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Under the Hood – 3rd in a Series

20 Mar

In our first article about Online Planrooms and Digital Document Management, we looked at a broad overview of the services available to help you in organizing and managing your documents.  In our second article, we started to delve into the specific questions as they relate to Online Planrooms and Digital Document Management.  Now we will continue to explore more of the questions that must be asked before choosing a plan management solution.

How can I win more bids and/or track my project?

Let’s break this down into two separate questions: “How can I win more bids?” and “How can I track my project?”  The first part is a little tricky to explain.  An Online Planroom will allow you to easily give more visibility to your project and to reach companies you may not have had access to before.  This is done with an ad in a trade publication or local paper that directs potential bidders to a web portal where your project is housed.  Your customers will be able to review the files and place an order for a hard copy set or a digital download of the files, thus allowing them to more quickly return a bid to you.  More market penetration + faster bid response = (potentially) more bids won.  The actions that are made upon the web portal are tracked, which leads into question 2, “How can I track my project?”

Projects are tracked through the Online Planroom, each project retaining a record of who has looked at the specific project to easily create a Planholder list.  If a plan is viewed, downloaded, or a hard copy ordered, this information is recorded as well.

Are my project documents secure and available 24/7 online?

The short answer to both of these questions is yes.  The files hosted on the Online Planroom can be locked down for viewing purposes only.  If locked down, files cannot be printed or modified without unsecuring them using the proper password.  If a set of digital files is ordered, those specific files are unlocked to allow printing.

As to the availability of content on the Planroom, the files on the Planroom are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Once the files are loaded to the Planroom, they are available for viewing and ordering based on your requirements.  Files are able to be viewed and ordered from any internet capable device – desktops, laptops, tablets, even smartphones.  There is no special software required.

Do I have the right addenda or revision and how can I track this?

Different Online Planroom offerings track this information in different ways.  Some applications file each modification of the file into a separate folder, meaning the Bid Set is in one folder, Addendum #1 is in another folder, Addendum #2 in another folder, etc.  Some Planrooms have a folder that contains the most current versions of the files, thus creating a “current set” of the latest files.  Some Planrooms sort the various document issues into separate tabs, and some Planrooms combine several of these methods giving a greater flexibility to how your plans are to be displayed.

Ensuring you can track who has which documents is an important criteria when selecting the best Planroom solution. The integration of communication tools to notify bidders is another key element which can you save you time and money while allowing the bidders to view changes quickly online.

We hope that this series has helped you to decide whether an Online Planroom offering is right for you.

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Under the Hood – 2nd in a Series

10 Jan

In our first article about Online Planrooms and Digital Document Management, we looked at a broad overview of the services available to help you in organizing and managing your documents.  In this article, we will start to delve into the specific questions as they relate to Online Planrooms and Digital Document Management.

Where do I start with selecting an Online Planroom

This is an excellent question.  Let’s start with what you need the product to do.

  • Organize your documents in a clear, easy to maneuver web-based application
  • Track the changes made to your documents
  • Track the interested parties who have copies of your documents
  • Allow for the accessing of digital copies of your documents for markups and takeoffs
  • Allow for the notification of current interested parties of document changes in a quick, efficient manner
  • Save time and money
  • And all of the above done in ‘real-time’

If you answered yes to any (or all) of the above or were nodding you head while reading, then Digital Document Management can help.  There are several options available, such as a basic Online Planroom, which will monitor who has the documents and allows your customers to view the documents online; to an in depth Document Management System, complete with the ability to allow documents to be viewed, ordered and downloaded, complete online notification tools and an in-depth pre-qualification and bid-management process.

How do I get the right information to the right people quickly?

When documents are hosted on a Digital Document Management system, the information is secure and available to your customers at all times, at any hour of the day, from any internet capable device (including smartphones!).  Through a Digital Document Management system, alerts can be sent to your customers regarding changes made to a project, (or a single file) almost immediately from the time that the updated file is released.  This notification is done through email or fax and also tracks when the notification was sent to the customer and when the customer looked at the notification.

How do I handle the bidding phase of my project

If your current process is to have a reprographer run several sets of hard copy plans, have those plans sent out and then repeat the process for each and every Addendum, Change Order or Construction Bulletin, your valuable time and money is being wasted.

Traditionally, that is how bidding process has always been done.  Run many sets, send them out and repeat the process for any changes.  With a Digital Document Management system, bid sets are uploaded one time.  Your customers can view and order hard copy or download only the pages they need (or only order full bid sets if that is your preference).  You no longer need to pay for 30, 50, 100 sets to be run.  Pay for only the sets to be run that are needed.

While a Digital Document Management system may not solve all of your Bid Process headaches, it can certainly help to organize your documents and streamline your process to free up your time to focus on more important things.  Things like your customers.

Jumping in Head First

16 Aug

The new world order includes incorporating social media into your marketing plan and strategy.  BPI is no different and along with adapting our organization to meet the needs of technologically driven customers and tweaking our logo, the move towards a social media strategy is also well under way.

Over the next couple of months you are going to read and view a wide variety of subjects on this site as well as our Facebook and Twitter account.  This is all being done to help educate you as our valued client on the products and services that BPI has to offer.

Topics will include everything from technical notes on how to operate your KIP to the best use of a Document Fulfillment System (DFS) for document management and how to potentially use different Color applications to enhance your presentations and marketing efforts at trade shows and or fund raisers.

As always, we appreciate your business, but especially your feedback and comments so we can better serve you and your community.

Enjoy the balance of this Great Summer.

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