4castplus Update

 

4castplus Upgrade

April 23, 2018

Welcome!

In this R1, 2018 release of 4castplus we’ve added many critical new features and delivered a great variety of key enhancements. For example:

  • Significant enhancements to budget Time-Phasing including the ability to time-phase the Remaining Current Budget
  • New Resource Forecasting module (by popular demand)
  • Improved Integration API with SAP
  • New Advance Payments and Retainage additions to the Purchase Order cash flow planning
  • Updates to Cash-flow reporting, S-Curves and Forecast reports
  • Addition of Custom Formula Data fields in Dashboard Metrics
  • Numerous usability enhancements to Vendor Invoice Matching
  • Enhancements to Budget Revisions to add increased flexibility
  • Many many more features and enhancements

Scroll down to discover more, or click on the section headings below to jump to that section.

1) New: Resource Forecasting

1.1 Detailed Project Forecasts

This upgrade includes significant enhancements to the detail to which you can forecast the remaining budget on a project.

This latest release provides a significant advancement in the ability for you to enter detailed project forecasts.  In 4castplus, “Forecasting” is the process of predicting remaining costs, materials, hours, etc. to complete the project.  Previously, users could only enter lump-sum values for Forecast To Complete, or enter a forecasted CPI. You can now go to the detail of specific amounts of resources remaining – along with forecasted rates on a go-forward forecast-to-complete. A “resource forecast” looks a bit like an estimate, but provides you with key historical benchmarks on what was initially estimated, what’s been burned to-date and what is theoretically remaining.  A Forecast in 4castplus works side-by-side to EVM metrics to provide you with rich contextual information on the current and future health of your project. See the screenshots to the right for a glimpse into where to find resource forecasting.

For further information on this, have a look at the following article:

7 Things You Need to Know About 4castplus Resource Forecasting

2) Time-Phasing

2.1 Time-Phase Remaining Budget

To add to the already robust Time-Phasing capabilities in 4castplus, we’ve now added a further extension to enable you to time-phase the remaining budget.

2.1.1 Definition of Remaining Budget

4castplus maintains multiple project budgets concurrently, including: Baseline, Current, Pending and Forecast. The “Remaining” budget can be thought of as the remaining, unspent amounts left on the Current budget. Being able to uniquely manage the Remaining Budget is especially important when it comes to time-phasing. The system calculates Remaining Budget by taking the Current budget and subtracting actual costs and committed amounts.

The Remaining Budget is calculated as:

Remaining = CurrentBudget - FullyCommittedBudget

where…

FullyCommittedBudget = ActualCostToDate + Commitments

2.1.2 Period Variances

The Current Budget of course has its own time-phasing plan; however as the project plays out, the actual cost may not equal what was planned for any time-phase period. For example, if you planned to spend $100,000 in March, but only spent $90,000 – there is now a surplus of $10,000 that needs to be allocated into another period.  This is where the new “Reallocate” function becomes useful.

2.1.3 Reallocate Function

When time-phasing the remaining budget, you’re given the option of manually allocating any historical variances into future periods. 4castplus also provides a convenient function to auto-reallocate all variances equally into any open future periods. By clicking on Reallocate, the system will take any historical variances and evenly distribute them into open periods.

2.2 Time Phase by Production Quantity

In addition to being able to time-phase by Amount and Percent, you can now also time-phase by production quantity. See screenshots to the right.

2.3 Purchase Order Cash-Flow Plan Now Included in Time-Phasing

The cash-flow plans created for committed purchase orders in procurement are now included in the time-phasing calculations and reports. From a precedence perspective, the cash-flow plan takes top spot. This means that the system looks at the committed cash-flow first, then the budget resource time-phasing, then the workpackage time-phasing to calculate the curve reports.

3) Procurement and Subcontracting

3.1 New: Advance Payment and Retainage Events for Purchase Order Cash Flow Planning

The purchase order cash flow plan now has built-in structure to manage both Advance Payments and Retainage. You can include one or both events as part of the overall PO cash flow plan; and add other key events or milestones (or time-phasing) in that plan as well.

3.2 Item Quantity is now Unique across Procurement Workflows

Item quantity is now stored uniquely across the major procurement modules (i.e. Requisition, RFQ, Purchase Order). This enables the buyer team to modify the quantity of items ordered while maintaining a history of initial request and any incremental changes.

3.3 Budget Control Levels

There is now greater flexibility with how budgetary controls are applied to procurement spending. Most organizations want to ensure that all procurement spending is within the constraints of the project budget, and 4castplus provides flexible methods to enable these controls. You can now set the Control-Level to which the system should perform a budget check prior to committing a purchase order. See screenshot to the right on where to find how to set the budget control level.

