December 19, 2016
This last 4castplus upgrade for 2016 is flush with brand new features, and many key feature enhancements requested by you. Here’s a quick list of the top new features and enhancements delivered in this release:
- Vendor LEM tracking using Vendor Rate Tables
- Import Progress Measurements
- New “Division” level corporate structure
- New Resource Forecasting Module
- Vendor Productivity Metrics and Monitoring
- Asset Library and Asset Allocations
- Extension of Project Markup to Rate Types
- Ability to track Change Orders on the Jobsite
- Many Reporting Enhancements
- Importable WBS Export – including ability to update WBS from Excel
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.
Productivity Tracking Through Progress Quantities
We get a lot of requests from customers to provide visibility into project productivity and performance metrics. We’ve now provided a powerful and objective method for planning, capturing, and analyzing physical productivity for all activities, subcontractors and the project as a whole. For more on this topic, have a look at this article: https://4castplus.com/how-do-you-monitor-subcontractor-productivity/.
This new feature is rooted in the idea of comparing “Expected Daily Average Progress” against “Actual Daily Average Progress”. This might sound quite simple, and essentially it is – but the value that 4castplus brings to this, is that it performs the vast majority of heavy-lifting around capturing and calculating these comparative metrics.
There are two areas where this can be found: on Workpackages, and on Purchase Orders, as follows.
Productivity Tracking by Workpackage
Almost any activity on a project can be quantified by a progressible unit of measure – like linear feet, or cubic meters – and 4castplus has provided the ability to enter these units. What’s new, is the ability to also enter an “Estimated Daily Average” value for the total unit quantity. This value often comes from a scheduled or agreed-upon number that was determined as part of project planning. Click on the image to the right.
Once the project is underway, progress values can be tracked on a daily basis and the accumulation of total progress is then compared against what was planned. 4castplus provides a wealth of metrics around this comparison.
Vendor Productivity Tracking by Purchase Order
Similar to the Workpackage, 4castplus now also provides you with fields to enter Planned Daily Average for each Purchase Order line item on a Service-based contract. Again, there is a wealth of productivity metrics that are continuously computed to deliver insight into the subcontractor’s performance.
Subcontractor or Vendor LEM Tracking
In this upgrade, there has been a great deal of new capability added to the various ways you can track the costs and progress of your subcontractors.
Vendor Rate Tables
A foundational aspect to tracking subcontractor LEM costs is the use of vendor rate tables. These tables contain the charge-out rates for each of your vendor’s labor, equipment and materials resource classes. These rates are used in calculating the cost of any transaction entered in the vendor LEM tracking or vendor LEM imports.
Tracking Vendor LEM
This new feature of the Jobsite allows you to quickly switch your “View” between tracking your self-performed work and directly tracking your various subcontractors. When tracking subcontractors (Vendors), you’ll be tracking directly against a committed purchase order rather than workpackages. This tracking method allows you to incur costs against the PO using the agreed-to rates. Click on the screenshot to the right for more information.
To support this capability, you can configure your vendors’ resources, resource classes and rates in the Configuration > Vendors area.
Importing Vendor LEM
A number of improvements have been made to Vendor LEM imports:
- You can now upload multi-day imports. For those vendors that send you, for example, weekly tracking reports, you can import that one file and the transactions will load into the appropriate Jobsite day.
- You can now optionally set the import files to use the configured Vendor Rate Tables to calculate costs. You can optionally still use the existing method of specifying the transaction cost in the import file – so now you have a choice.
Resource Forecasting by Class
The new Resource Forecasting tool is an extremely powerful solution for predicting remaining hours and costs on a project. The system performs all the heavy lifting for you to get visibility on: Budgeted Hours versus Burned Hours and Remaining Hours – along with detailed information on costs and disciplines for each. Project managers can easily enter Forecast to Complete (FTC) hours along with updated Forecast cost & billing rates for any additional hours that are predicted. If you spend a chunk of your week working with this kind of thing in spreadsheets, we’d highly recommend you contact us to have a look at this critical tool. For more information on what FTC is, have a look at this article: https://4castplus.com/whats-the-difference-between-estimate-to-complete-and-forecast-to-complete/.
