untermStrich® “on demand”
It’s challenging to put software into words. We not only want to show you what the program can do, we want to convince you that untermStrich® is the most efficient solution for your planning office. That’s how the idea came about to demonstrate untermStrich® with fictitious weekly sketches of simulated everyday office life. A practical guide, so to speak, from everyday use.
Simply come along with us and see how user-friendly
“on demand” software can be.
untermStrich®, the proven platform independent controlling and management system, starts your daily documentation and management in the browser of any computer, any smartphone and any tablet.
The week begins with good news. A new project has come in; the time-consuming preparation paid off, the future client accepted the bid.
A team meeting is called immediately and the initial tasks are delegated. The team leader is responsible for preparing the organization of the project in files and structures both in analogue and digital form.
From now on all of the project information will be saved centrally in untermStrich®. The browser window of the platform-independent software opens and the individual team members are informed about the new project. In addition the external teams are also immediately informed through the Butler from untermStrich®.
The available resources across the projects that have already been allocated and the work areas are reviewed.
A new staff member is introduced to the team and immediately assigned to the new project. The office management has already entered all of the relevant data, security settings and specifications in the team module. For the time being the new employee only needs to document his specific project and phase-related performance. It will be decided later on whether or not the employee, depending on his rendered performance, will be given further access.
It is now clear who the first external contact person is for this new project. The office management assigns the contact information from the address book with a simple click. Thus from here on out the list of participants will be continuously updated. One huge advantage of the software is the many clearly organized addresses – CRM at its best.
The fee was recalculated due to adapted project requirements and the individual expenses were allocated according to project phase – at the same time the planned hours for the team can be confirmed and filed.
Important information such as m², m³, density, floor area, degree of development and many other specific project figures are assigned to the project step by step. The project master data sheet starts to develop a life of its own and interacts with those involved.
When telephoning untermStrich® recognizes the address of the client. If necessary the office management immediately knows about various project assignments, interconnections, correspondence and much more. If they want they can answer posed questions immediately without hesitation, without tediously searching for correlations and without endlessly chasing down data.
New addresses make their way through the information pipeline – analogue as well as digital. Client representatives, executing companies, suppliers – they are all promptly entered into the system. The new employee also immediately receives a short memo.
A quick glance at the addresses, which are saved with pictures, is enough to visualize the people behind the correspondence.
New categories and address groups are necessary as they simplify the structured address search dramatically. Correlations and interconnections with other addresses can be pinpointed quickly. The connection between the new data and information becomes more and more complex.
The first project day is almost over. Now the only thing left to do is record the work hours, so that the spent work time can be accounted for later. But more about that on DAY 2.
Tuesday, Day 2
untermStrich® Tools of the Day
Efficiency is the motto of the day – time is of the essence. Following the successful team meeting, the hour specifications of the project phases are discussed. The target specifications are based on economic factors and serve as a guideline for the completion data, which is retrievable at any given time. The project leader mentions the importance of the performance description texts when recording hours, as the modification documentation, in particular, will play a decisive role in the billing later. At the beginning of the project only the currently applicable project phase will be activated to ensure that the information entered by the team members is accurate. The evaluation and continuation provides the operator certainty that the information received is correct and target oriented.
A smaller subsequent project is sent via e-mail and immediately allocated according to the project. An expert appraisal should clarify whether an additional structural component from another project can be extended through the building specifications. It is agreed that the services will be billed according to actual expenses. The time protocol starts promptly and the delivered service is documented to the minute. This is a fundamental aid for the billing documentation since the client appreciates precise calculation.
The contracts have been drawn up, the total fees have been calculated with the current HOAI Butler and the payment plan has been worked out. The office management updates this payment plan in untermStrich® as expected fees for the future – and lo and behold – incidentally liquidity for the next 18 months has increased. Now nothing stands in the way of purchasing the urgently needed IT tools for the new BIM work process. To be safe on both sides, the client’s payment behavior will be looked at one last time. He always pays within the contractually agreed period. This step is necessary; the bank conditions are becoming stricter and stricter and an unbalanced account can quickly need to uncertainty.
The first bill for the study of commissioned geodata is received; earlier than expected but fully legitimate and with a possible discount for prompt payment. The office management enters the bill into external costs following approval from the project leader. Good news – it didn’t exceed the budget! Since it will be necessary to hire further sub-planners for this project, a payment plan for their cost calculations and bills is also entered. The system is becoming more and more impressive. In the end one has a precise overview of all input and output and also a comparison with the services actually billed.
Have a quick glance at the comp hours for the team members. The new employee racked up a few overtime hours yesterday, so he should work less today.
The client shares modification wishes. Now it is particularly important to precisely document these hours and descriptions as this will serve as the basis for potential negotiations regarding additional services and their billing.
A smaller compact project can be billed according to actual expenses. The hour log serves as the basis. The project leader approves the hours actually worked and the office management sends a bill, which is automatically entered in fee management – a smooth workflow.
The project leader and the management must clarify a number of tricky questions regarding stages of completion and payment dates; all eventualities need to be looked into.
The project processes are becoming more complex; interim results are needed. The system has documented everything; now the only question is how simple or complex the analysis and the results should be. It’s too soon for a comparison of fees – but the other projects need to be checked as well. During this process it comes to light that one project has a surprisingly high number of meeting hours in phase 3. After reviewing the performance description of all team members, the client has to be constructively reminded of his decision-making role.
