Timely and accurate quoting is without question vital to winning jobs and ensuring profitability. Unfortunately for too many fabricators, be they steel service centers, fab shops or job shops the process remains more of an art than a science with quotes varying wildly from one salesperson to the next. Let’s examine why this is and how you can win more jobs in today’s competitive landscape.
The way we Were
In the past, quoting often relied on the wisdom and best guesses of the most experienced salesperson. Part drawings or sometimes actual physical parts themselves were manually inspected and measured to determine weight and calculate the type and amount of material needed to run the job. Steel prices were usually estimated and after some quick calculations that part of the quote was done. Next secondary or finishing operations such as grinding, bending, welding, shipping, and so on were estimated and rolled into the quote. With a little luck, the job would be accepted – and with a lot of luck it would achieve maximum profitability.
For a surprisingly large number of fabricators the quoting process remains a black box known to a select few. Quotes are seemingly concocted using a dash of intuition, a little “gut feel” and a bit of tribal knowledge handed down over the years. As a result there are a small number of seasoned veterans entrusted to create quotes. To compound the situation this knowledge isn’t easily transferred to the next crop of quoting specialists. Fortunately, today’s quoting software standardizes the process by capturing this knowledge allowing even the newest estimator to accurately quote jobs.
The biggest obstacle your company faces is generating fast, accurate quotes. Why is this? Until recently, the answer was automation – or more precisely, a lack thereof. Just as some service centers are leveraging automation to expand offerings and attract new customers, some are leveraging automated quoting software to increase sales. The software utilizes intelligent machine calculators to understand what is required by the machine to develop a part. For example, if a part is too heavy, a crane may be needed to move a part also increasing the cost. Best of all, this intelligence is ingrained into the software meaning that you don’t have to be an expert to generate expert, profitable quotes.
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