Too many buyers either don’t know, or ignore, the dynamic phases of project development.
They think it happens during the development of a product specification. The users, engineers and insider experts get together and create a detailed description of what they want. Surely there’s some debate, and perhaps argument, over this list of wants and desires. Clearly there’s some disputes over exactly what should be built or how it should be installed. Some may push and pull at this stage, but it’s not exactly dynamic. At this sage there’s less imagination and more turf protection.
So they set a spec and it goes out to a few vendors for bids. One gets the nod and work begins.
Now comes the dynamic phase. The vendor seeks clarification about the choices, alternatives and selections. The vendor knows more about what might be added, adjusted or altered, so they ask. This often amazes the customer, who genuinely had no idea.
It goes like this. The vendor asks the customer, “Do you want this in red or green.” The customer does a double take and replies, “Wow, it comes in colors?” The light goes on and they comment, “Then how about blue, yellow and orange also?” When the customer is fully exposed to the possibilities; their original concept – the one originally specified – falls by the wayside.
Now things truly start to change. The buyer sees what really will benefit his company and improve his operation. He orders adjustments, small at first but increasing in number, until it becomes significant. Pretty soon it’s run away change orders. The budget goes into the crapper and the project plan goes south.
The traditional order of imagine, specify, solicit, select, and suffer is all wrong. Instead, first select a vendor for the project. Engage them up front and move the dynamic phase forward – before scoping and contracting the project. Make use of their varied experience with other customers and their superior knowledge of the equipment they sell.
It will result in better project completion, lower total costs, fewer change orders, no cost overruns and a finished system that is entirely fit for purpose. Trust me, when it’s done, you won’t see red.
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