HCSS continued its effort to create expert users of HeavyBid with a Chief Estimator Master Class in Sugar Land in May.
Four chief estimators from three companies attended the five-day training at the HCSS campus with contract estimating trainer and HeavyBid expert Ron Egge.
Rob Snyder, Chief Estimator for Graniterock in California, said the class was a top-to-bottom review of HeavyBid designed specifically for leaders of estimating departments.
“We had a lot of discussion about how to be an effective chief estimator, how to manage an estimating department comprising multiple different estimators, and how to manage multiple users in your HeavyBid system,” Snyder said. “We did a little bit of talking about estimating administration, document control, and even takeoffs. It was kind of a wide-ranging class as far as just talking about how to manage a heavy civil construction estimating team.”
The Chief Estimator Master Class is designed to be a very small group of estimators from non-competing regions and work types, to encourage open communication and collaboration.
While some parts of their work, like pricing requirements, were different between those who work in different types of heavy civil construction, Snyder said it was an opportunity to learn from different perspectives.
“We were down in the weeds as far as how do you do things, how do I do things, what can I learn from how these other contractors are doing it, and what can I bring back to my team with those improved processes?” he said. “The class wasn’t a software review like at UGM. It was about your estimating processes.”
Snyder said it was important to have small class sizes where attendees weren’t direct competitors and work was varied. Putting too many of the same types of contractors in the room, he said, wouldn’t work.
“No one is going to talk that way,” Snyder said. “We were very open and honest about how we do things and how we estimate and build things because Graniterock is never going to go to Illinois and compete against Berger Estimating or go to Ohio. We’re never really going to cross paths. That was important to make the information sharing really open and honest.”
Snyder said one key thing he learned was how to use more import/export functionality from Excel to make data entry easier and quicker. While some people on his team are great at it, he said he was committed to having the group do it as a process to help the entire estimating department build estimates faster. He also learned how to make pivot reports more specific to his clients’ needs.
“And we talked about mistakes that we made that we’ve learned from,” Snyder said. “Sometimes that informs how we do things, right or wrong – our mistakes and how we make sure we don’t do that again.”
The next Chief Estimator Master Class is scheduled for Nov. 5-8.
Visit Master Class to learn more or sign up for the next class.