Whether you are an engineer, end-user, manufacturer, contractor, or distributor, the process of composing or evaluating bid documents can be quite complex and time-consuming. Keep in mind that the end goal is to deliver a high quality product at a fair price that meets or exceeds customer expectations. However, without clear guidelines, many items might be left open to interpretation. At the end of the day, one bidder is quoting a blue minivan and another a red sports car when the customer was really wanting a white pick-up truck. Meanwhile everyone involved is pulling their hair out trying to determine what to offer or attempting to evaluate dissimilar bids. Sounds all too familiar, right?
The solution? Leave as little as possible open to interpretation. Although creating detailed design specifications can be very time-consuming initially, the investment yields huge benefits. And the difference between a well written “spec” and a weak one can make or break a project. The key benefits of a good spec are:
Defines Project Scope in Detail
- Clarifies design objectives and deliverables with a thorough synopsis of the intended function, quality, performance requirements, and installation of equipment
- Assures that all parties involved understand the expectations of the end user
- Provides an opportunity to elaborate on requirements included in drawings
Time & Cost Savings
- Allows customer to compare “apples to apples” quotes from bidders
- Reduces project costs by minimizing bidders’ risk
- Minimizes delays and change orders due to varying expectations and interpretations among the engineer, contractor, and end user
Built-in Measure of Quality Control
- Reduces potential quoting errors when piecemealing various standards and checklists
- Aids in identifying bids and/or equipment that is not in compliance with the specifications
- Serves as a written contract in the event there is discrepancy between what is delivered by the seller and what is expected by the buyer
Regardless of your role in a project, well-written specifications are a critical component to ensuring the customer is pleased. Comprehensive specifications are best written by technical writers who are very knowledgeable and are experts in their respective field.
Speaking of industry experts…ESL Power Systems, Inc. has published a variety of thorough specification documents for engineers to utilize in composing complete and accurate project packages. Specifications include: Reefer Outlet Assemblies, Military Shore Power Mounds, Manual Transfer Switches, Generator Docking Stations, Company Switches, and Wayside Power Cabinets.
Share your story on how detailed design specifications worked in your favor on a particular project OR describe a situation where miscommunication and a lack of guidelines took the reins.