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D-Tools: Systems Integrator – Overlooked or underutilized features in SI? We’re calculating an answer for you even now.

Insights

4 Minute Read

11/27/2023

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Often as we continue to contemplate topics for these entries, working with our users seems to be our latest and greatest source of inspiration. In this article we will explore a perhaps underappreciated and underutilized feature such as Calculated Items.

Owing its very existence in SI to multiple feature requests from experienced users, this mechanism can, not only enhance values as they are automatically built-in to your SI Projects, but it can also ensure that such critical values are not omitted by your bid team.

It is such mechanisms that reassure our users on how the SI platform can be your best assistant on matters of profit, sales, productivity, procurement, etc. By ensuring that elements of the software are fully leveraged, you can calculate the best outcome for all users. Let’s take a deeper dive (if you will).


What is a calculated item?

A Calculated item in SI is a Product or Labor item that enables our users to determine the price from a custom-built formula that can source its values directly from the Project in which they are included.

Products

This type of Product will have all the same features that one is use to within the Product Explorer. The difference here of course is how such a product determines its pricing value.

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To begin this pricing evaluation, select the Price icon in the Product’s ribbon and then choose the radio option of Calculated. From here you now have the tools to engage pricing from both the Unit Cost (what you pay) and Unit Price (what they pay).

The really great feature of this mechanism is twofold:
First – the data fields that can be utilized for your pricing formula are numerous.

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Beyond the obvious use of product, labor, and installation pricing, SI users can source labor hours along with several Custom Fields in order to get the exact pricing sought.
Second – the method of application has numerous options as well.

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As viewed above here, the Filter designation allows our users to determine exactly how the pricing is applied in the Project or as part of an association/relationship e.g. Location, System, Phase, etc.

As a product, how might a calculated item serve our users? One very obvious application could be as a miscellaneous or consumables fee. Meaning, one could have such an item simply in a Project or as a part of the relationship structure by filtering to ensure the costs related to the use of said miscellaneous items are not omitted from the bill of materials.

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You could also deploy such a value for other fees such as freight or unknown products that could apply to adaptors/convertors whose model numbers might be determined at a later date.

Labor

And of course, this functionality can be used for labor evaluations. Perhaps this is the best use but you will have to be the judge of that yourself.

Again, the structure of the formula here is the same as that of the Product but perhaps a little more realistic in terms of the application. Meaning, team executions that rely upon project amounts for their value determination such as project management, system design engineering, programming, etc., could be perfect for this sort of use. A few examples of such use can be seen below here from my SI software:

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Let’s see how a couple of these might serve our users in a Project.

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Once included in your Project’s BOM, these additions (design, PM, and programming) are all sourcing their individual pricing data from the SI Project’s values. Even better, each one has its own unique formula making the use of this application incredibly beneficial to our users.

Unpacking this data with our Project Summary report, we can see the specific pricing if these Calculated Labor Items are referencing a Labor Type on their respective Price tab:

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This is by far the best way to use and associate this data for analysis once your projects are completed.
Note here that our Job Cost reports will assist you tremendously as well with such an endeavor.

A focused use approach

Per this entry, I just wanted to relay what I think is a very appropriate use of these calculated items.
And, that would be as an Accessory item. Specifically as a freight evaluation to a parent item that always incurs such a fee - e.g. a large LED panel.

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This use is similar to the association any other accessory application to items in your Product or Labor Explorer. It will be eligible for inclusion like any other Accessory. You need only make the determination for such usage when you make the Calculated item:

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As seen above here, the perspective is to check the designation for Current Parent Item and then the Calculated Accessory will only source its value from the corresponding pricing of that Parent item.

Many extrapolations of such usage are yours to explore and leverage to your maximum benefit and I would strongly recommend that you do so post haste.

A Perspective
Using your team’s creative resilience and practical needs, these Calculated items can serve you best by determining where they can fill in gaps in your quoting (the sin of omission) and/or by actually adding such items to determine your incurred project costs such as programming, project management, engineering, etc. Therefore, it behooves you and your team to explore these (and other features) by securing time with our Professional Services Group of SI/industry veterans in order to maximize your teams experience and usage.

In Summation…

-Create Calculated items in your Product and Labor Explorers.
-Add these items to your Projects per their respective filter applications.
-Unpack the related data with reports in your SI Project.
-Leverage this utilization scenario so that you include all necessary fees ensuring that nothing is omitted.
And as always…
-Get focused, get serious, and make money.

Enjoy!

With all of that said, there’s still plenty more in store for you with SI and forthcoming product releases so keep an eye out for future updates.

We are reviewing your Feature Requests to determine our best step forward and next course of action with future SI product releases so…“keep’em coming”!


In closing…

For more information on these and other features of SI v20, please see this link: D-Tools v20. You can also review our other videos and our usual support documentation.

You can also get more detailed information about v20 via our upcoming webinars and by enrolling in SI training with our PSG team. Please see this link here for our recent “What’s new in v20” webinar.

And don’t forget, that’s why we are here…to ensure your success with our product! Be sure to check back here next time for more on v20!!!

Doug