On time and within budget are key selling points for any fabricator. But Milford, Delaware’s Amazon Steel Construction has taken steps to raise the bar for customer expectations. Founded in 2002, this family-owned and operated custom manufacturing and fabrication job shop serves customers throughout the Agriculture, Construction, Energy, Marine, and Security industries with plasma and waterjet cutting, metalforming, and welding.
With today’s advanced cutting machines narrowing the quality gap, delivery and price are more and more the keys to winning the bid. As a result, the quoting process can either be a tremendous liability or a competitive advantage for a growing number of job shops. Today, Amazon is winning exponentially more jobs while increasing margins; but this wasn’t always the case.
When Chief Operating Officer, Jeff Clouser joined the company in 2018, he faced the daunting task of growing the business. With a sales and marketing background, Clouser’s first steps were to upgrade the company’s image and selling process.
From the day it first opened its doors, Amazon’s estimating process was much like any other comparable fabrication shop. Estimating machine run-time and material usage/cost was manually intensive and relied heavily on experience, spreadsheets, and a few assumptions and best guesses. Clouser instantly realized that a reliable and consistent quoting process would be needed to secure the business required to grow the company.
“While sales were good, we were not getting the volume of business that we should have been getting,” explained Clouser. “In particular, we weren’t seeing repeat business from a number of past customers. I discovered that the issues weren’t quality-related; but rather quotes that took too long to get out, prices that were too high, or lead times that were too long. It was obvious that our quoting process was an issue and had to be standardized.”
Because he would be creating the quotes himself, and had no cutting metal or estimating experience, Clouser realized that a solution would have to automate and standardize the process as much as possible. He also knew that quoting speed and accuracy would be critical to winning new (and repeat) business.
Amazon evaluated multiple estimating systems; but after seeing SecturaQUOTE from SecturaSOFT, Clouser had found the answer. “Sectura was hands-down the best fit. From the user interface to the software’s ability to automatically process plate and sheet and how it works with DXF, PDF, STEP and even Image files. We just load the file, select the machine and hit Go. The software enters the variables, does all of the math, and generates the quote.”
Higher Sales & Higher Margins
In 2019 Amazon implemented SecturaQUOTE into its estimating process. And although he had no previous quoting experience, Clouser was putting out winning bids almost instantly. By year’s end Amazon sales were up 70% and margins had increased by 5%.
“While part of this growth is attributed to a new product line launched by one of our custom manufacturing customers,” said Clouser. “But I have to say that half of that success is directly attributed to SecturaQUOTE. The best part about all of this is that we’re able to grow sales significantly without sacrificing profit.”
World Class Support
Support after the sale is often little than lip-service for many software vendors; but at SecturaSOFT customer service and responsiveness is a priority. “The SecturaSOFT support staff is extremely responsive and helpful. Questions I had regarding software usage and tweaking the calculators was handled at the moment of the call. I wasn’t told that I was in the que and had to await a call back. I’ve also found the on-line chat feature to be very effective.”
And that’s not all. SecturaSOFT developers listen to customers. “I’ve dealt with a lot of software companies throughout my career,” said Clouser. “And I have to say that SecturaSOFT is among the best. They listen to my feedback and, where it makes sense, incorporate those suggestions into new releases. It’s rare and extremely gratifying to see a company take a genuine interest in what its customers have to say.”
The Year Ahead
While no one knows what the coming year will hold politically and economically, Amazon is charging into 2020 with staggering results. First quarter sales have exceeded last year’s numbers by 20%; and with the help of SecturaQUOTE, the company is poised for another record year.