Click on the image to the right for more details.
Project Management Enhancements
Importing Progress Measurements
You can now import progress measurements. After clicking on the Import button in the progressing area (only available when there’s an “Open” progress measurement), the system will enable you to generate an importable-file as an Excel export file. Fill in the new physical percent complete values and import, and you’re done. Click on the image to the right for more details.
New Ability to Import/Export and Update Work Breakdown Structure
4castplus now supports the ability for you to export your WBS into an importable Excel file. This feature is by very popular demand! This feature allows you to export your WBS, make all your adjustments in Excel, and re-import that file to update the WBS. Click on the image to the right for more details.
Asset Library and Asset Allocations
The new Asset Library feature allows users to create a library of ‘Assets’ – these could be, for example, a Well, Facility, Vessel or Field Assets. Once created, you can then associate one or more assets with a Program of Projects. Once that connection is made, you can allocate the total Actual Cost of the Projects in the Program to the Assets that have been associated with the Program. The % allocations to the Assets are defaulted as an even allocation across all Assets; however you can override that default, and specify the % allocation to each Asset in the Program. Full controls and reporting is available on historical costs of all Project Costs allocated to Assets.
More Feature Enhancements
Estimating & Budgeting
- New User Defined Fields (UDFs) available for detail resource estimates
- New ability to Delete an Estimate
- Update to Estimate imports (WBS and Cost Code) to include Vendor in the import file
- New Budget Approval Report
- New visual indicator when resource estimate items have no estimate value. See screenshot to the right.
4castplus now provides you the ability to configure your account to represent the one or more organizational subunits into “Divisions”. This introduces a new hierarchy of planning and reporting that enables you to split your company within the same account. Each Division can have multiple subunits called “Business Dimensions”.
Change Order Management
- New ability to Duplicate a Change Order
- New ability to track by Change Order in the Jobsite Timesheet. Jobsite Users can now specify a change order to track against. Click on the image to the right.
Three new User Defined Fields (UDF)
Three new custom fields – User Defined Fields, or UDFs – have been added to provides users with the ability to further customize areas of the system. Including:
- Purchase Order Items UDF
- Estimating Resource Item UDF
- Jobsite Timesheet UDF
- Update to Program visibility re: users will no longer see Programs when they are not assigned into Program projects
- Add two new fields to Projects > Custom Reports > WBS Revenue dataset: Remaining Budget, Remaining Release
- Add fields to the Project> Custom Report> Procurement data set [Case:2082]: Initial Document Due Date, Expediting Comments, Resource Code
- Update to Vendor > Vendor Resources Excel report
- Add Contract # to Procurement Reports & Custom Report > Procurement Dataset
- Is-Active Column now available in Custom Reports
- Add ‘Vendor’ column to the Estimate > Reports > Resource Report
- Add ‘Resource Category’ to Estimates > Reports > Resource Report
- Include Funding Released column in Revenue Summary Report
- Add Progress Quantity Metrics to Custom Reports and Project summary Report
- Provide legending in P6 Merge Review Screen
- Remove Duration and Remaining Duration from Project WBS after P6 Import/Sync
- P6 Provide feedback to user after successful Sync
- Column width now sticky in offline Jobsite Timesheet grid
- Align Offline and Online External and Internal Comment field behavior
- Display ‘intelligent’ data in Labor Resource Import/Export
- Update Labor import to overwrite existing resource data when email address is the same
- Provide an Import in Vendor Rate Tables
- Remove requirement to be assigned to a project to see Weekly Third Party Expenses Timesheet
- Add import capability to vendor resources
- Make Adjustments grids and date range selection ‘sticky’
- Extend PM Pro License to have same access to Vendors in Configuration, if Procurement enabled
- Time Entry Plus now has access to the Timesheet Report in TImekeeper
- Provide separate CBS permission re: Edit and Update
If you want to learn more about this software upgrade and more – and we hope you do – please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.