Using Excel to do your estimating…could it be time to switch?

With something as vital as providing an accurate estimate, you need to ensure you have the best possible technology backing you all the way from project inception to completion.  Excel is easily the most popular and widely used reporting tool available, but what does it mean for your company when the data contained inevitably grows beyond Excel’s capacity?

Valesco Estimating software is a dedicated Construction Estimating Solution which allows all your tenders to take a structured format which is invaluable when reviewing tenders. Valesco Estimating offers an easy to use solution which resolves those everyday problems faced when using Excel.

1. Excel will slow you down:

Excel is designed to take a large amount of data, but the system will become slow to use once your report reaches a certain size.  The larger the report, the longer the programme takes to load which is wasting valuable time that could be spent on other important tasks.

It is not hard to accumulate data beyond Excel’s capacity these days. So, how can Valesco help? For a start, it is designed specifically for the construction industry and built with the production of large bills in mind. It easily handles large amounts of data, but the intuitive Tree View Navigation System helps you to navigate easily through long bills, with no loss of programme speed or functionality.

2. So who’s got that spreadsheet open now?

There are going to be times when different people need to use or make changes/updates to your spreadsheet. They can end of on multiple networks or users individual machines. So, who has the latest version?  Has someone stored the latest copy locally on their machine? This can become even more of a headache if you have multiple office locations. Excel really isn’t designed for collaborative work.

You are also relying on the data being accurately updated and stored by each person that uses it. This can lead to a lot of wasted time checking the integrity of the data, not to mention the increased likelihood of inaccuracies.

Valesco avoids all these headaches. Valesco SQL allows your data to be stored centrally on a server and updates in real-time. Multiple users can access the software if needs be, and its full audit trail logs when data was amended or added and who made the update.  No more waiting for a colleague 200 miles away to finish their updates.

3. Copy & Paste anyone?

With formulas extracting data from several pages or columns, Excel can present a copy and paste headache for Estimators. This leaves your workbook wide open to errors and inaccuracies. The smallest change can sometimes cause some of the pre-set functions to fail resulting in producing bills and reports that are incorrect.

Problems caused by copying & pasting in Excel can be totally avoided in Valesco at is produces its own internal calculations.  This minimises the occurrence of human and system error and saves precious time that would otherwise be wasted rectifying problems caused by copying and pasting.

4. Handling requests for information:

It won’t take much to create havoc in a large spreadsheet. Should you wish to go back and change a price for an item for example, this can present a set of entirely new problems.  In this instance, Excel is prone to errors as you attempt to change prices and alter formulas. If your data is spread over multiple spreadsheets in a single workbook, you may find yourself updating each individual sheet, leading to more unnecessary time spent, cleaning and sorting your data in Excel.

If you need to learn the quantity and value of an item quickly, Valesco Estimating can take data in virtually any format and extract requested information at the touch of a button.  BQ’s are presented in an easy format for quick navigation through long bills, thus speeding up working time, reducing errors and deal with queries.

A final thought…

Excel can be quickly outgrown as your business and your data expand. It can slow you down and compromise quality.  If any of the above ring true with you, perhaps it’s time to start looking at how a dedicated estimating system can help you save time and money.

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