More than 600 million euros a year are spent by metalworking companies in Europe on quotation-related software. Yet the more than 30,000 metalworking companies (small and large) struggle to respond to quotation requests quickly and consistently.
This is according to research, which has also uncovered that the quotation burden is greatest at workplaces with more than 20 FTEs. The main reason is that these companies usually employ at least 2 highly skilled and experienced FTEs, who are unable to convert the large quantity and wide variety of incoming CAD drawings into outgoing quotations.
Why is quoting so difficult within the metalworking industry?
Actually, quoting is a difficult job within many industries. Dealing with variables, price pressure from competitors, and dealing with manpower are just a small part of the challenge. But within the metalworking industry, it is especially difficult because many applications consist of assembled products made from different materials, some of which are also not all manufactured in-house. This requires craftsmanship in some cases and that is in short supply.
Here are the top three quotation challenges within the metalworking industry:
- Quotations are time-consuming and labor-intensive
It is time consuming to manually figure out which components, parts and labor are to be quoted. This results in a very long and costly lead time for each production, with no assurance that the order will be obtained.
- Simple quotations already require more than 1 hour of intensive work;
- Most of the time is spent on determining technical details, thereby losing focus on commercial changes;
- Manual data entry in ERP systems is labor intensive and error prone.
- A lot of expertise is needed because of the complexity
Estimating complex quotations requires salespeople with extensive technical experience and considerable knowledge of materials and production. They are hard to find and expensive to hire.
- The experience required to make quotations is not always present in the workplace.
- The necessary skills in CAD software, Excel formulas and ERP systems are now and in the future will be scarce.
- Inefficient use of capacity
Undercapacity of the quotation department can lead to overcapacity in the manufacturing floor. It can even lead to the complete production process grinding to a halt.
- Customers don’t receive a quotation for days or even weeks (or not at all);
- Conversion rate of much less than 50% is common;
- The sales process is the bottleneck to a better utilization of manufacturing equipment and capacity.
How can you make quoting easier and faster within the metalworking industry?
Most companies operating within the metalworking industry spend a lot of money on expensive software subscriptions each year. By doing so, they try to support the quotation process, but this is often not sufficient. Creating quotations is a profession and requires very specific software and knowledge.
“Companies that do invest in the revolution of digitizing their quotation process will have a huge competitive advantage.”
Within the metalworking industry it is necessary to have software that meets the following 3 criteria:
- The quotation process must be fast and consistent
You want instant insight into materials, machines, manufacturing stages and price estimates to shorten the lead time of a quotation. This also contributes to more accurate planning, consistency and efﬁciency throughout the entire production process.
- Automatic recognition
You also want (fully) automated recognition of parts, assemblies, and features from CAD ﬁles to save time of highly skilled and high-cost employees who create quotations. In addition, you want to store that data in the cloud to interact with various ERP and CAM systems.
- A customer portal
Allow quotation requests to be generated by customers themselves in a customer portal. This also generates sales leads and again saves time for those employees creating quotes.
The best solution to simplify quoting and make it more efficient.
The Quotation Factory only does 1 thing and it does it well. Even better than anyone else. Namely: quotations within the metalworking industry simplify and make it more efficient by offering a cloud-based native software solution. A quotation solution developed in-house and improved every day.
- Less than 5 minutes work to list 40 entries;
- ZERO time spent determining geometric cost drivers;
- ZERO time spent on data entry in ERP system;
- The quotation process almost 100% automated, manual intervention still possible;
- A system that learns from production ﬂoor data and improves itself along the way;
- No one needs to learn additional systems (such as CAD software, Excel, ERP system);
- Customers always receive instant quotes, within minutes;
- A sales conversion rate that rises to more than 70%.
This and much more is possible. Meanwhile, your competitor is already ahead of you. The only question is when are you going to catch up with that competitor. Even if you are not afraid of any competition, you at least want your – potential – customers to benefit from this technological revolution.