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To what extent can VW be used for overall project management.  I see the design, estimating, documentation aspects of the software.  Does it have functionality in project management for design build?  Are there PM apps most compatible with VW?  The shiny plan and all the numbers are meaningless unless it can be executed efficiently?  Thoughts please?

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The PM menu is right between the Build 3D Plant and the Make Me A Ham Samwhich commands.

 

All PM software is compatible with vectorworks.  Simply print a PDF of you Gantt charts and they will come right into VWX with all of the functionality you would need (except for changing time, duration, dependencies, critical path, and assigning resources).

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This just keeps getting deeper and deeper.  Tell me if I'm wrong but I'm thinking VW can be given enough info to almost produce an estimate although I have tried software that claims to do that without success.  I have always resorted to using design software to give me quantity calculations then I work my magic numbers and come up with an estimate for my clients.  The design and data from it are used as reference for ordering material.   VW does a great job with takeoffs IMO.   I'm looking to schedule projects and be able to share with the crew so they know what, where, how long, what equipment and when the client says "while your here can you" they know call me get approval, say yes to the client and clock in under time an materials and get it done, tell me how long it took and what material they used all in a nice tidy place in cyber space.  I created a post about equipment management and in looking for that piece I found an app called Monday which looks promising then I see others like Trello.  It needs to work for my foreman and crew leaders too...Funny I say it like there are minions...Maybe someday labor will get back to work but I digress. 

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For something like this you need to have a centralized database of material and labor costs that all the projects can draw from.

 

VW can do something like this using an OBDC database, but getting it setup and connected properly to all of the VW objects will be a substantial and ongoing undertaking.

 

I spend a lot of time using VW records worksheets and I have never found it worth the time to try and develop and integrate an external database. It is easier and faster to export the quantities to Excel and do the costing calcs there for the projects I do.

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Yup that's pretty much what I do.  Now I will just find the PM app...Likely spread sheet based and stick it in the folder with all the other docs so the expectations are set.  I export to excel.  The one thing I have not yet succeeded in is to have my VW take offs export into an excel template so its the same format each time and I don't need to redo my calculation formulas.  That would be a key time saver.  It sends out the groups like shrubs, perennials, trees, loam, mulch etc but I almost need to recreate the form each time.  Is there a way to export to a template instead of just an excel spread sheet. 

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1 hour ago, Landartma said:

Yup that's pretty much what I do.  Now I will just find the PM app...Likely spread sheet based and stick it in the folder with all the other docs so the expectations are set.  I export to excel.  The one thing I have not yet succeeded in is to have my VW take offs export into an excel template so its the same format each time and I don't need to redo my calculation formulas.  That would be a key time saver.  It sends out the groups like shrubs, perennials, trees, loam, mulch etc but I almost need to recreate the form each time.  Is there a way to export to a template instead of just an excel spread sheet. 


Sad.

Spreadsheets are dead.  Business Management software is what you need, otherwise you are just wasting time.  Off the shelf or custom solutions are available.  Your competition knows this already.

 

Tying anything to Vectorworks via OBDC is high risk.  It breaks all the time and I wouldn’t want my critical business operations tied to Vectorworks given the deployment history and problems people encounter until all the bugs are fixed.

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Just now, Landartma said:

Yes the very reason I posted this here to see what people are using....Maybe the wrong forum but worth a try.  I'll find it.

 


I imagine you would be much better off consulting with business owners in your actual industry rather than a forum focused on design software.  It’s not to say you won’t find the answer you are looking for here, but it will likely be Maslow’s Hammer in Vectorworks form.  Think of it another way.  If you ask a bunch of people in the AEC industry for PM software, they are likely to recommend packages that track time, projects, and tasks with an integration into accounting.  If you ask a bunch of plumbers for the same recommendation for managing their work tickets, you are likely to find it all have job ticket management, inventory management, time tracking, accounting integration,  and perhaps GPS tacking integration.  If you ask a bunch of successfully landscape contractors what they use, you should find exactly what you need… which is a combo between what designers and plumbers use.

 

The landscape contractors I have consulted generally buy off the shelf because of cost/function.  Eventually, if they grow, they hit a wall with off the shelf and then opt for having a custom solution built, wishing they had gone that route all along.

 

If you are running a few small crews, use a handful of the same subs, and have less than 20 vehicles/equipment you are tracking… off the shelf is probably the right choice.

 

Custom solutions usually run $25k up and require participation from your bookkeeper & accountant.  They also typically involve $5k to $10k of annual support fees to keep everything running.  That makes sense if it replaces an employee with function and time savings.

 

Off the shelf usually caters to sole business owners who do it all and like to have their hands in the software, typically offering some training to get you started.

 

Custom built usually relies on total systems integration, iPads or similar assigned to foremen/PMs, and hosting data on the cloud or on your dedicated server.

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You are correct I tend to ask around though.  I found a couple off the shelf that will work.  Its not a big ask for what I'm doing...I'm managing under 6 people normally.  We are just happy artisans running around designing and installing cool stuff for peoples yards.  Those big ticket solutions are not what I need.  It looks like I'm going to need a full time tech person just to keep VW running unless I can figure out what dogging me.

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Have a look around the FileMaker Pro website. I used it years ago in my building remodeling business, to creat integrated apps for estimating, proposals, contracts, invoices and job cost tracking, etc.

These all in a database form.

The FM communiity is large and many solutions have been built for all kinds of things.

Worth checking out.

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