A 3 Step Process to Calculating Metal Fabrication Costs

Speed to Quote in Metal Fabrication

In addition to price, there are several other variables that influence a buyer’s decision about accepting a bid for a metal fabrication job. For example, a company’s reputation for quality of work, turn-around, and customer service, will all be taken into consideration. However, there is one often overlooked aspect of estimating that is shown to make all the difference – speed.

It Literally Pays to be First

Because the first quote in usually wins the job, fabricators know that they are up against the clock. While responsiveness is critical, fabricators must at the same time ensure that any quote that goes out the door is not only competitively priced – but is profitable. But quoting accuracy requires input from engineering, programming, and other departments. With traditional paper-based quoting this can slow the process by days or even weeks costing you the job.

What’s the answer?  Fast (and accurate) quoting is best accomplished by allowing estimators and sales to autonomously create winning and profitable quotes. This means estimating directly from customer-supplied PDFs, JPEGs, and even napkin drawings. Sounds great – so how do they accomplish this?

Leverage Automation

Relying on spreadsheets, price lookups, and other hard-to-get or non-accessible information (such as when dealing with internal domains of expertise) slows the process considerably. While you’re tracking down this or that information, or waiting on someone in engineering to return your call, that fab shop across town is delivering the quote.

Going up against data-driven competitors requires leveling the playing field; and the answer lies in automation.  So, you say that you have an ERP system? Fantastic. Such high-level systems are perfect for managing and aligning human resource, manufacturing, distribution, accounting, and other areas of the business. However, these systems were not developed – nor intended – to create quotes for a metal fabrication job.

A growing number of fab shops, job shops, and metal service centers are adopting metal fabrication quoting software.  These are stand-alone applications or can complement in-house ERP systems to fully exploit company information and resources.

Automation reduces quoting to a simple three-step process.

1.    Import CAD, STEP, or drawing files.

2.    Assign attributes.

3.    Allow the system to do the work.

Parts are automatically nested to calculate material use and run-time. At the same time, the latest material costs are pulled, and cost for the operator’s time and secondary applications are determined. Finally margins and any other variables, such as shipping’ are factored into the bid.  Competitive and profitable quotes are completed in minutes rather than hours or days.

Furthermore, the quoting process is now standardized throughout your organization ensuring that common pricing, variables, and formulas are being used throughout the organization.  No more relying on tribal knowledge or tracking down prices.

Check out our white paper to learn more: 4 Secrets to Winning more


SecturaFAB, the industry’s leading job estimating solution, pulls together all information needed to create a quote. Putting the most up-to-date information at your fingertips, SecturaFAB empowers anyone within the organization to generate fast and accurate quotes.


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