One of the promises of technology was that it would streamline our work processes making our lives easier. In many ways, this has happened in the manufacturing industry. But ask yourself this: has it truly sped up your quoting process? Chances are, the answer is a resounding “No!”
Let’s take a look at quoting processes and some of the issues that can be solved with today’s technology.
Why Do You Need to Improve Your Quoting Process?
When it comes to manufacturing customizable products, there are a lot of places where issues can crop up in the quoting process. Among these are:
- Your current process is outdated or too complex. This type of system uses technology that came out in the 1990s and hasn’t been truly updated since then. It also features a lot of back-and-forth between departments that can cause frustration and other issues. Think of it this way. The current process is a chain. If one of the links in that chain breaks, then the whole process falls apart. It would be a lot simpler if the process were streamlined to include fewer links.
- You are hitting bottlenecks. While the quote is being taken, the manufacturing line is waiting to do work and is being completely ineffective. This continues while the engineering department is looking over the specifications for approval and pricing. But this also means that the sales department is just sitting around waiting for engineering. Meanwhile, the engineering department isn’t working to its full efficiency in designing new products for the company. The process moves forward at a snail’s pace with many people simply waiting for another department to complete their piece.
- You have too many cooks in the kitchen. Another big issue for many companies is having too many people responsible for different aspects of the quoting process. Again, if you have a problem in one area, then it can lead to a delay or even a complete breakdown in your system. If the engineer on the quote process is out or doesn’t get to the quote immediately, this can lead to a slowdown. Also, if you have multiple people working on the project, just one person’s mistake can be costly to everyone.
- You have too many errors in your process. A final area of concern is when you have too many errors in your process. If your Excel spreadsheet is where you get all of your pricing information from, what happens when it is not properly updated? That’s right, the quote is not accurate and may, in fact, cost you money. This can also happen if you have different spreadsheets maintained by multiple employees. Also, errors can occur when the product is put out for building leaving the client with something that they did not ask for.
How Can You Improve Your Quoting Process?
One of the best ways to improve this process is with a CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) solution. This software allows you to define the compatibility of different product options and set specific parameters so that sales associates can easily configure a fully priced product to meet the customer’s requirements in just a few minutes.
CPQ software can integrate with your inventory management system so it always knows which materials you have on hand and what needs to be made and/or ordered. This essentially cuts the engineering department out of the process and leaves them to work on more important projects.
By streamlining the process, you’re ensuring that your employees can work efficiently and no longer wait on other departments. This also means that your quote can be finished in minutes instead of days getting your production line into motion faster. Finally, errors can be reduced as everyone will be working from one price book and the software can be configured to create a 3D model in real-time for your client’s approval.
“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be.” ~ John Wooden
Make Your Company’s Quote Process Your Competitive Edge
If your company is still doing your quote process the way it has for years, then it is time to modernize. Your business depends on quick turnaround and customer satisfaction and these two factors are in jeopardy if you fail to improve on your quote process.