plan at work!
- Focus of project started with a Phase A facility assessment based on the D-B deferred maintenance strategy.
- Through the referral, the D-B firm was introduced as a leader in completing capital projects efficiently, cost-effectively, on time, and in budget.
- The “picture is worth a 1,000-words” strategy proved to be an effective tool for this D-B firm’s presentation to the B&M committee.
- Big-picture problem-solving professionals along with technical staff are in place to complement the creative facility assessment approach. In this case, the project manager provided the “big picture” solution to the B&M committee.
- Continuous emphasis on “keep it simple,” problem solving was achieved through the use of checklists and digital photographs.
- Continuous emphasis on project schedule and project budget showed the B&M committee the “windows-of-opportunity” that existed in the schedule.
- D-B and O&M will be seamless and include pertinent extended service contracts.
Companies positioning themselves to enter the D-B arena should consider such a format and continually revisit their business plan. Monitoring and measuring why you are selected to do D-B is just as important as getting the job.