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COLAS

With XaitProposal, Colas can focus on the substance of their proposals rather than the superficial details

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Who is Colas?

Colas specializes in construction and maintenance of transport infrastructure (road, railway and air), urban planning and recreational installations. Their mission is to design, promote and implement infrastructure solutions for responsible mobility.

Today, Colas is 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.

Key business numbers: €13.2 billion in revenue, present in 50 countries, 57,000 employees.

Challenge

Previously, Colas managed proposals independently in every branch. Most proposal writers used Word, sometimes InDesign. It meant a lot of copying and pasting, with all the associated risks of mistakes, typos and errors.

Design-wise, there were as many layouts as there were branches – no coherence visually and a graphic charter that really suffered. Overall, they spent a lot of time struggling with formatting and design, and the results weren’t great. 

Solution 

The growing focus on technical notes in rating criteria led Colas to start using a proposal writing tool. This led their sales management to seek out proposal management software. XaitProposal was one of two software solutions they shortlisted. A head-to-head comparison of the two solutions led Colas to select XaitProposal.

“Its information security and the knowledge base that all users in a company share really made it stand out,” says Jean-Luc Gillot, Head of Department at Colas.

What documents does Colas use XaitProposal for? 

Today, any Colas 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.

Jennifer Flahaut, Engineering Department, provides further details:

“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.”

XaitProposal is used by more than 500 Colas workers today. About 60% of bids are created with XaitProposal, and their goal is to reach 100%. 

When XaitProposal was introduced, how did the teams react?

“Like any new tool,” says Gillot, “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. The reflex now is to complete the questionnaire and know the content in the proposal models.” 

Results

Thanks to XaitProposal, Colas has been able to focus on the substance of their proposals rather than the superficial aspects. Additionally, they have improved the quality of their technical proposals, and it has become much easier to apply their brand guidelines across agencies.

Reliable, up-to-date content
Before XaitProposal, having reliable content was a challenge. Thankfully, this is no longer an issue. According to Gillot, writers don’t have to go hunting around for reliable content – it’s all there and already available for all departments.

“Now proposal writers can focus on the substance rather than the superficial details. In the past, they had to spend so much time on the table of contents, page breaks… all the page layout.

Another benefit that Colas has found with XaitProposal, 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.

Improved substance and form
In XaitProposal, the user fills out a Multiple-Choice Questionnaire as part of a guided process. This leads the user to the completed document without having to create new content, or he/she has less of a need to create new content.

Gillot says that 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.”

Consistent brand identity
XaitProposal has enabled Colas to have documents that follow the company's brand guidelines, in all agencies. As a result, they now have harmonious proposals from one agency to another, says Flahaut:

“Our proposals are more uniform, and the layout is similar from branch to branch. That’s a real plus for the company image.” 

A user-friendly tool

XaitProposal’s user interface is very easy to understand and navigate. It takes only a short period of time for users to be able to produce documents after receiving basic training.

XaitProposal is very intuitive and user-friendly, according to Gillot:

“You don’t have to worry about the table of contents, numbering or page layout at all. Also, it’s reassuring to the teams to see how the software functionalities evolve and change.”

Jennifer Flahaut sums up what the users’ favorite XaitProposal functionalities are:

“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.”

Future plans

In most companies, XaitProposal is initially implemented within a single department before being expanded to other departments. It's the same with Colas.

“We are working on an Individual Health and Safety Protection Plan for all of our site managers,” concludes Jean-Luc Gillot. “And we’d like to bring other departments along with us on this journey – the technical department, major projects, etc.” 

About Xait

Xait is a global technology company founded in 2000 that produces and delivers software for document automation, collaboration and intelligent pricing. Our mission is to help enterprise clients win business by supporting their sales enablement efforts from quote to contract. We are passionate about challenging industry mindsets and developing products that improve the way people work together.

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