Question: – Bodgett & Son is a building firm of medium size, working for a single central office. They carry out most kinds of general building work and have expanded greatly in recent years. They are in the process of developing new systems to handle their administration tasks and have already computerized the accounts area. The next area of investigation is the estimating and management of building work, or ‘jobs’.
All work carried out by Bodgett& Son is preceded by a formal estimate, carried out by an outside surveyor or, for smaller jobs, an employee.
When an estimate request is received from a prospective customer the administration section assesses the likely size of the job and selects either a surveyor from their standard list of acceptable surveyors or a suitable Bodgett employee. The administration section keeps the surveyor list up to date from changes supplied by Bodgetts’ manager. Surveyors are contacted to check that they are available at the time requested by the customer and entered onto a booking sheet. At the end of each day, a member of the administration section will use the booking sheet to draw up booking letters to send out to surveyors.
Surveyors (or employees) return the completed estimate to admin, which then prepares a formal estimate letter for the customer. Large pieces of building work may be subdivided into a number of smaller jobs. Details of the estimate and jobs are filed in the estimates file.
Customers will usually send back a slip at the bottom of their estimate detailing their acceptance or rejection of some of or the entire estimate. The estimated file is then updated by an admin, and any acceptance forms placed in a tray for processing later in the day by the job administrator.
The job administrator then picks up the acceptance forms and retrieves the relevant estimate details from the estimate file. Details of work already booked for Bodgett are held in the job file. The job administrator checks these details and the newly accepted estimates are scheduled around these existing jobs. Most jobs will at this point be subdivided into a number of much smaller tasks. The job administrator will create a materials order line for any building supplies that are needed for a task and attach these to the task details for order placement by the order clerk at the start of the next working day. There may be more than one order line for any given task.
All new jobs and estimate details are then placed at the front of the job file and labeled as ready for ordering. The job administrator then notifies the customer of the provisional start and finish date for their work.
The order clerk checks the beginning of the job file each morning and groups together materials orders for placement with suppliers. Copies of each order are then placed in an orders file at the storeroom entrance. The job file is marked as ‘order placed’. As materials are received the order copies are updated until they have been fully satisfied. The job file is then updated to show which tasks have materials ready for them. When the materials for the last task in a job are ready the job itself is marked as ‘ready’.
The staff office maintains a list of employees and what skills each one has. This list is constantly updated as the manager hires new employees. Each day the job file is checked and the jobs that are ready are compared with the employee list. Each task record is matched with a single employee and annotated with when the employee is free to carry out the work. One employee will be designated as a job supervisor. When all tasks have been allocated the staff office will know the firm start and finish dates for the job and the customer is notified.
The job supervisor will monitor the progress of each job and keep the job file updated. It may be necessary to change the start and finish dates for a job, in which case it is the responsibility of the supervisor to notify the customer.
Once the job is finished, the job supervisor will fill out a completion notice and send copies to the customer and to the accounts section and will attach a further copy to the job file.