4castplus Update

 

April 24, 2017

The first Release of 2017 contains many new features and enhancements that we’re very excited to share with you. Including:

  • Reporting Dashboards & Custom Reports
  • Extensions of Period Close feature into specific Close periods – This includes a split Jobsite Submission for Approvals for Payroll
  • Extensions in Approvals workflows to allow for set-up of ‘Out of Office’ and re-routing of Approvals to other individuals
  • Significant extensions to Procurement Request for Quote (RFQ) and Vendor Portal for Bid Management
  • A new Import feature for the Jobsite. This feature is way cooler than it sounds.
  • Extension of Flex-Codes to allow for project-level definition. This is key for companies using Workorders in their process.
  • Many many more features and enhancements

There’s so much more to talk about, so scroll down to discover more about these new features & upgrades. As always, we’re eager to hear your feedback so feel free to contact us to discuss any of these updates.

Introduction of the New  “ComingSoon” Pre-Release Environment

In this upgrade, we’re introducing the launch of a new pre-release environment called ‘ComingSoon’.  This environment is designed to give you early access into the new functionality about to appear in an  upcoming upgrade. This is intended to assist with any roll-out planning and user training you may be undertaking as part of the system upgrade. ComingSoon is available for you to access and review the new features at the following website: https://comingsoon.4castplus.com.

Log-in and password are the same log-in and password used to access https://app.4castplus.com (Production)

Should you have any issues accessing comingsoon, please send an email to support@4castplus.com.

1  Customizable Dashboards and Reports

In this release, we’ve built a whole new infrastructure around customizable Dashboards. You can now build your own reports and charts which can then be made accessible to users’ dashboards in projects – along with the new Executive Dashboard available in BI.

1.1 Custom Dashboard Reports

To create custom dashboard tabular reports, click on the projects area and select the “Custom Reports > Custom Tabular Reports” tabs.  Click “New” and select the Project Details report dataset, then select the fields you wish to include in your report. Drag fields up and down to set the order they appear.  We will be adding more report datasets in upcoming releases.

You can create custom reports both at a project level, as well as global; indicated by the two tabs. Global reports are for the Executive Dashboard and the Project Manager’s Dashboard. For Project-level reports, you can select which projects can access the report using the “Projects” section of the report definition.

1.2 Custom Dashboard Charts

To create a custom dashboard chart, click on the projects area and select the “Custom Reports > Custom Charts” tabs. For this first release of this feature, the custom charts are available at a project-level.

There are two types of charts that can be created:

  1. Project Summary. This allows you to compare a broad selection of high-level summary metrics such as Budget, Actual Cost, ETC, EAC, CPI, etc.
  2. Project Detail. This chart allows you to visualize and summarize project transactional data in a variety of ways.
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1.3 Project Dashboard Now Customizable

Both the Metrics area and the Reports area of the Project Dashboard are now fully customizable to the user.

1.3.1 Customizing Project Metrics

To select which metrics show in this area, click on “Manage Project Metrics” menu item and select the cost and/or revenue metrics you wish to include on your dashboard. After clicking “Save”, you can also customize how the metrics appear on the screen by dragging them up and down.

1.3.2 Manage Dashboard Reports and Charts

To select which reports appear in this area, click on “Manage Dashboard Reports”. You’ll see two sections of Reports and Charts:

  1. Pre-Built Reports. These are the reports and charts that come pre-loaded in 4castplus which you can include on your dashboard.
  2. Custom Reports. These are the reports and charts that have been customized for you.

1.4 Executive Dashboard

There is a new Executive Dashboard In the Business Intelligence area. Using the Global option in the Custom Report Designer, you can optionally enable any report to be selectable for the Executive Dashboard.

1.5 Custom Report Templates Relocated to Global Projects Area

The custom report templates – formerly located in Project Reports > Custom Reports – have been moved to be created and managed globally. Moving this administration to the global area will make it much easier to create the report template in one place and distribute it to many projects all at once. You can continue to run Custom Reports in Business Intelligence and in Project Reports, but the creation of your Custom Reports is now consolidated in one area.  To access the Designer, click on Projects.

