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10 Reasons to upgrade to Sage SQL Estimating 17.11

No more corrupted or misplaced estimate files- all estimates are stored in the faster, more stable Microsoft SQL database. Virtual Licensing eliminates the need for physical USB devices and product activation codes. No more passwords with more robust, granular, Estimating Security Groups Shared report and screen layouts created by administrators can’t be accidentally overwritten, while still allowing each estimator to create personal layouts Alternates give estimators the ability to filter estimates, including or excluding Options with a mouse click, thus providing quick bid totals for different scenarios. Office365-style Ribbon Bar, & Shortcut Menu offer improved, modern, look and feel and simplified spreadsheet shortcut menu. Because it’s in SQL, Excel integration is native to Estimating. Estimators can quickly import or export Alternates or WBS values, enabling sharing common WBS libraries and pre-fill of WBS lists. Insert Column provides faster Screen Layout changes For Sage100 clients, the common MS-SQL platform enables improved performance &  integration between Sage 100 Contractor and Sage SQL Estimating. Enhanced eTakeoff & Bridge functionality can auto-populate estimates, drastically reducing data input time. Rest assured: there are no changes to the Estimate interface to various JobCost systems, so you’ll be able to export estimates to JobCost with no disruptions or [...]

Vista Tips – WF Template Reports

By Laurel Cripe   A company which is implementing Vista has many resources for learning: the Viewpoint Learning Center, aka “ClearView”, 4988 articles for Vista in the Knowledge Base at last count, the online Help System (F1 or Form Help from Vista), and of course, their Vista consultant. If the help that is needed is a basic list of steps for a process, sometimes the Knowledge Base articles or the videos in ClearView can be overkill, and searching for the right resource time-consuming. Built into Vista is a set of concise “how-to” documents that are not widely advertised. These documents are accessed via the WF Templates report. To access the reports, go to the Workflow Module, Reports folder, WF Templates. From the Begin Template field, the lookup (F4) will bring up a long list of standard templates, including documents both for implementation and for processing. For example, under PR, there are steps for Payroll Implementation and Processing, along with steps for Month/Quarter End and Year End. Judging by the revision dates on the templates, these reports are left-over from legacy help systems in Viewpoint, and may not include all the most current feature enhancements.  But sometimes less is more, and [...]

2017-01-14T08:23:21+00:00 By |Consulting, News and Events|

We’re presenting Construction Tech at AGC Alaska 11/9 in Anchorage

Please come join us at AGC Alaska in Anchorage November 9-12. We're presenting the session "Construction Tech: Today + Tomorrow" on Wednesday at 2:45. Our session takes a look at the current state of tech in our industry as well as what's coming in the next few years. We'll discuss Cloud, Mobile, Drones, 3-d printing and Robotics, to name a few. Registration for the conference is still open - if your company does business in our industry in Alaska, you should be there! While you're at the conference, don't forget to register with us to win dinner overlooking all of Anchorage from the Crow's Nest at the Hotel Captain Cook. We look forward to seeing you there.

2017-01-14T08:23:21+00:00 By |Consulting|

Digital Dryshack #90: Sage SQL Estimating

We've been working with Sage SQL Estimating over the past few months, and are becoming bigger fans of the recent updated version, 15.2. The upgrades over the past year and more enthusiastic client interest had prompted us to put together the first cut of feature comparisons between the 2 versions of Sage Estimating. The 3 biggest changes in most recent version:  Totals Page Templates  All-new Database Editor  JobCost Interface enabled for non-Sage Accounting These were mission-critical improvements that arguably kept legacy clients from upgrading. With these much-needed features available, the decision to upgrade becomes easier. Here's a link to our quick analysis (click the title of this blog post if you cannot see the chart):

Digital Dryshack #89: Multiple Critical Paths in P6

Recently, Cassell Consulting was contacted by a planning engineer who encountered difficulty during critical path analysis. Our resident P6 guru, Ken Wagner, weighed in to clarify best procedures for utilizing multiple critical paths in P6. The following is an edited transcript of their exchange: Q: "I have a question regarding how to know multiple critical paths.To know first 10 critical paths in Primavera P6. I used to filter (longest Path) to know the first, then delink activity and schedule again (F9) to know the second, and so for rest… I also used your method: https://www.cassellconsulting.com/consulting/multiple-float-paths-in-p6.html but it gives different critical paths from the first method. Which is right? A: "I sometimes modify my settings based on the analysis I need to do. Sometimes I change the critical path to total float less than or equal to, to a negative number to capture activities that are approaching near critical (note: that this is in hours so for 1 day that would be -24 etc.). I filter for only Task activities (filter out milestones, LOE, WBS Summary, etc.) In group and sort, group by float path and then do a multiple sort criteria for Start, Total float and then the final tie breaker is [...]

