Responding to RFPs with Fragmented Data Collection
How an Interior Design Firm cut their RFP production time by 65%.
The automated formatting of information on the sheets and having information in a single place is saving us a lot of time. Layer is centralized and automatic, which is super helpful.– Sara Lasseter
Internal to KSA
LAYER APP USES
Builder Template Library
→ Organized all project history information in a single place.
→ Generated visually appealing proposals with a single click.
→ Reduced errors and time required to create proposals.
The Challenge: Fragmented Data Collection
We all know that responding to an RFP for architectural services is time-consuming. “It was almost like a wild scavenger hunt every time we were going after an RFP. We wasted so much time on this hunt,” stated KSA Interiors COO, Sara Lasseter.
Her team sought to rethink their request for proposal (RFP) workflow. Their small architecture firm size necessitates that everyone participates in the RFP creation process. But due to a lack of standardized data capture, information was all over the place.
To add to the fragmentation, their multi-software workflow was clunky and prone to human error. The KSA Interior Design team previously relied on desktop-based Microsoft Access to track their project history. Lasseter spent four years creating and maintaining this database. From there, they would export into Excel to create pages or copy and paste text into InDesign for formatting.
They had to wrestle with both software to get their desired outcome – an on-brand and aesthetically pleasing RFP PDF.
Reinventing the wheel for every new RFP was not adding value for their firm. In fact, it took time away from design, client care, and mentoring.
The Solution: Centralizing Their Project History
To streamline their architectural RFP process, Lasseter and her team searched for a better solution. Their requirements? Something that is easy to use, customizable, and visually appealing.
Initially, the KSA Interiors team looked at Layer App for FF&E management. They were curious if they could use it for architectural RFPs as well. They gave it a shot and created a project database template in Layer App, where they could store each project as an individual row in the table.
While each project in their portfolio varied in scope, their projects share attributes. For example, every project had team members, site info, and sustainability requirements associated with it. Layer App’s Table View facilitated consistent data formatting and collection.
Their “aha” moment was when they realized they could replace their Excel and InDesign workflow with Layer App. “At first, we thought we were going to use Layer as a database to gather information,” Lasseter states. “When we discovered that we could generate appealing documents in app, we cut out InDesign from our RFP workflow entirely.”
They used Layer App’s Document Builder to visualize that data. The app’s flexibility allowed them to incorporate their graphic identity into the page design.
“One size does not fit all. The document builder allowed us to tailor the information we want to communicate.” After setting up the page templates, they generated reports automatically with Layer.
Layer App’s relational database functionality enabled the team to link their project database to their people database. As a result, employee resumes instantly populate with the projects they contributed to.
“The time investment in putting everything into a single database repository is worth the return. The output is so fast.”
Centralizing data and automating the PDF process resulted in greater efficiency in their RFP workflow. Their database serves as a template for every new RFP. When a new proposal comes along, the KSA team simply duplicates their master template and customizes from there.
Spent copying and pasting data between platforms
Reduction in RFP response time
Updates to resumes and project portfolio deliverables
About KSA Interiors
KSA Interiors is an interior design firm based in Richmond, VA. Their design team adopted Layer App for Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment specifications (FF&E), which enabled them to standardize their deliverables, share information with non-Revit users, and onboard new designers.