1.6 More Reporting Enhancements

  • New Metric added to the Revenue Metrics dataset: Budget Overrun and Percent Funding Release Spent. For customers using the Funding Plan workflow in 4castplus, new metrics which provide indication that a work package Funding Plan has been exceeded and the overall percent spent of the Funding Plan has been added.
  • New Chart added to the Project-level Charts datasets: Project Cost by Workpackage Code
  • New Data Field added to Custom Templated Reports > Project Level > Purchase Order Item dataset: Unit Cost to Complete.
  • Data Fields added to Project and Business Intelligence Detail Reports and Custom Report Details Datasets: Resource Code and Vendor Invoice Date.
  • Field ordering in Report Designer updated to ‘drag and drop’. The previous workflow required users to use the up and down arrows to order fields.  This has been replaced with a drag and drop ability.
  • Added “Sticky View” to Business Intelligence > Project Reports > Cost Code Reports
  • Enhanced Business Intelligence Vendor Reports as follows:
    1. Added Sticky View to the column chooser, ordering and filter
    2. Excel Report will reflect grouping and ordering selections.
    3. Added new data fields for Business Dimension, Project Geography, Project Type and Jobsite UDF (user-defined fields).
  • Added “Sticky View” to Billing AR & Vendor Invoice Matching > Adjustment Report for Billing. Also, the Excel Report will now be updated to reflect your interactive selections

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2 Approvals and Finance

2.1 Out of Office Assistant

The Approvals workflows have been enhanced to allow users to identify when they will be unavailable to participate in an Approval, or ‘Out of Office’.  When activated, any Approval workflows that are routed to you will be re-routed to the Delegate Approver for your Role in the impacted project. If no Delegate Approvers have been configured for the Approving Role, the Approval will become Dead-locked and require Administrative Override.

2.2 Update to Approvals workflow when Approver is made Inactive or Terminated

  1. Upon being made Inactive or Terminated, open Approvals will be routed to the Delegate Approver for the Approving Role in the workflow.  If no Delegate Approvers have been configured for the Approving Role, the Approval will now become Dead-locked and require Administrative Override.
  2. Alert on Main Page when Approvals are Pending. If Approvals from any Workflow are Pending, you will now see a red banner on the Main Page.

2.3 Staggered Submit for Period Close

Extend Period Close to Payroll and Non-Payroll.  This release extends the Period Close functionality to allow for users to Submit and Approve the Jobsite Timesheet Payroll related entries (Payroll Labor and Payroll Reimbursable Expenses) separately from Jobsite Timesheet Non-Payroll entries or to Submit All at the same time.   Once submitted, the Payroll and Non-Payroll entries on the Jobsite can be Approved separately, allowing for users to address bottlenecks currently experienced in closing and approving Payroll Periods and Entries.

3 Jobsite Construction Cost Tracking

3.1 Jobsite LEM Import

Field personnel can now create an “Importable Export” document from the Jobsite. The Jobsite Import provides an efficient and effective means for updating of mass data in the Jobsite Timesheet. The Import is a pre-formatted Excel Template that lists all Labor & Equipment Resources added to the Tracking Grid.  Once Quantity updated in the Excel sheet, the same Import Template can be imported into the Jobsite Timesheet.

3.2 New Labor Fields for Union and Preferred Name

The Jobsite Labor selection area now has additional fields for Union, Employee ID and Preferred Name. Field personnel can un-check any columns that are not required and the system will remember their preferences.

3.3 The Jobsite now offers the option of a 2-stage submit for approval:

  1. Submit for Payroll
  2. Submit everything

The purpose behind this to ensure payroll quantities can be routed for processing even if all the jobsite entries have not been fully completed.

3.4 More Jobsite Enhancements

  1. Update to setting up a New Labor Resource. The workflow has been updated to only display the Contractor drop-down if the Contractor? Field is enabled.
  2. There are new configurable options in Preferences for: Display of Site Foreman in the Tracking grid and Mandatory setting on Jobsite Timesheet #
  3. New fields added to the Labor Resources selection area: Union Identification and Employee ID.
  4. New fields added to the Jobsite Tracking Grid: Union Identification.
  5. New fields added to the Jobsite Report Designer. The following sections and fields have been added into the Designer – Vendor Expenses and Vendor Progress, Union Identification and Employee ID, Cost Codes to Labor, Equipment and Materials sections.
  6. Field ordering in Jobsite Report Designer updated to ‘drag and drop’. The previous workflow required users to use the up and down arrows to order fields.  This has been replaced with a drag and drop ability.
  7. Issue where Inactive Jobsite Log Section appears in new Jobsite has been resolved.
  8. New fields added to the Vendor LEM Transactions sub-grid:  Cost Code and Work Date.

