Case Study: Reimagine Project Estimation with Microsoft Power Automate

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Executive Summary

This construction company was looking to modernize and automate its project estimation process to make it more efficient and timely. By introducing automation using Microsoft Power Apps, the firm was able to accelerate the estimation process while increasing the number of estimates going out the door with less effort and error.

The Client

A large specialty construction company that serves the Mid-Atlantic region, specializing in engineering and building cast-inplace concrete structures for multi-level commercial, residential and mixed-use structures and developments

The Challenge

The construction company generated multiple estimates a day to bring in new business, but their project estimator process was
manual and involved various people from different departments. The entire estimation process was conducted using a master
spreadsheet sent through email which meant all steps involved, from creation to approval, created more room for human error
when multiple estimate versions were in circulation. The time to complete an estimate and locate the correct version was
preventing the firm from pushing out more bids and closing new business. The company recognized that this process was inefficient, error prone, and impeding growth.

The Approach And Solution

The Withum team was involved with the client on several other IT modernization projects, so it was a natural fit for Withum to help automate the estimation process. Since the construction company already made an investment into Office 365, Withum implemented an automation solution using Power Apps and Power Automate (Microsoft Flow at the time). The new estimator app created an approval process that is forms-based and managed by a workflow through a structured process to build the estimates logically and efficiently. This solution also ensures the approval process doesn’t get held up through a delay in any one part of the process. When the solution detects a delay or queue, it alerts appropriate stakeholders. If no resolution is found, it automatically initiates a work-around process.

The Results, ROI

The new automated solution resulted in several benefits to the client’s project estimation process:

Better understanding of the effort that goes into putting estimates together
Faster and more accurate responses
Low-code solution makes it easy to modify and extend
Eliminated unnecessary email traffic
Able to respond to more estimates at any given time
Provides a record to easily build a database of responses to ensure similiar bids are able to be re-used

By leveraging Power Apps and Power Automate, the construction company made the most of their Office 365 investment while speeding up processes and scaling the team’s ability to put out more estimates with less human error.

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