PROBLEM OR OPPORTUNITY?
3 million of resources
frequent trader often changes prices every hour, so sometimes "printed" catalogs are is almost impossible, and the greater the variety of presented resources, the more difficult it comes to bring it to customer.
Increasing competition and huge variety of construction materials, machinery and construction services, rises the renewed focus on the overall construction market of resources and new ways to work effectively in it. Currently, virtually all of the construction market participants (such as planners, as manufacturers and as individuals, thinking, for example, to modernize the kitchen, and also the largest construction companies) are tortured with the same problems:
• It is impossible to see all offers of the manufacturers and suppliers
Lithuanian market is currently over 4,000 companies producing and selling construction products, regional distribution is no longer essential. Every day brings new products, materials, technologies.
• Catalogues becomes obsolete too quickly;
• Information is rarely in the most convenient form;
overall design, pictures, various units, uninformative names, confusing pricing (especially in machinery lease) and other problems require time-consuming work with such catalogs, and in any way, manual entering this information into the estimates.
• Not all manufacturers or suppliers are able to provide detailed information about themselves, their products or services.
Depending to organisationasl type, sometimes no one in the company have a full catalog of its products.
Manufacturers and traders have their own, different challenges:
• How to introduce the information in max user-friendly form?
Of course, a convenient form - a very subjective concept, it may depend on the user's goals, skills, but perhaps there is any general requirements?
• How to attract the consumer?
How to make sure that all who may need a certain product, will find it, along with it‘s producers or sellers?
• How to communicate with potential buyers?
Phone? Fax? E-mail? When you send a file?
Only a small part of the suppliers have prepared some form of electronic catalogs or online shops. However, understandably, it makes easier to work only with those particular suppliers. What about others?
One Informational Center
The experience of "Building economic calculations", ltd, professionals, working in the construction sector for decades, let not just structurize these problems, but also to find solutions, eliminating most of the difficulties mentioned. After years of work, „Building economic calculations" offers a solution - an information system: Statybos resursų informacinis centras (SRiC) (eng. Informational Center of construction resources), in which the widest range of materials, machinery and services, related to the construction industry, is presented. The system gives oportunity of classification of materials and services, multiple search options, various means of analysis.
SRiC is combined of user interaction module (a separate program, a supplement to estimates SES2004 program, a special web page) and the database: general classificatory directory and individual folders of suppliers. These catalogs are kept up to date. Moreover, they are updated on a time and automatically: the system observes by itself - is there any newer database in server and if yes, downloads updates. In this way, everything is up to supplier – when to give the newest information, how often it should be updated and how quickly changes should reach the user.
It is equally important, that all information is in a single form: this means not only that the user can always find the code, name, units of measure, price, and any additional information given by the supplier (technical parameters, designs, information on discounts, promotions and etc..), but also all these codes, names and units are arranged by a unified approach (where possible).
System‘s tools are clear and simple:
• Resource and service selection and retrieval as from overall classification, ar from separate directory of suppliers;
• Transfer to the selected resource sheets in Microsoft Excel format, SES2004 estimates and others;
• Sending automated queries to suppliers, automatic processing of commercial offers;
• Options for alternative search, optimization.
Selection of construction resources and services can be carried out within the classificator, through a separate business directory or using a text title search.
If a user searches for information within the general classificator (classification catalog), then, after selecting a specific chapter or section, the system will review all the available databases and select the details of any constructional resources and services, which fall into this sub-section (specific manufacturers or suppliers catalogs links to classification, i.e. each resource has and a classification codes). In this way, the user will receive information not only what offered in general, for example, silicate bricks, but also what company sells them and compare prices. Even more - not just "naked" prices, but also any additional information - transport, security and so on.
SRiC‘ general classificator framework – Eurostat‘s Classification of Products by Activity, active in EU (CPA; look Http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/ramon/relations/index.cfm?TargetUrl=LST_REL&StrLanguageCode=LT).
This classification covers all industries and produced products, materials, mineral resources, as well as services, and is used in the preparation of the European Union public procurement (purchase of materials or services required in the CPA code), customs information systems, and elsewhere
We plan to offer consumers and classification based on the Russian Federation ОКП (Russian Общероссийский Классификатор Продукции see. Eg. Http://nalog.consultant.ru/doc45625.html), which although not used in the European Union and Lithuania, is much better and clearly classify the construction resources.
Of course, as in any information system, you can search by code (supplier, manufacturer, classification), and the name. The latter can be carried out by one or more keywords ranked by the degree of conformity. Screening of selected resources available under all the criteria - the code name, price, supplier, region, etc., as well as combined.
Any material can be described as an unlimited amount of technical information and even a clip art, links to resources on the Internet.
Seleted resources are transfered to user‘s sheet, which can be freely edited, adapted, published, and also saved in Microsoft Excel, PDF, and other formats. Special plugin allows SES2004 transfer the resources directly in to the estimates.
The search of alternatives - higher-level tool, which allows to use the potential of available databases more efectively. With the formation of construction resources or services, user can instruct the system to create automatically an alternative variant, using one or more business directory. For example, in the statement, which uses one supliers material, you can see how such materials cost at different supplier. Alternatively, each statement of material finds for cheapest option of all suppliers. Sure, one must realise, that the system works with such prices, as presented by suppliers, such as retail. In each case the supplier can offer other prices.
One of the problems to find an alternative - the title match. Although alternative searches are based on the strength of classification code, but requires further selection search by name, and the different suppliers or manufacturers of goods or pproduction can by named differently, even if it is completely identical to the substance. Of course, we will endeavor to promote and standardize the names of the suppliers at once to use ordered names, but this is not always possible. In any case, the user allways have to adjust the results manually, select proper alternative.
As already mentioned, the price of resources, provided in a system, may differ from those, that supplier can offer in any particular case. Therefore, the tool of requests is introduced: the form in which the consumer enters resources or services he needs, can be sent directly to the manufacturer or supplier, in order to obtain a specific price quote, clearer information on the point of delivery or, perhaps, the alternatives (suppliers, may offer one substance rather than the other). User does not care, whom he must send a request, with which of employees he needs to communicate, because the system has already introduced full address, contact phone number, etc. Accordingly, the supplier also see all need information: what is the query originator, what materials are talked about in any particular case, their quantities. If the supplier of materials or services needs to check some kind of detail, he also can find contact info and, say, call the sender.
You Need SRiC
Advantages to the builders, designers, contractors and other participants in the construction process are obvious:
• A united source of information: you'll never need to search in the Internet or elsewhere to find who manufactures, distributes construction resources or servines you need, you do not need to make the list of potential companies, because all the information is in this system (as far as it will allow suppliers access);
• Relevant information: information system continues to be filled up to date;
• Simple search for resource or service;
• More choices: you can immediately see what options may offer other companies (to compare prices), see all the additional information;
• Better communication possibilities between manufacturers or suppliers, automated queries or requests.
Already over a hundred construction material and services suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, machinery rental companies are interested in CRiC, because:
• Information provided to the target market: the consumers are those who are booking for a building supplies, services, or have an impact on order formation: estimator, project managers, booking managers;
• Exclusive marketing instrument: there are the manufacturers, names of their products, additional advertising implements, designed to increase company visibility in the target construction market;
• time-efficient, standardized, automated query system which really improve communication between producers, suppliers and customers. This system achieves more efficient buying, selling, negotiation, receipt of the information process.