Lohfeld Consulting launches automated capture management tool
WinCenter builds collaboration into proposal and capture management
- By Stephanie Kanowitz
- Dec 16, 2013
A new tool to be released Tuesday promises to help government contractors win more business by connecting and automating the capture and proposal sides of contract bidding.
The Lohfeld Capture and Proposal Management WinCenter product eliminates the traditional segmentation of business development offices to let everyone involved follow the progress an opportunity through a single piece of customizable software.
“Various groups in business development organizations – historically almost all federal government contractors – are all working in their own little silos,” said Tom Gorman, WinCenter product manager at Lohfeld Consulting Group Inc., which developed the tool. “Using one system, they’re able to bring all that work and information together. It makes them more efficient and it gives them visibility across all those different activities.”
Developed by Lohfeld in partnership with Reston, Va.-based software firm CorasWorks Corp., WinCenter builds on the Lohfeld Capture and Command Center, released in 2010. The company wanted an updated tool that runs on Microsoft SharePoint and embeds Lohfeld’s signature 5-Phase Business Winning Process, which takes contractors from identifying potential contract opportunities all the way through post-submittal activities such as preparing for protests and archiving.
WinCenter lets users manage opportunities, action items, documents, reusable templates, graphics, reports and reviews in a standardized format from one location.
“A lot of companies don’t do a good handoff from the capture to the proposal development,” said William Rogers, chief workplace architect at CorasWorks. “That’s where our software comes into play. We have a work process that connects all of that. It also has a [searchable] repository all in the same place where all of the documents, data, presentations and reviews are all accessed from as opposed to it being all over the place.”
“It’s almost like two, three, five, seven modules, if you will, but all running on top of SharePoint in a single workplace,” he added. “You really eliminate those seams and you allow people to get visibility across this process. Having one view of the world and one way to get it done is the core differentiation for this product.”
Targeted for use by contractors of all sizes, WinCenter is also a virtual training tool. For novices, its built-in metrics help them make sure they’re not missing any steps in the process. More experienced contract managers can use it as a checklist.
Either way, WinCenter simplifies the system, Gorman said.
“What’s happening differently is normally that training, that education, that practice is just sitting on a whiteboard somewhere with posters on the wall, with a flowchart [and] there’s a 300-page manual,” Gorman said. “By taking that process and embedding it in the software with CorasWorks, now it’s a virtuous cycle where automation turns into best practices, which drives better consistency of process.”
Contractors that start their bidding work early and follow a disciplined process typically have an 85 percent win rate, while those without a formula win only 35 percent of the time, Rogers said.
“It’s pretty well known that a good process if followed will get you those win rates,” he said. “The problem is actually getting people to do the best practice. I’d say this solution might drive that about 50 percent closer and be the means to enable them to get to the kind of results you want to get.”
WinCenter also helps contractors get and stay organized. It provides a homepage for each deal they are pursuing with the government, giving the companies increased consistency and accountability, Gorman said. Additionally, users can integrate it with external systems, such as customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning and human resources systems.
“What this does is help these teams win more business, execute their captures more efficiently and also at the same time save them money,” he said.
Other key features include an enterprise asset library for retrieving and archiving data, work products, documents and graphs, and a dashboard that displays capture and proposal progress for each opportunity and reporting that can be customized according to which managers need updates and how they need to receive them.
Robert Lohfeld, chief executive officer of the company, said the pre-launch response to WinCenter has been positive.
“I think it’s a revolutionary tool, and I would put it in a category all to itself,” said Lohfeld, who is a regular columnist for Washington Technology. “In my view, it’s the first tool that I would call a business-winning tool as opposed to a business-tracking tool. There are products in the market that are tracking tools that keep track of all the things that you have done, but none of them drive you to win, coach you to win.”
Lohfeld Consulting plans awebcast on the new product on Jan. 22.
Stephanie Kanowitz is a freelance writer based in northern Virginia.