Colas specializes in construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure (road,railway and air), urban planning and recreational installations. Today they are present in 50 countries spread across every continent. Colas manages roughly 100,000 worksites every year and is a world leader in road construction and maintenance.
DISCOVER OUR INTERVIEW
Head of department – Engineering department – COLAS
and Jennifer FLAHAUT – Engineering
department – COLAS
How did you work before XaitProposal?
Jean-Luc GILLOT : Proposals were managed independently in every branch. The proposal writers generally worked in Word, sometimes Indesign. That meant a lot of copy and pasting, with all the related risks of mistakes, typos and errors in content. And in terms of image, there were as many layouts as there were branches – no coherence visually and a graphic charter that really suffered, so lots of time spent on this front with not very satisfactory results.
What led you to start working with a proposal writing tool?
Jean-Luc GILLOT :There’s a growing focus on the technical notes in rating criteria and that led our sales management to seek out the service; they found two software solutions, including XaitProposal. Its information security
Today, what documents exactly do you use XaitProposal for?
Jennifer FLAHAUT : Today, any branch can respond fully to calls for tender. Proposal writers create the technical proposals as well as the specific technical documents such as official waste management, environmental management and quality plans.
Additionally, applications are also created using XaitProposal, and it is a real advantage to be able to access all the right administrative and legal documents even when a particular colleague is absent.
Jean-Luc GILLOT : Today, more than 500 people use XaitProposal for their proposals. Roughly 60% of bids are created using XaitProposal; our aim is to reach 100%.
How did the teams react to XaitProposal when it was introduced?
Jean-Luc GILLOT : Like any new tool, XaitProposal requires you to leave your comfort zone and learn new skills. That’s easier or harder depending on the person… In the past, it was just a reflex to copy and paste, now the reflex is completing the questionnaire and knowing the content in the proposal models. You don’t have to worry about the table of contents, numbering or page layout at all. It’s a pretty user-friendly, intuitive tool. Also, it’s reassuring to the teams to see how the software functionalities evolve and change.
What advantages do you see already?
Jean-Luc GILLOT : The first advantage is having reliable content! Writers don’t have to go hunting around for it – it’s all there already and available for all departments. Proposal writers now can focus on the substance rather than the superficial aspects, where in the past they had to spend so much time on the table of contents, page breaks… all the page layout.
The questionnaire also helps writers learn about content they may have been unaware of! Our technical proposals have absolutely improved in substance and in form; a good-looking technical proposal leads to success.
Jennifer FLAHAUT : Another advantage is that when one office has to put in a bid for a specific market, they can easily get a technical proposal to use as a starting point and take advantage of up-to-date content. Lastly, the proposals are more uniform, the layout is similar from branch to branch and
that’s a real plus for the company image.
What are users’ favorite XaitProposal functionalities?
Jennifer FLAHAUT : The merge fields are really easy and reliable, the knowledge base provides solid, approved content, the document outline lets us easily adapt our proposals to the customer, and the questionnaire means we include every piece of relevant information and are constantly improving.
Jean-Luc GILLOT : We are working on an Individual Health and Safety Protection Plan for all of our site managers. And we’d like to bring other departments along with us on this journey, the technical department, major projects, etc.