4 Procurement – Major Enhancements to Request For Quote and Vendor Portal

4.1 RFQ Update

Significant bid management and analysis features have been added to the Procurement Request for Quote (RFQ) module. This has resulted in a significant update of the interface in the RFQ.  You will notice that when selecting an RFQ in the top grid, a new sub-grid section opens with tabs for each of the following sub-areas:

  1. Detail Items on your RFQ
  2. Documents provided to your Vendors
  3. Vendors selected for your RFQ
  4. Discussion Stream for collaborative communication with your Vendors (Portal only)
  5. Commercial Bid Analysis
  6. Vendor Log
  7. Selection of Bid Evaluation Criteria

4.2 Updates to Commercial Bid  Analysis

In addition to this re-design, the Commercial Bid Analysis sub-module has been enhanced.  Selecting a Vendor in the grid will open a sub-grid where you will complete the following Bid Analysis workflows:

  1. View Bid Questions and Responses
  2. View Vendor Document submissions
  3. Evaluate your Vendor Bid using the selected Evaluation Criteria
  4. Upload and view your Vendor Bid Details
  5. Run the Comparative Bid Analysis Report

4.3 NEW: Vendor Bid Qualification Questions

You can now preconfigure multiple sets of Bid Qualification Questions to be used in the RFQ tendering process. These questions can be standardized to suit your RFQ requirements. If using the Portal, Vendors can view and upload their Responses to Questions, or if in a non-portal RFQ, Procurement users can upload Vendor Bid Responses to Questions.

  1. Create Bid Qualification Questions in Configuration
  2. Assign the Questions Set as part of the RFQ
  3. Once issued, the vendors can respond to each question using a combination of text fields along with the ability to upload one or documents to support each response
  4. Buyers will have visibility into vendors’ responses after bid close date along with the other proposal documents uploaded by the vendors.

4.4 Enhancements to Vendor Portal

The Vendor Portal, which allows for users to transmit RFQs electronically to their vendors, and manage the bid process through to Close, has been significantly enhanced.  The updated Portal continues to offer the ability for Vendors to upload their bid submissions and documents but has been extended to allow for Vendors to engage with the RFQ Buyers in a Discussion stream, with full visibility to all Vendors of Buyers replies. Communication on status of the RFQ, from Acknowledgement to Close and Award can now all be completed in real-time, with full visibility into status and tracking always.

4.4.1 Bid Acknowledgement and Sealed Bid Options

Using the vendor portal, 4castplus now enforces the vendors to indicate their intentions with regards to the bid:

  • Vendors must first Acknowledge the bid before they are able to view the RFQ documents
  • Vendors must indicate either “Will Bid” to participate in the bidding process. They can also choose “Decline”.

4castplus now enforces a Sealed Bid process when using the Vendor Portal.

4.5 RFQ Discussion Stream

To assist in providing a collaborative platform for visibility and effective communication, 4castplus now provides a forum-style Discussion Stream where vendors and buyers can post Topics and Responses in a secure and private environment.

4.6 Further RFQ Enhancements

  1. Addition of Vendor Portal RFQ Notifications to Notification Manager. Enhancements to the Portal include the ability to select and configure several events, to allow for improved efficiency in bid management and stay on top of your vendor bid status.
  2. Addition of Timestamp to RFQ Bid Management fields. For those dates critical to the effective management of an RFQ i.e. Bid Close Date, a Timestamp field has now been added.
  3. Addition of ability to allow Buyer to Unsubmit and Extend Bid.
  4. Update to allow for award of RFQ to multiple vendors. The previous workflow awarded the RFQ in whole to one vendor.  The current release still provides the ability to allocate the RFQ in whole but now also to allocate the items within the RFQ to different vendors

