4castplus Update


4castplus Upgrade

November 1, 2017

This fall release of 4castplus contains more exciting enhancements to many areas of the system including:

  • Reporting Dashboards & Custom Reports including the addition of new Datasets.
  • A new Custom Field Builder that allows you to create your own reporting fields
  • Numerous extensions to the Procurement module to include more Contract management, budget validation, Multi-currency in RFQ, Vendor Invoice Approvals and Vendor Payment tracking
  • Extensions to Progressing methodologies including Weighted Steps progressing and a new Rule Sets builder
  • Many many more features and enhancements

1  Enhancements to Progressing Methodology

This upgrade includes significant enhancements to the methods that can be used to progress items on the work breakdown structure. We’ve added numerous new techniques for automating the calculation of progress.

1.1 New Progress Method Area on the Workpackage

The workpackage detail now has a Progress Method tab which allows you to define the unique progressing solution for that workpackage. You can select from a variety of automated methods by selecting from a dropdown.

1.2 New Methods for Progress Measurement Automation

Progress Measurements are a critical component of project controls, project tracking and project management. Being able to accurately and objectively measure the incremental progress of a project has quickly become one of the most desired functions of essential project reporting. For this purpose, we’ve added a number of new methods to make the act of measuring project progress not only accurate, but simplified, objective and ‘automated’. You can now setup your progressible workpackages to be progressed using methods that base their calculation of Percent complete by: Schedule, Budget, Rules-of-Credit, Weighted-Steps, Direct Entry, Subcontractor or Supplier Progress, and Direct Entry. With these new options available, project controllers can be very precise with how each activity on the project is progressed and percent complete is calculated.

1.3 Pre-configure Customized Rule-Sets

For Rules-of-Credit or Weighted Steps progressing, you can now pre-configure Rule Sets that can be conveniently selected on a workpackage. This is key for both standardization of processes, as well as simplifying the planning and setup of the Project.

1.4 Weighted Steps Progress Tracking

From both the Jobsite Progress module, as well as the Unit Progress module, you can now enter progress values for incremented Weighted Steps quantities.

Have a look at this video for more on Progressing Methods in 4castplus

2  Work Breakdown Structure Interface

The WBS user interface has been enhanced to make it easier to work with, and to provide extended functionality.

2.1 Master-Detail Model for Editing WBS items

To edit any item on the WBS, you need only click on the item, and its details will be shown in the space below the WBS hierarchical grid. The details area is split out into multiple tabs to organize the categorical areas. Notice the “splitter” between the panels that allows you to resize the available space for each panel.

2.2 Attach Documents to Workpackages

You can now attach documents to be associated to any workpackage on the WBS. To configure the “Drop Zones” for which document Classes appear on the workpackage, go to Configuration > Documents to select the desired repository classes. Click on the screenshots to the right for more details.

Documents can now be searched by “Workpackage” in the main Document repository.  You can also perform more global searches, then filter by workpackage name in the results grid.

3 Estimating and Progressing

3.1 Copy-Paste added to Estimating

You can now copy the estimate from one workpackage to one or more other workpackages with the new Copy-To functionality in resource estimating. This makes it very convenient for situations where you have similar activities that appear in different phases of your project. You can effectively estimate it once, then copy that to these various other activities. Not only can you paste it, you can also apply a “Sizing Factor”. Using the sizing factor, you can have 4castplus account for a multiplier based on the number of installed units for each workpackage. For example, if the ‘copy-from’ workpackage has 20 widgets, and the ‘copy-to’ workpackage has 40 widgets, 4castplus will automatically double the underlying quantities of labor, equipment, materials, etc.

3.2 Automated Progress Measurements

As part of the progressing methods enhancements, the Progressing module now shows all the automated progress measurements for each workpackage uniquely.

3.3 Services Now Added to “Purchasing” Module

The Purchasing module allows users to select estimated (or budgeted) items and have them automatically routed to a Purchase Requisition for Procurement.  Previously, only Equipment and Materials were available in this module – now you can also select Services. This is key for subcontracting through the 4castplus procurement management system.

3.4 “Previous Period” Progressing Data Fields

The Progress Measurement module now provides fields that show Previous progress measurement values to provide ability to compare current period entries with the last progress measurement period.

3.5 New Progress Measurement Report

In the “Reports” tab, under EVM, you’ll find a new Progress Measurement Report which provides details on all progressing data and values.

4 Procurement and Subcontracting

4.1 Enhanced Text-Editor Formatting in PO and RFQ Sub-Sections

The sub-sections of purchase orders and requests for quote now provide a rich text editor for document formatting such as: headings, bold, italics, bullets, numbering, etc.  Sub-sections such as Terms & Conditions, Bid Acknowledgement, Expediting, etc

4.2 New “Vendor Item Description” Added

A new Vendor Item Description field has been added to Purchase Requisitions, RFQs, reports and datasets.  This has been added to record Vendor-specific Item Description for instances where their description may differ from yours; or when they need to provide further qualifying details as part of the RFQ bid. If updated, this field will be reflected in the PO Item Description when the RFQ is awarded.

4.3 Vendor-Specific Documents in RFQ Portal

There is now the capability to upload RFQ-related documents to the RFQ portal that are specific to a vendor. This is useful for when the required documents may differ from one vendor to the next in the RFQ bidding process.

4.4 Enable User-Selection of RFQ Fields to Copy to PO during Award

When awarding an RFQ to a vendor, the buyer can now select which RFQ fields get copied to the associated purchase order. This provides a convenient way to specifically determine the data that gets transferred from request for quote to purchase order.

4.5 Contracts – New Capability to Award RFQ to Contract

For those organizations that require Contract validation prior to a PO award, 4castplus Procurement Management now provides an optional RFQ-to-Contract workflow. This additionally provides validation of Contract amount with Project Budget. Purchase Orders issued from Contract can only be issued for Contract Items and Budget.

