Improving accuracy of prime cost - kits

Many companies under-estimate the monetary value of small items required to complete projects. Items may vary from screws, cable clips, hangers to couplers etc.  One way to get closer to actual figures without spending a vast amount of time on the little things is to use kits.

Instead of having to remember and apply all the line items you need individually, you simply create a kit containing these items. Next time you want to add these items to an estimate, add the kit. Now share these kits centrally with all your colleagues and they save time too.

I don’t have time to build them

This is a short-sighted view. The cost of missing items off an estimate and the impact this will have on your prime cost far outweighs the cost to build kits. If you use a set of items frequently it will almost certainly be quicker in the long term if you group them together as a kit or assembly, not to mention more accurate.

I’m struggling to do this in Excel

It is hard to group items together within a spreadsheet but not impossible. You could, for example, create individual sheets within a spreadsheet, one per kit, and label the tabs for quick retrieval.

Really though, the problem here is that Excel isn’t a database it is spreadsheet software. Consider exploring some of the benefits that estimating software can give you – improved product management is just one.

Using kits wouldn’t work for us

Why? You have a current product list kept in Excel and you create estimates by adding items from your list to your database. You have a set of items that you commonly add to your estimates. Kits can be made from any product set, irrespective of the application.

There is too much variation from job to job

Variation needn’t stop you using kits. Using Excel or a good estimating software, you can create kits or assemblies that contain options. At the point of takeoff simply delete or select the components you don’t need and remove them from the estimate.

Still using spreadsheets to produce your estimates?  Take a look at our recent white paper 7 pitfalls of estimating with spreadsheets.