3.4 Other Procurement Updates

  1. Update of Requisition ‘Notes’ to ‘Detailed Item Description’ and inclusion of new field ‘Buyer Comments’
  2. Update to metrics to remove Cancelled Requisitions
  3. Enhancement to Vendor Bid Upload to update ‘Notes’ to ‘Detailed Item Description’
  4. Inclusion of new field ‘Vendor Item Description’ in Vendor Bid Upload
  5. Enhancement to Commercial Bid Analysis Report: Update to include Vendor Currency, Vendor Item Description and Vendor Item Unit Cost
  6. Formatting and content Updates to Bidder’s List Report
  7. Update of Purchase Order Item Description from RFQ Award to display the Vendor Item Description
  8. Enhancement to PO Item Cost Code to update the workpackage when Cost Code is changed, where Cost Code belongs to a different workpackage.
  9. Update to display ‘Draft’ on all pages in Purchase Order form.
  10. Update to Purchase Order Exchange Rate field behavior to require input when the PO Currency differs from the Project Currency
  11. Update to open Invoicing Instructions & Custom Properties on Purchase Revision
  12. Purchase Order Receiving import is now in an ‘intelligent’ format. This means that when a Receiving Document is selected in the receipts grid, the import will include all Receipts entered for that Document.
  13. Added ‘Sticky’ and column re-ordering to Receiving > Commitment Items grid.
  14. Update to Submitted Receiving Document to keep all fields open after Submission except Vendor, Receipt Date and Receipt Number.
  15. Remove Control that prevents over receiving in LEM Import.

Have a look at this video to learn about how to create Purchase Requisitions from the Project Budget in 4castplus

4) Budget Revisions (re-baseline)

4.1 Enhancements to Budget Revisions

Revising the Project Budget in 4castplus is now much more flexible and provides increased capability. Previously, only newly added workpackages that had not been budgeted were available to be added into the revision. Now, you can re-estimate any workpackage and the system will keep track of what was added/changed in which revision.

5) Timesheets

5.1 Enhancements to Jobsite Timesheet

  1. Display Cost Code selection drop-down when multiple Cost Codes are configured for a workpackage in the CBS
  2. Make the WBS selector filter settings ‘sticky’
  3. Addition of ‘Upload from Estimate’ button in Budgeted Vendor Expense
  4. Defect fix re: Progress Quantity display in LEM Report not matching user interface
  5. Re-introduce functionality to ‘Include Adjustments’ in LEM Report single day format

5.2 Enhancements to Weekly Timesheets

  1. Update control re: prevent Inactive Rate Types from appearing in carry forward timesheet
  2. Display Cost Code selection drop-down when multiple Cost Codes configured for workpackage in CBS
  3. Bug fix re: Third Party % not populating in Expenses

6) Reporting

6.1 Provide Custom Data Fields (Formulas) in Dashboard Metrics

In the Project Dashboard Metrics area, you now have access to any custom data fields with custom formulas that you’ve created. See screenshot to the right.

6.2 Time-phased Reporting is now optionally Weekly or Monthly

You can now optionally set your time-phasing increments to be weekly or monthly.

6.3 Other Reporting Enhancements

  1. Rename ‘Items’ dataset to ‘Procurement Items’
  2. Bug fix re: Custom Data Field for All Projects Summary Costs & Billable datasets not available
  3. Add ‘Fully Committed Budget’ and ‘Budget Available’ to Dashboard Metrics and Project Summary Report
  4. Add ‘Billable Hours’ to Custom Reports > Global > All Project Summary dataset
  5. Add ‘PO Item Revision Date’ to Purchase Order Item Details screen and Procurement Items Custom Reports dataset
  6. Add ‘Issued By’, ‘Issued By Name’, ’Committed PO Unit Cost’, ’Committed PO Cost’, ’Committed PO Unit Price’ and ‘Committed PO Revenue’, ‘Shipment to be stored at’ to the Custom Templated Reports> Procurement datasets
  7. Updates to Earned Value and S-Curve Reports re: new Time-phased reporting
  8. Remove control requiring Baseline of project to run Time-phased reporting
  9. Add ‘Site Foreman’ to Project and Business Intelligence Details

7) Approvals and Vendor Invoice Matching

7.1 Vendor Invoice Matching Upgrades

  1. Updates to behavior to ‘auto’ apply the Transaction amounts to the Invoice Amounts
  2. Added ‘Cost’ total to Vendor Invoice screen for easier verification to Invoice Amount
  3. Auto-scroll to Invoice mid-grid section for easier access to Submit
  4. Add Select All box to Vendor Invoice items grid.

7.2 Approvals

  1. Add ‘Sticky’ filter checkboxes to Jobsite Approvals > My Approvals tab
  2. Added display control to Vendor Invoice Approvals to suppress in Approvals screen, when not enabled in Configuration

8) Integrations and Configuration

8.1 Extensions to the Integration API Platform for SAP

The 4castplus Integration Platform has extended the SAP modules for synchronizing: Projects, Purchase Orders, Receiving, Invoices, Invoice Approvals, Vendor Payments and Vendors

8.2 Configuration Updates

8.2.1 Added ‘Effective Date’ to Banked Time

You can now enter an “Effective Date” on the labor profile to set the start date from which you want the system to calculate banked time for an individual.

8.2.2 Other Configuration Updates

  1. Update to Administrator Profile such that Program Details access has same permissions as Project Details
  2. Update to Procurement Plus Profile to provide access to Vendor Invoice Matching and Custom Reports
  3. Update to Permissions to include Undo Commit, Revise and Undo Revise
  4. Add filter to Billing Table > Add Resource Class screen
  5. Bug fix re: Labor Class with no Cost Code does not appear in the Cost Rates tab in Labor Profile
  6. Bug fix re: Resource Class window not coming up in New Billing Rate Table > Add Resource Class

If you want to learn more about this software upgrade and more – and we hope you do – please feel free to email us at info@4castplus.com. Or, if you’ve landed on this page and you’re not already a customer, here’s where you can sign up for a free live demo of 4castplus.