4.6 New Functionality to Revise Purchase Order Item Cost – After Receipts are Recorded

In this release, you can now revise a purchase order item to amend its cost even if partial receipts have been recorded against that item. An example of how you could use this feature would be: if you have a $50,000 Lump Sum item on a subcontract, and you need to increase that to $60,000, you can easily revise that amount even if progress draws have already been recorded (incurred) against that item.

4.7 Purchase Order Cash Flow Plan – Phase 1.0

Buyers can now configure a Cash-Flow plan for each purchase order. A cash flow plan is made up of multiple events, with percentage payment associated to each event: for example, a Progress Draw or Milestone. The cash flow plan can also have the payment terms configured so that cash flow forecast reporting can reflect the real distribution of funds. Additionally, buyers can identify Retainage and Advance Payments where applicable.

4.8 Multi-Currency in Request for Quote (RFQ)

Requests for Quote in 4castplus are now enabled with Multi-Currency Support.

Have a look at this video to learn more about Creating and Issuing Requests For Quote (RFQ) in 4castplus

5 Reporting

5.1 New Custom Report Datasets for: Global Procurement

New custom report datasets have been added to report on procurement item details at a global level. There is now both a Custom Dashboard, and Custom Templated Report dataset you can choose from to report on procurement and subcontracting details. Once configured, the custom dashboard report can be viewed in the Executive Dashboard in Business Intelligence; or in the Project Manger’s Dashboard. The Custom Templated Report version can be launched from Business Intelligence.

5.2 Custom Data Fields

We’re very excited to launch this new feature that allows you to create your own data fields for reporting. This new tool is very powerful and flexible and enables users to extend reporting to include a limitless number of customized data fields. You can design your own formula based on any number of other existing data fields; along with numeric constants as needed. In other words, if you can’t find the exact formula your looking for in the reportable data provided in the system, you can simply add your own!

5.3 New Pre-Built Change Order Details Report

This new Change Order report has been added due to popular demand. It provides all change orders with the detailed budgetary information for each in a consolidated report.

5.4 Enhancements to Project Summary Report

The Project Summary report has been extended to enable you to view the same project data from various pivoted perspectives. This report is now available in 4 unique views on the same data:

  • Detail View: This view is the standard hierarchical view by work breakdown structure. This view looks at the project from an activity perspective.
  • Summary by Resource Type: This view shows the project data pivoted by resource type. It’s summarized by: Labor, Equipment, Materials, Services and Expenses. In this report, you can also select historical progress measurement periods to view the data at previous cut-off periods.  This view looks at the project from a ‘resource’ perspective.
  • Pivot Detail View: This view enables users to manipulate the orientation of the data in multiple ways to compare various phases of the project from any number of perspectives. A popular example of this, is to view the same coded workpackage from various different phases together to compare them against each other. This view looks enables users to look at the project from an activity perspective, but oriented in multiple ways.  Look at the screenshot to the right.
  • Summary by Vendor: This view orients the project data from the perspective of costs incurred by vendor.  This view looks at the project from a “Vendor Cost” perspective.

5.5 Enhanced Grouping in Custom Dashboard Reports

Enhancement to Custom Dashboard Charts to provide two levels of Grouping. Both the Global and Project Dashboard datasets have been enhanced to allow you to pick two additional levels of grouping to apply to your Summary and Detail project data.

6 Jobsite Timesheet

6.1 Performance and User Interface Upgrade

We’ve undertaken the effort to perform a significant overhaul of the underlying Jobsite Timesheet technology to make it faster, more streamlined and much more robust. We wanted to ensure its ongoing performance and reliability – and to continuously improve the User Interface to make it easier and easier to use. Here are some of the interface changes:

  1. Save, Submit and Save All button. A Save button can now be found for each of the tabs, which will save the specific content of the tab you are in.  The Submit button has been relocated to the top of the Jobsite and a Save All button added to allow you to save content on all tracking grids.
  2. Report PDF has been relocated to the top of the screen.
  3. Labor Expense. Labor Expenses have been moved to a tab immediately adjacent to the LEM Resources tab.  The workflow for how to add Labor Expenses, and how they’re displayed, remains the same, starting with the selection of the Labor Resource in the LEM tab.

6.2 Other Jobsite Upgrades

  1. Manhours field added to Jobsite Third Party Expenses.
  2. Updates to “Attach Documents” to prevent upload of document when Jobsite Period is Closed
  3. Expected Daily Average Quantity added to the Progress tracking grid
  4. Project > Custom Properties added in as data fields for selection in LEM Designer.

7 Approvals and Vendor Invoice Matching

7.1 Vendor Invoice Approvals

The approval of Vendor Invoices can now be routed through a multi-stage, full notification Approvals workflow. This includes both Purchase Order Invoices and Non-Purchase-Order invoices. This is optional and will only take effect if the approval workflow is active.

7.2 Change Order Approvals

Users can now configure multi-stage Approvals Workflows for Change Orders and Budget Transfers. Once Submitted, a change order will now be routed through the configured workflow to be approved or rejected. This is optional and will only take effect if the approval workflow is active.

7.3 Allow Approver to “Unapprove” submitted Jobsite Timesheets

Enhancement to Jobsite Timesheet Approvals to allow approver to Unapprove. Enhancement includes a new Notification to alert the Submitter that Jobsite has been Unapproved.

7.4 Vendor Invoice Matching and Vendor Payments

Procurement-related vendor invoices have been moved to the global Vendor Invoice Matching module.  This allows users to match vendor invoices across projects rather than the matching & approvals being project-specific.

New Vendor Payment Tracking has also been added on Submitted Vendor Invoices.

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.