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Understanding a design firm's resource allocation

By Healthcare Facilities Today
January 8, 2014

You’ve selected the architect for your healthcare project and you’re ready to start. You feel confident you have made the right decision and have a good idea of what your design costs will be based on the architect’s proposal. Have you asked how the firm manages its resources to ensure project schedules across the entire firm are staffed appropriately to meet ever changing schedule needs? According to a blog on the Facility Care website, the answer to this question will be a better predictor of a firm’s success in meeting your project schedule than a fancy colored spreadsheet with names and hours.

"One of the “dirty little secrets” of the A/E industry is that many firms have a limited understanding of their staffing requirements for both current work and work they are pursuing. For many firms, resources flex when month end P&L statements come out, putting them in a reactionary mode and their client’s project schedules in jeopardy.

"Not having a clear understanding of the quantity and type of resources required for both current work and work under pursuit can be problematic for your project. For a firm to clearly understand if it has the capacity and the type of expertise needed to meet a project schedule – and to do something about any shortfall – it must have a resource allocation process that is fluid, real time and considers both current and projected work," wrote George Shmidheiser, a registered architect and chief operating officer for Array Architects.

According to the blog, some designers resort to Excel spreadsheets to forecast staffing requirements. Using spreadsheets with static data, to achieve a timely understanding of a firm’s resource needs and projections is nearly impossible. You need to understand the process that team uses ongoing, not a snapshot of a spreadsheet developed to meet a requirement of your RFP.

Using a resource allocation process that is proactive and that must be integrated with daily timesheets requires resource plans to be prepared for all current and proposed work, and must be reconciled with project schedules at least on a biweekly basis. This process ensures a clear understanding of resources levels required to meet project schedules and client commitments across the entire firm, the blog said.

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