An article by Management Controls CEO Bob Harrell on the value of integrating contract spend management and project forecasting tools has been published by Chemical Week magazine.
The Problem with Spreadsheets in Project Cost Tracking appears in Chemical Week’s Chem Ideas blog, which features articles from Chemweek editors and established experts from around the industry. In his article, Harrell reviewed several key shortcomings of the spreadsheet rule:
1. “The actual hours, or timesheets, are subject to error and are often missing in action. Daily forecasts based on incorrect or incomplete information do not support optimal decision- making. Timesheets ultimately morph into vendors’ invoices. When the two don’t match, reconciliation can delay payment and damage relationships.”
2. “Cost information is late. Project contractors and vendors struggle reporting hours and costs promptly. Costs originally recorded in Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems are not visible for days or even weeks.”
3. “Spreadsheet methodologies are often known to too few. Because spreadsheet-based systems are highly customized by their creators, they can’t easily be used across multisite operations.”
Harrell wrote, “While spreadsheets deliver cost estimates that might be ‘good enough,’ global competition demands that problems must be identified before they get out of hand. That requires a good plan and real-time progress monitoring. Contract spend management (CSM) and project forecasting tools deliver that information, and their effectiveness increases dramatically with integration.”
He said, “Integrated solutions don’t just share information; they have a common user interface so they can be collaboratively used by the owner execution teams and contractors working on projects. So, it’s one source of truth, shared between interested parties.”
Harrell concluded, “Accurate information focuses attention where it’s needed. The highest level of accuracy is achieved by software systems that combine project estimating, real-time field data reporting, and forecasting. A closed-loop system, in which each component informs and strengthens the others, produces a level of visibility that once seemed unattainable.”