Automatic work preparation and ERP integration

ITEQ in Nijkerk (the Netherlands) was one of the first sheet metal processing companies to start working with the quotation software platform of the Quotation Factory. Menno Bos of ITEQ, and pilot partner of the Quotation Factory, explains the advantages that estimation, quotation and work preparation software in the cloud offers them.

The need to digitize the quotation process

For some time, ITEQ has focused on the digitalization of work processes to enable 24/7 production. Once that was in place, it was time for the initial process. Estimations and quotations, automatic work preparation and integration with the ERP system.

“We had built our own software around SolidWorks, but if we wanted to make any progress with it in the future, we had to professionalize this part as well.”

Sales Manager Menno Bos

In early 2019, ITEQ was looking for the next step in professionalizing and digitizing the estimating and quoting process. When it turned out that there was no standard estimation software at all available for sheet metal working according to the wishes of the market, cooperating with other parties was the most obvious solution.

The Quotation Factory was already developing an innovative quotation and estimation solution. Because ITEQ was able to be involved from the beginning, they had sufficient assurance that the result would fit their business. That’s how ITEQ and the Quotation Factory helped each other.

Interface with iQ ERP system

ITEQ was one of ten launching partners in the Netherlands and Belgium that started in September 2019 to provide assistance with the development of the Quotation Factory’s quotation and estimation software platform. A project group within ITEQ established that the company was looking for software for semi-automatic estimating and quoting. It also involved automatic work preparation, scheduling and a connection to the Ridder iQ ERP application.

The ITEQ project group consisted of three people:

  • The project lead is looking from a supply chain perspective at full integration, among other things;
  • from engineering, attention is paid to the proper handling of complex drawings and error margins;
  • and from a sales point of view, the customer files and the parameters for estimating are monitored.

Collaboration makes quotation and estimation software better

Wim Dijkgraaf, founder of the Quotation Factory, was impressed by the input. “That turned out to be crucial for us. ITEQ clearly described the requirements throughout the project. This allowed us to implement the right features and intelligence within the software, at the right time, into a standard solution.”

A major advantage of working with the Quotation Factory, according to Bos, is the automatic connection between estimation and work preparation. When estimating, it is quicker to have an outcome that is always consistent. So without a direct interpretation of the person making the estimation. This also reduces the risk of mistakes. It provides clarity and calm, allowing employees here to get back to optimizing products and processes.

The Quotation Factory had the building blocks. ITEQ provided a multitude of Step files and data as input to the estimation parameters. The great thing is that ITEQ has an in-house customer with its Engineering division. This allowed the program to be tested from both sides (production company and customer). Both companies believe that by working together, the quotation and estimation software has become better.

Own customer portal for estimations and quotations

The Quotation Factory also offers its own, secure customer portal. ITEQ is not going to use this portal to compete on price for cutting and bending work, but to unburden customers.

Their existing customers can use this to request quotations themselves and receive a rapid response. Their engineers and the engineers of their customers can also use the software to determine the cost price themselves. Thus, the impact of choices, for example, in materials and complexity in operations, becomes quickly visible. This means that the engineers know at an early stage what effect their design will have on the cost price.

Connecting chain partners to the Quotation Factory

The Quotation Factory is now ready for all conceivable types of metal working. Bos is eager to introduce it, because until now it has run as a shadow alongside the existing operation. Not only for laser cutting and bending, but also the other processes, such as pressing, tapping, galvanising and deburring, are included. Even welding and powder coating are among the possibilities.

After implementation at ITEQ Industries and ITEQ Engineering, ITEQ Vietnam is next. “That’s the beauty of this system,” says Bos. “It works across companies. So it is easy to integrate multiple branches and chain partners within the chain.”

He expects that there will be great demand for the Quotation Factory from the market. Also internationally. “There is no such thing yet. We have many OEM companies as customers, with repetitive production in high mix and low volume, where we are also involved at the beginning of the product life cycle. Then this is ideal, precisely because with us the software is leading.”

About ITEQ

ITEQ consists of three companies: ITEQ Engineering, ITEQ Industries and ITEQ Vietnam. Based in Nijkerk (NL), ITEQ Engineering (10 FTE) is involved in the design, engineering and prototyping of new products. As a contract manufacturer, ITEQ Industries (85 FTE) specializes in the production and assembly of sheet metal products. The Vietnamese facility (45 FTE) offers the same activities for high-volume products.

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