Cutting Edge Industry Knowledge!

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Cutting Edge Industry Knowledge!

Postby SolX » Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:07 pm

Take advantage of this year's 2009 Axium Conference. The one A/E event you don't want to miss! This year is full of cutting edge industry knowledge!

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2009 Axium Conference is OPEN to all A/E Professionals!
Find Axium Conference Details http://www.axiumae.com/AC09



Industry Best Practice Sessions:

Keynote: Why Project Management?
Few activities are as complex as building design and construction. The fundamental element of success for a design firm is its project management system. The key players in meeting client needs, staying within design and construction budgets and achieving a profit are the firm’s project managers. In a single word, the project manager’s job is to communicate with all team members. Job cost reporting systems provide valuable information for this communication process. This keynote address will highlight the importance of an effective project management system. This Keynote is designed for all attendees.


Dramatically Improving Collections and Cash Flow
Do you aspire to be average? When it comes to being paid for your hard work, being average just isn’t good enough! Did you know that the average A/E firm has 66 days of sales in accounts receivable? The sad truth is that many firms are doing far worse. It is not unusual for firms to average well over 100 days. Unfortunately, our instincts are to blame the client. After all, it has always been this way. Clients are always slow to pay. If we demand timely payment, won’t they just go somewhere else? The truth of the matter is that we have only ourselves to blame! Did you know that the vast majority of clients could be trained to pay in 40 days or less? This session will lead you through a proven systematic process that will dramatically improve your firm’s cash flow.
This discussion is designed for all attendees.


Earned Value Analysis
One of the most important and difficult aspects of project management is knowing the schedule and budget status of the project at any given time. Many solutions have been tried, however most are cumbersome, difficult to access and as a result are not used consistently. Earned value analysis is a simplified approach to this problem and gives reliable, timely information as to project schedule and budget status. This session covers the theory of earned value analysis and presents case studies of the application of the process. You’ll come away with a practical understanding of the concepts and will be able to apply them to your firm. This discussion is designed for all attendees.


Project Management: A Profit Perspective
A lively interactive session on project management strategies that are essential to producing consistent profits. This session will focus on proven strategies to reducing unpaid scope creep, managing staff, meeting budgets and improving cash flow. Using sample project information, we will conduct a mock project business review. The purpose of this review is to identify problems such as scope creep, budget over-runs, past due accounts receivable and come up with workable action oriented solutions. The goal of the project business review is to produce a 20% + profit on every project. This discussion is designed for all attendees.

Where is My Firm Headed?
Comparing the results of three reports can have a very telling tale. In this session you’ll learn how the Backlog, Sales, and Billing Reports relate to one another and how they can be utilized to forecast the direction of your firm. Gauging whether your firm is expanding or contracting does not have to be driven by “gut feeling”. Firms will also learn how to structure their policies and procedures to support the creation and maintenance of these reports. This discussion is designed for all attendees.


5 + 2 = A Lot More Than 7 (or Magic Five)
Project management and accounting software, specific for the A/E industry, tracks and maintains data that is vital to the effective management of a firm. This data is produced as a by-product of the everyday operations of the firm. Yet firms are still left scrambling and often unprepared when faced with preparing:
    Revenue Projections
    Cash Flow Projections
    Backlog Reports
    Sales Reports or Sales Reports with Backlog Velocity
    Earned Value Analysis Reports
    Cost at Completion Reports

In a typical firm most of the outputs above are done on a special project basis that interferes with everyday operations and upon completion are immediately out of date. There are just five key data points required to produce the outputs outlined above. These data points are part of the Ajera, PORTFOLIO and Protrax systems. Maintaining these fields will unlock the power of your database. Add two more data points to the mix and most firms can say goodbye to offline reporting and special projects.

This session will focus on providing the techniques and strategies for maintaining these fields. Participants will learn:
The magic five data fields plus the optional two
Options for maintaining these fields
The critical information that can be unlocked by maintaining these fields
Insights and techniques to have these fields maintained by the PM or accounting group

This discussion is designed for all attendees.


Controlling Project Design Costs
Addressing one of the biggest challenges a firm faces, this session reveals effective approaches to keep design costs within budget – emphasizing what to do before you sign a contract. Learn how to organize your firm for profitable project delivery, and brainstorm ideas for turning around a troubled project. This discussion is designed for all attendees.


Fundamentals of EVA: Part 1 and Part 2
The majority of project schedule and budget problems can be avoided or mitigated if a project manager recognizes variances to their project early enough and based on this recognition, take corrective action. The key is to recognize there is a change and to have time to get the project back on track. One of the best methods for day-lighting potential problems in a timely manner is earned value analysis (EVA). Using EVA provides time to make corrections and achieve project success.

