A bill of resources is a detailed discussion of the resources necessary to complete a project. Along with a bill of materials that breaks down the necessary supplies, it provides information about what a company or organization will need throughout the course of a planned activity. This information is critically important for planning. A project manager can use it to develop a timeline and to start ordering supplies, allocating resources, and preparing for moving production into high gear.
This document discusses the labor necessary, including specifications for personnel like machine operators, engineers, and so forth. The bill of resources also explores the equipment and facilities that may be necessary, along with resources like communication networks to distribute information. Any materials that will be required, like raw metals to make a product, are listed in the separate bill of materials.
One of the important parts of the bill of resources involves the identification of resources deemed critical. A resource can fall into this category for one of two reasons: supply or lead time. If a resource is in short supply, it is critical because the company needs to secure a supply before it starts work. For example, a construction company may have a limited number of qualified equipment operators. They need to be scheduled with care to balance the needs of all ongoing construction projects.
Long lead time can also be an issue. If a resource needs substantial lead time, the project manager needs to build that time into the overall time frame for the project to ensure that work on the resource starts on schedule. Thus, for example, if a project requires a communications network and one is not present, technicians may need to perform wiring, system set up, and other activities, which could create a long lead time because of all the components and steps in the process. This can be discussed in the bill of resources to make planners aware of timing needs.
Clients in discussions about projects may work with the bill of resources to learn more about the company’s time and cost estimates on a proposal. Representatives of the company can highlight the key information for the benefit of the customer and may offer suggestions and advice on how to adjust the scope and scale of the project if it appears to be over time or over budget. Companies can refer to prior bills of resources to learn more about the accuracy of historic estimates on similar projects, and can use these records to improve estimates and provide information that will be as reliable as possible.