Best Practices

How Concora’s Submittal Generator Can Increase Product Selection

By November 20, 2019 May 26th, 2020 No Comments

The latest improvement to our platform, Concora’s Submittal Generator, can indicate purchase intent, capture valuable project data, and provide a superior user experience for AECs. In this article, we’ll discuss what building product manufacturers need to know about submittals and how having a purpose-built submittal tool on your website can improve relationships with commercial decision makers and ultimately increase product selection. 

What is a submittal package?

Submittal packages are the main communication mechanism for subcontractors to bid on construction projects, get approval for which building manufacturers they want to use in a commercial project, and get approval for any product change requests.

Submittals are created, approved, and revised throughout the entire design and construction lifecycle, and nearly every decision-making group—architects, engineers, contractors, subcontractors, vendors, and owners—gets involved at some point.

submittal workflow diagram

Generally, subcontractors and vendors (at the request of subcontractors) will create submittals. They will combine the manufacturer’s technical product content with their internally created files (shop drawings, floor plans, and more) and send them for approval to architects, engineers, and general contractors.

During the bidding stage of the design-bid-build process, building owners hire contractors to perform specific work under the building project contract. While engineers and architects can specify products during design, contractors also have control over product selection, as they are expected to prepare many reports for review and approval by the building owner. 

Submittal generation typically happens at the beginning of a project. AECs need your technical content to be easily accessible, up-to-date, and accurate in order to keep the project on track. Hard to find, old, or inaccurate files can cost everyone in the communication chain time and money, which can lead to the subcontractor choosing a different manufacturer who has the correct files.

What makes submittals valuable during product selection?

  1. Intent to purchase: Because submittals propose only a small group of manufacturers for specific project needs, submittals that include your products are one of the best indicators of intent to purchase a product.
  2. Data capture: If a design professional creates a submittal on your website, you can obtain valuable project data that can help your sales team understand the exact needs of a potential customer.
  3. User experience: Imagine how much time AECOs could save with easy access to submittal creation via your website. By providing the ability to streamline their workflow, you’re providing a positive experience that will increase brand loyalty.

Why do construction submittals on most manufacturer websites fall short?

According to our research, most manufacturers host their products and technical content via WordPress or other older CMS solutions. They often don’t have the time, resources, or system in place to properly maintain their content on their own, which can deter commercial decision makers from selecting their products.

Let’s look at an example scenario:

John works as a subcontractor at a mechanical plumbing prefabrication and installation company. After he receives a spec for a project and is asked to create a submittal, he immediately looks for products that could match the spec by searching through manufacturers’ websites for the technical product content needed to make that decision.

When a manufacturer’s website is clumsy or slow, John runs into a number of roadblocks depending on how the manufacturers deliver their content. If the product content is scattered throughout the site and it takes too long for him to find everything he needs, he will leave and go to another manufacturer. John will more than likely never visit these websites again.

Even if John finds the right products for a submittal, he downloads each file individually and has to send them to a Project Management Software like Procore to get approval. He dislikes submittal tools that combine PDFs because he has to manually separate them to put them into the Project Management Software. 

How do I manage a submittal for construction with Concora’s solution?

Our Submittal Generator tool makes submittal creation as frictionless as possible. Your AEC customers will quickly find your products, add products to their project, and create the documents they need. This helps minimize the number of steps AECs must take on a manufacturer’s website, and eliminating speed bumps in this way ensures every AEC customer gets an awesome customer experience. 

We have designed our submittal tool to seamlessly import into other widely-used project management systems like Plangrid, SmartSheet, and Procore’s submittal generators, so users can easily upload your product files into their internal software. 

In Conclusion 

There is no question that most manufacturers host their content in a CMS to present and showcase their products. However, with these large CMS solutions, there can be a tremendous amount of time and cost that goes into keeping your website updated, stable and secure. Additionally, most general CMS solutions don’t provide tools, like submittal generators, that are specific to the construction industry. 

With a dedicated IT professional who manages of all of these aspects of your site and a CMS purpose-built for building product manufacturers, chances are an all-in-one platform like ours would make the life of you and your AEC customers a lot easier.  With our submittal solution, you can help your commercial customers get approval faster.