April 2014: Between the initial project brief and delivery of the project there are a number of opportunities for the selection the best materials for optimum performance and elimination of unnecessary cost.
The people (the value engineers) who undertake these tasks are beset by a number of challenges one of which is the acquisition of reliable and useful information.
Where to get such information? There are a variety of published information and data which is either in the public domain or can be acquired from suppliers and manufacturers. Whilst this is good and no doubt thoroughly useful – such information can be overwhelming, time consuming to wade through and there is no guarantee it provides the value engineer with the answer they are looking for, and it can be out of date.
What is the role of a sales-people in value engineering? Sales reps often get a “bad rap” but this sometimes understandable attitude is driven by the performance of poor salespeople. The result of this is that the value engineer might be tempted to ignore invitations to meet, put off or decline rep visits, shorten the time given to the call.
A good sales person seeks to understand the client, knows the product and makes the benefits of the product clear and relevant to the customer and adds value to the client. Knowledgeable, with up to date information supplied by the company resources behind him or her, a good salesperson is a repository of information – a quick reference point.
Potentially a more efficient way of acquiring pertinent information than wading through masses of published data. If they can’t provide the precise detail at that time then they will point the value engineer in the right direction, or provide the relevant information later.
The reality however is most salespeople don’t quite match up to the “good” salesperson. So, understandably, value engineers tend to ask themselves: “Is it still worth taking time to see the reps that call me every day?”
On balance we would say: absolutely! Even the mediocre rep has good days where you may hit upon a subject they know a lot about – and the rep can, with a bit of encouragement, be used to go and find that bit of information that the value engineer needs, while they get on with something else.”