More Procurement Enhancements

4.7 Purchase Order Enhancements

  1. Provide PO print option to generate PO form with either full revisions or with only revisions specific to the form.
  2. Update to PO Progress workflow to provide Progress Rate Types. The PO Progress rate type available for PO Line Items was previously using Material Rate Types.  This has now been updated to provide Rate Types for Progress.
  3. Update to document uploads in Purchase Order & RFQ

4.8 Purchase Requisitions Enhancements

  1. Resource Code has been added into the Requisition > Add Requisition Items > Select Items screen
  2. Update to Requisition Items to allow for editing of Rate Type. Previously, Requisition Items Quantity could not be edited at the Line Item.
  3. Extension of Division to RFQ & PO workflows. In addition to creating an RFQ or PO from either the Company or on behalf of a Customer, you can now create and issue from a Division of the Company

4.9 Auto-Numbering

NEW: Auto-Numbering of Requisitions, Request for Quotes (RFQ) and Purchase Orders. Our Auto-numbering workflow has been extended to include Requisitions, RFQs and Purchase Orders.

5 Asset Library and Asset Allocations

  1. Character length on Asset Name has been increased.
  2. NEW: Extension of Asset Library to allow for Project. The previous Asset Library workflow assigned all ‘Program’ assets to all projects within the Program.  This has now been extended to allow our users to de-select the Assets assigned by default, at the project level.  Allocated Project Costs to the Asset are then rolled up for an overall Program View of the Allocated costs by Asset in the Program.

6 Estimating and Progress Measurements

  1. Start and End Dates have been removed from the Estimate profile.
  2. Items with $0.00 calculated Cost or Billable values are now highlighted. When including items in the Resource Estimate, any items without a Cost Rate or Billable Rate will be highlighted.
  3. Extend Importable Estimate Export (WBS and Cost Code) to the Labor & Equipment Class Estimate option. Previously, the Importable Estimate Export was available only for the Named Resource Estimate option.
  4. Provide ability to overwrite an existing Estimate. When exported, the Importable Estimate Exports (WBS and Cost Code) will now reflect all items in the estimate.  Update the items and re-import in for a complete update of your Estimate.
  5. New UDF (user-defined field) with drop-down property type configuration for Estimate Items.
  6. Enhancement to allow for user to enter Forecasted ETC. In the last release, an enhancement was introduced to allow users to enter Forecasted CPI. This has been further extended to allow for users to enter Forecasted ETC.

Change Order Estimating

  1. Extend Change Order Estimate Import to the Labor & Equipment Class Estimate option. Previously, the Change Order Estimate Import was available only for the Named Resource Estimate option.

7 Projects

  1. Extension to Flex Codes to allow for configuration of Flex Code content at the project level. This is particularly useful for organizations using a Workorder method for assigning tasks and activities to projects
  2. Addition of Time zone to Company Configuration and Project Detail.

7.1 Primavera P6 Sync

  1. Provide Import/Sync Details History report. Full reporting on all Imports and Syncs of your P6 schedule is now available in the Program P6 Sync tab.
  2. Addition of ‘Re-link’ capability. The Re-link capability in the P6 Sync workflow allows you to re-link 4castplus work packages to a new P6 file, where the work package has been Synced to a different P6 file.

8 Timesheets

8.1 My Timesheet

  1. Update to work package removal behavior & Clean-up Button introduced. Previously, when a Timesheet was Saved, any empty work packages would be removed from the grid, requiring the user to either Reload the Previous Day or re-add the work packages, if not included in the Previous Day.  Offered as a configurable Company preference, this behavior has been updated in this release such that work packages will now remain on the Tracking Grid until the user either deletes or alternatively, can use the new Clean-up button which will allow for immediate removal of all empty work packages on the Tracking Grid.
  2. Added Services Resource field in the Weekly & Jobsite Third Party Expenses. Previously, the Services workflow did not have a Resource field, just an Item Description.  Inclusion of a Resource field will provide the ability to generate Codes (Cost and Resource) from the transaction.

8.2 Timesheet Administration

  1. Add ‘Submit’ button to Timesheet Administration. The new button now allows users to select and Submit multiple Timesheets.
  2. Extend Recalculate in Timesheet Administration to include recalculation of Cost Codes and Customer Codes. The Recalculate feature in Timesheet Administration has been extended to allow you to recalculate your transactions, and apply updated Cost Codes and Customer Codes to your transactions.

 

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.