2016-04-15T16:54:59+00:00 By |Consulting, Digital Dry Shack Blog|

Digital Dryshack #88: Closing a Bid in Sage Sql in Canada

Our work as consultants requires travel to such interesting places as Arnpior, Ontario Canada, population 8,500. Arnprior is a picturesque, and architecturally lovely small town at the confluence of the Ottawa and Madawasca Rivers in Eastern Ontario. If you ever find yourself needing accommodation in Arnpirior, it would be a mistake not to check availability at Ellen's Kirkman House B&B. It's a 140-year old B&B, which was at one time in its colorful history the town’s Convent. Our project was with  M Sullivan & Son, a 102-year old construction company whom we've worked with for the past year, building a new and robust Sage (Timberline) Estimating system. Our primary mission this trip was to provide training and support for closing their first bid in Timberline, rather than in Excel as they have for many years.   The first step is Database setup. In my opinion, effectively closing a bid in Timberline utilizes two custom WBS : Bid Status with 3 values: 1-Open 2-Pending 3-Closed Bid Package: multiple, as detailed as you expect your Subcontractor and Supplier quotes to be   CSI-indexed Examples: 03.20.00 Concrete reinforcing 03.30.00 Concrete supply 03-35.00 Concrete place & finish   3 database setup steps: We setup [...]

2017-01-14T08:23:27+00:00 By |Consulting|

Digital Dryshack #87: 10 Reasons D.O.D. Schedules get Rejected

Working with a G.C. firm providing scheduling training in Honolulu last week reminded me of the struggles most midsize contractors face when submitting an Initial Project Schedule (IPS) to NAVFAC or the Army Corps of Engineers. Most contractors produce a simple bar chart in MS Project for their typical jobs and aren’t familiar with P6. Rarely are the rigorous and demanding scheduling complexities included in D.O.D. project manuals required by private industry or commercial work. So when awarded a NAVFAC or USACE project, Contractors aren’t getting paid for anything but the bond because their IPS is rejected multiple times for a myriad of reasons. For this reason, I’ve listed the 10 most common reasons the Government rejects Initial Project Schedule submissions: Incomplete Logical Network is the #1 reason most schedules are re­jected. These 2 rules are absolutely non-negotiable: Every Activity but the first (Contract Award) must have a Predecessor Every Activity but the last (CCD) must have a Successor Schedule Log report not reviewed for compliance with Project Spec is the #2 reason for rejected schedules. This invaluable report lists all Constraints, Critical Path Activities, mandatory program settings, open-ended and out-of-sequence Activities, and much more. If you don’t review this report [...]

Digital Dryshack #86 – 4 Estimating Tips from Tennessee

I was in Tennessee last week, and stopped by one of Tennessee's largest builders to provide some training and suggestions to increase their estimating productivity. One of their senior estimators was new to the company's Sage Timberline Estimating system, and was struggling to find the best way to make adjustments to their highly-detailed bids. The company builds more than 1,000 semi-custom homes per year, and estimators need to crank out close to 30 estimates per month. So there's no time for lost productivity. Here's a quick summary of our takeaways from the training that will help improve estimating efficiency: Tip #1: Use and Trust the Database Assemblies: Companies who own top-tier estimating systems typically have invested hundreds of manhours in building detailed estimating assemblies to quantify and collect related construction components. Using well-designed assemblies, especially along with one of the digital takeoff  tools will cut quantity takeoff time and item selection in half or better. Tip #2: Make Adjustments in Assembly Takeoff. Add related components or adjust assembly quantities from within Assembly Takeoff. This will keep any necessary changes grouped with the other assembly components AND will provide an easy to follow audit trail later for final checks. Maintain the Database. If you find any errors [...]

2017-01-14T08:23:27+00:00 By |Consulting|

DD# 84: 3 Reasons to Adopt Masterformat 2010

Interest in our 2010 Masterformat Sample Cost Code list has been strong recently, reminding us that many contractors are moving to the new platform for their estimating and job cost tracking systems. We think it's a good idea and are surprised so many are taking the head-in-the-sand approach. In our opinion, our construction industry has already achieved critical mass with the new format: The US Government, including the Army Corps of Engineers, NAVFAC, and the Air Force are specifying 100% of their projects in the new format. Most state and county jobs in our region, (Pacific Northwest, Hawaii, and Alaska) are also using 48-division format. MF 1995 (16-divisions) is bursting at the seams, and there's no room to put the emerging technologies in its overstuffed divisions. So why the resistance? Three reasons we hear from our change-resistant clients: "It's just like the metric system, a flash-in-the-pan that will never happen". (We disagree) "The new system just doesn't make sense". (We agree that it's unfortunate that Earthwork, old Division 2, moved to Div 31, 31, 32, & 34. But it was necessary to maintain the familiarity of Div 3-14, as well as accommodate all the work that just won't fit into a single division. Can you imagine the pushback we'd be hearing [...]

DD# 74: Notes from the Floor, World of Concrete 2015

A first-rate trade show such as World of Concrete in Las Vegas is one of the better investments we think a company can make. It's an excellent opportunity to plug in to the latest and greatest tools, equipment, and technology that shape our industry. This year marks the 4th year of continued growth in attendance, coinciding with the continuing economic recovery in construction. I spent most of my time in the technology section, (no surprise), in the Central Hall of the Convention Center. I was primarily interested in what our partners were doing, as well in checking out the show as a whole. It's a daunting task to take in an exhibition of this size. Over a thousand vendors are displaying their best products, a dizzying array of attractions simultaneously competing for your attention. I attended only 2 days of the 4 day show this year, a shorter commando campaign compared to the full meal deal of past years. Back then I stayed the entire duration, affording the opportunity to take advantage of some of the excellent educational seminars on estimating, business management, and team-building, to name a few. Some quick highlights from the floor: ProEst's CEO Jeff Gerardi tells [...]