4castplus for Expeditors
Vital Timing, Logistics and Delivery of Goods and Services on Major Construction Projects
The role of the Expeditor is to be responsible for arranging timely and appropriate transportation and delivery of the material being purchased or the services being provided on a Purchase Order. The expediting process starts at the purchase requisition and flows through to RFQ and Purchase Order. It starts early because decisions are made up front as to which items are to be expedited, along with the level of expediting required. The Purchase Requisition is a powerful and unique feature to 4castplus. It represents the procurement management process that precedes the engagement of the buyer/purchaser. Most procurement activities are triggered by a request from outside the buyer group. This request often comes in the form of document such as:
- Bill of Materials
- Materials Request
These documents are often created in a spreadsheet and handed off to procurement to manage the purchasing of the items. To eliminate the disconnect that this type of handoff introduces; 4castplus has built full support for the contents of these types of documents in the form of a Purchase Request. The Purchase Request is where procurement process is launched from. It provides the key data interfaces between the Project Engineer and the Buyer group. It also provides a vital audit trail for transparency around:
- What has been requested for purchase
- What has been purchased
- What is outstanding
- What is currently in progress – i.e. in RFQ
From the Purchase Requisition, requests for quote and purchase orders are created by the easily moving these requisitions onto the appropriate contract (PO or RFQ). This is normally handled by the buyer group. Ultimately, the required purchase orders are issued – or, Committed – and this engages the expediting group to take it from there. Not everything on a Purchase Order gets expedited – typically only the critical path items since there can be many of thousands of purchased items. The project engineer decides which items to expedite and marks them as to-be-expedited; or not. They can also mark the whole Purchase Order to-be-expedited; or not. Even if the whole Purchase Order is marked for expediting, they can still override that and de-select certain line items that don’t need to be expedited as part of that Purchase Order.
The typical procurement flow moves from Project engineer to buyer then to expediter. The Expediter kicks in once the Purchase Order has been committed, and is responsible for making sure things get delivered timely and correctly.
There is a close relationship between Expediting and Purchase Order-Receiving. This is because a significant part of the expeditor’s role is to manage the dates & status of when and how goods or services have been received from vendors.
The Expeditor needs to monitor a great many target deliverables at the same time. One single Purchase Order line item can have multiple deliverables that need to be tracked. These deliverables are usually dates, text fields, numbers or yes/no checkboxes. Any delay in one deliverable can have scheduling impact on the remaining deliverables for that item. The Expeditor has to be on top of all this so as to reset the forecasted delivery dates further down the line. Since they’re dealing with a large amount of information that needs to be updated continuously, 4castplus provides efficient tools for them to do exactly that. The use of Shipping Groups and Logistics is also key to an Expeditor’s role. Shipping Groups are a way to combine together multiple purchase order items into groups that have similar logistical requirements for efficient delivery.
The Expeditor also engages in a lot of back and forth communication with the vendors. They need to log those interactions for reporting and future use. 4castplus provides an Expeditor’s Log to journal the progressive interactions and commentary as the expediting process is carried out on each line item commitment.