While going through the databank, a comparative cost graph from another project appears. This can be shown to management to better illustrate the priority work instructions need to be given in the near future.
Wednesday, Day 3
untermStrich® Tools of the Day
Finally – the first concrete tasks for the team members are on the agenda. The project leader assigns tasks and sets deadlines for completion.
Meetings with the authorities, to-do lists for design, the inspection of the supporting structure, the creation of formwork plans as well as the initial ventilation calculation and the preparation of building physics guidelines – and don’t forget the electro-technical guidelines as well as preliminary lighting-plan drafts. Despite the number of tasks, one cannot lose sight of the big picture – this is when the system proves itself again and again, as it supports the professional overview.
The jour-fixe meetings are scheduled. They are planned to last three hours and always take place on Wednesdays at 1:30 pm and always with a task list and a result-oriented target. The system sends a reminder regarding a presentation for the client.
During the planning meeting it is determined that the suggested deadlines cannot be met due to the number of tasks – a new schedule concept needs to be developed. An internal check is done to see if enough resources are available.
The check showed that other deadlines have to be postponed. In addition a check is conducted to see if the additional expenses can still be covered by the fee specifications.
In all the excitement over the new project the vacation times of the team members were almost overlooked. Unfortunately the vacation diagram shows that two desperately needed employees will be away in phase 3. However, thanks to untermStrich® it was recognized early enough and after consultation, the employees can postpone their vacations.
The system sends a reminder regarding a meeting with the client. You’re stuck in traffic and not going anywhere. After quickly checking the information in Addresses, a message is sent saying you’ll be about 20 minutes late.
A full workday comes to an end and with it the realization: thank goodness that there are systems that help with the organization.
Thursday, Day 4
untermStrich® Tools of the Day
New templates need to be created for the project, including the client’s logo, at their request. The sample forms are created partially in MS Office and partially in LibreOffice – according to wishes and specifications.
Office management provides new templates. A test run of the form, a personalized form letter, is sent to all 37 project participants. One can see how efficiently and quickly the system reacts.
A call from another building site requires swift action. An old document regarding the former definition and approval of the concrete surface is needed. The office management initiates a targeted search. Three appropriate documents are filtered out of 3,650 documents within just a few moments, proving once again that untermStrich® is unbeatable.
A disgruntled project member claims that he never gave the final approval for the realization of a construction project. Yet thanks to system documentation, the contrary can immediately be proven.
The preliminary drafts of the first plans for the new project are complete. With the digital plan register from untermStrich, every employee has instant access to the final and approved plans. This is a huge advantage for anyone who has to fill in for someone as a vacation replacement. When mailing documents, the office management can also access PDFs, real data and plans on the various platforms or in Direct Mail.
The initial plans of the project partner need to be checked – the management of this information is indispensable for the documentation of the work process and for avoiding questions down the road. One click and the specifications are assigned to the correct team member.
untermStrich® naturally documents e-mail communications according to project and individuals. Complete and comprehensible documentation proves to be helpful, especially now with a request regarding a statute-barred issue. One doesn’t have to worry about it anymore.
Delivery notes for the personal handover of initial plans are created automatically. Here again, it pays to put it in writing.
While preparing to give testimony in a legal case concerning a completed project, a list of all of the incoming and outgoing documents (mail, e-mails, letters and plans) from recent years is needed.
Thank goodness for precise documentation. Due to the flexible search filter, it’s done in no time.
While checking contacts in the databank an employee discovers by chance that the new sub-planner has worked for a direct competitor. All of this person’s data and statements are reviewed. False alarm – there was no cause for concern. As always untermStrich® provides the overview.
A brief look back at the week – the office management has all of the information. However the project leader overlooked the fact that the plan status on the platform urgently needs to be updated.
A sales rep drops off the newest folder with building materials. As time is of the essence at the moment, an entry is immediately made in the virtual library and a note is made in the office register. This saves the need for long searches.
Checking the hours, in particular the comp time and/or the pending overtime payments or hour reduction. After consulting the employees, it is agreed that the overtime hours will be converted to comp time next week. The review of the travel expenses is overdue – a quick check and all of the data is up to date.
Finally time to do a few crosschecks regarding the state of the company. The unique BUTLER system from untermStrich® can help.
Liquidity, payment behavior, cost overviews of all kinds, productivity information, fee overview and much more. Just the modification management alone, led one well-known office, which has successfully used untermStrich® for a while now, to a 87,500 € net increase in revenue – primarily as a result of simple proof of service and, of course, the negotiation skills of the managing director.
In addition, one other feature of the program was necessary for the windfall: the mainstay analysis of the top 10 clients. As a result of this analysis, management was reminded to get in touch with clients again and to ask about potential subsequent projects and recommendations.
Due to business ties, untermStrich® recommends simply calling top clients and asking how business is going or if they have the occasional invitation for a business dinner and if any projects are lined up or if they could offer a recommendation.
Conclusion for this week – finally you were able to concentrate on your work as an architect and engineer. The administration, the controlling and the management are working well and sustainably – the analyses are efficient and target-oriented in the adaptation. Now off for the weekend; you’ve earned some downtime!