Supplying Projects with What They Need for Success Through Communication and Collaboration
July 25, 2022 – Lakewood, CO — After two years of increasingly tumultuous and uncertain times, the number of obstacles that impede projects have increased infinitely. One crucial team to thank for keeping Encore Electric projects on track despite these obstacles is the Encore Electric purchasing department.
Consisting of Purchasing Managers Brian Aegerter and Erin Buker, this duo works to get the right materials for projects at the right time at the right price. Between wars, pandemics, sky high gas prices and more, the supply chain has been pushed to its limits across the globe. Aegerter and Buker have met these obstacles head on, ensuring they “buy right” for all Encore Electric projects.
“When we started the purchasing group, we had a few goals in mind; buy smarter, develop relationships at the manufacturing level, and get more accurate quotes during the preconstruction process,” said Executive Vice President Jeff Thompson. “We are seeing great results with Erin and Brian teaming up and helping the jobsites and preconstruction.”
“Buying right” includes a highly involved purchasing process designed to support our growing list of projects with complex needs and multiple points of contact. Creating a process to plan ahead and anticipate challenges has allowed Encore Electric to avoid the purchasing and supply challenges faced by many during these trying times. Despite numerous obstacles the purchasing team’s buying strategy was able to save Encore Electric 10% last year on material costs.
The team’s complex operation relies on a high level of communication and collaboration. To aid the purchasing process, the team has developed a resource where all users, from project teams to distributors to the purchasing team, can connect to get the materials needed to complete projects. The tool has allowed for an open communications terminal for involved parties to stay on the same page and plan appropriately to keep projects moving.
In addition to this tool, the purchasing team has also made an effort to involve themselves in projects before they are officially won. Knowing what projects are in the pipeline helps the purchasing department to anticipate material needs before they are ordered.
“We work every day to prepare and bring solutions to the field and build relationships with the professionals on our projects,” said Buker. “Our main goal is reducing risks to help our projects succeed. From the unknowns of pricing, what materials are available, and how they’re going to get to the job, we want to keep our people prepared and planning to reduce the risk of anything getting in the way.”
Open communication on what is happening in the market and on job sites with all involved players keeps projects informed and helps the purchasing team support project teams for success.
“We have a lot to offer, a ton of knowledge and expertise to share,” said Aegerter. “It’s so gratifying to act as a resource to our teams to help make them successful.”
Jason Becker, Encore Electric senior project manager, has leaned on the team for support on many large projects.
“Brian and Erin have been very helpful with the purchasing on SCL West. At the beginning of the project during the schematic design (SD) level drawing stage, the preconstruction team recognized that commodity escalation was going to be a big issue in getting materials on site in a timely manner,” said Becker. “This was one of the fastest-paced hospital projects that we have ever built, so getting materials on-site and within the budget was going to be a big hurdle that we needed to be able to get over.”
Thanks to the help of the purchasing department, Becker was able properly inform his project team as well as the customer on how to avoid anticipated challenges.
“The first effort early on in the project was to be able to understand where commodity pricing was moving,” said Becker. “There were some people on the team that were not sure that escalation was going to be a long-term issue and that pricing and availability would be a short-term issue. Through many discussions with Encore Electric’s purchasing team, they were able to get us information and evidence to show the ownership group that this was not a temporary problem. We were able to show the necessary backup to the construction team so they were comfortable committing those early purchase orders before drawings were completed and the final pricing was set. We would not be able to do this without the help and guidance of the purchasing department.”
A top priority of the purchasing team is staying informed on the many variables at play to obtain project materials for successful projects. By sharing market and purchasing knowledge with Encore Electric teams on the ground, Aegerter and Buker set Encore Electric teams up for success by arming them with the information they need to complete their projects on time.
“We want to be there to support and partner with our people,” said Buker. “Every day and every project are complex in their own ways. We love embracing the challenge to help the Encore Electric team succeed.”