This course presents the earned value analysis method with a case study and a hands-on EVA exercise. It covers the following:

    Preparing a projected expenditure forecast
    Estimating progress for each task
    Computing overall project progress
    Determining schedule status
    Determining budget status
    Using EVA to get back on track
    How to use EVA in your firm (PIC mentoring and coaching)

Client Feedback: Learn a Simple System to Enhance Your Firm
Is client feedback important to you? Do you have a need to know just what your clients want and need from you as a vendor? This session will help you understand how a design firm can create a simple system to collect and incorporate client feedback. Utilizing six key principles, this system builds real value for your firm by fine-tuning your process to better meet your client’s needs. Learn to use client feedback to reduce problems, increase performance, and improve profitability.

Improvements include:
    Increased value to your client
    Reduced wasted time and effort
    Enhanced professional satisfaction
    Decreased mistakes and project liability

*Attend Part 2: Advanced Techniques for Collecting & Utilizing Client Feedback. This discussion is designed for all attendees.


Defining the Design Firm Project Manager
Many individuals in firms hold the title of project manager (PM), but few function as full charge PM’s. This session defines the appropriate role of a project manager and discusses necessary characteristics and skills. Training and mentoring issues will be discussed. A variety of suggested project management forms and tools will be provided. This discussion is designed for all attendees.


Advanced Techniques for Collecting and Utilizing Client Feedback
This session will help attendees recognize specific advanced strategies in successfully collecting and incorporating client feedback. Learn how to collect feedback to maximize its usefulness. You’ll see systems that use objective feedback to help firms:

    Understand the strengths and challenges of their team members
    Set more accurate rates and fees
    Understand the needs and preferences of clients
    Increase their value to their clients in a professionally effective way

Prior attendance at our Basic Client Feedback Session is recommended for those not currently using a feedback system. This discussion is designed for all attendees.


Project Management for Design Firm Financial Managers
This session guides design firm financial managers through the steps required for project pricing, scope definition, project budgeting, status monitoring and project administrative activities. Emphasis is placed on how financial managers can provide required information to project managers. This discussion is designed for all attendees.

Financial Power Tools to Survive the Downturn
You know the phrase, “failing to plan is planning to fail,” in this current economic recession, this statement could not ring more true. The recent economic crunch is forcing us all to take a deeper look into ways of surviving this downturn and thriving in the future. We’ll provide an overview of many significant issues to make you aware of the financial power tools that are available. You’ll leave with a “toolbox” of ideas to improve your firm during this downturn and succeed in the future. This discussion is designed for all attendees.


People Skills for Project Managers
In a word, a project manager’s (PM) job is to communicate. The most effective PM’s often have the best communications skills. This session discusses the key skills needed for effective writing, how to be a good listener, and how to develop successful public speaking skills. Time management and running effective meetings will be discussed. This discussion is designed for all attendees.


Overhead and FAR Rules
The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is the principal set of regulations issued by agencies of the Federal Government of the United States to govern what is called the “acquisition process,” which is the process through which the government purchases (“acquires”) goods and services. FAR Part 31 establishes the requirements regarding the allow-ability of costs charged against Federal-aid contracts. This session will:

    Discuss the complex cost principles applicable to fixed-price and cost-reimbursement contracts
    Discuss the fundamental concepts of Part 31
    Review selected items of costs specifically addressed in Part 31
    Review the audit process

This discussion is designed for all attendees.


Performance-based Compensation Plans
This session will discuss performance-based compensation plans and how they can motivate the right behaviors from your employees to make your firm more profitable. The process includes:

    Developing an understanding of the current compensation parameters
    Obtaining an overview of events that impact the structure of compensation
    Reviewing and assessing the existing compensation system
    Gaining an understanding of the division of responsibilities among owners/employees
    Defining the objectives and goals of establishing a new compensation system
    Obtaining documentation of job responsibilities and discussing and establishing incentives


Taking this knowledge into account, a performance-based compensation plan is structured to meet the needs of the owners and business. This also includes assisting with the development of critical success factors (CSFs) and key performance indicators (KPIs) by job classification and providing tracking templates that include these measurements as well as a scorecard mechanism to track performance. This discussion is designed for all attendees.


Calculating and Understanding Financial Ratios
Understanding how to calculate financial ratios and the meaning of them is essential in our current economic time. It is important in benchmarking your firm against your peers and in measuring your firm’s history. This session will outline how to calculate key A/E financial ratios, the meaning of them and how to use them to create strategic initiatives to improve them. This discussion is designed for all attendees.

For Registration and Conference Details http://www.axiumae.com/AC09
SolX
 
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