by Dienamic MIS Software Inc.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

ADVANTAGES OF ESTIMATING SYSTEMS - ADD UP THE NUMBERS

By Mark Porter
 
If you were questioning the speed of the quoting process in our industry, satisfying customers quoting needs and dealing with competitors that provide pricing that cannibalizes the industry.

In this blog we will deal with the time aspect of quoting.

We will save the concept that estimating and selling are 2 different functions for another issue.
 
Unless you are the guy that just gives prices off the top of his/her head we will all spend time quoting but how much time and how much benefit you provide your customers and yourself from that process can vary tremendously

Part of this problem is that 7 or 8 out of every 10 estimates we do we don't get. I am sure nobody would be complaining if every estimate turned into an order. So if we have to do this necessary evil why not minimize the time and maximize the benefit you receive while providing a solid, educated quote that maximizes your chance of getting the job and allows you to analyze your business.

The act of doing an estimate involves much more then just getting a number to the customer and should provide more benefit to your company then just getting a 20% job conversion.

You can maximize your estimating process by:

Having information at your fingertips speeds the estimating process by finding old quotes, past history etc. Software with built in logic and calculations allows you more time to find the best way to run the job rather than crunching numbers, therefore giving you a greater chance to win the job. Information from the estimate saves time when you win the job because the estimate can be turned into an order, packing slip, invoice and hours can be used for scheduling. Analyzing estimates allows you to track valuable quotes and to prioritize your estimating time by customer, job types etc.

The following our some suggestions:
 



Estimate Searching


- Finding Previous Estimates is much quicker using an Estimate History feature with many search capabilities
- You can attach the original diagram sent to you that you based the estimate on in the history and you can attach the letter sent to the customer into the estimate history so all documentation is at your finger tips
- dramatically reduces searching and telephone tag time
- Simply pick the customer it brings in contacts, address, telephone, fax information immediately no need to look up
- requoting a previous job - quickly access problem history to see if you need to adjust estimate from last time it ran or if you using job costing quickly access costs last time you ran the job



Estimate Options


- Estimating Software allows you to estimate the customers Options very quickly because you can be doing them all at once
If customer wants to compare 5,000 / 10,000 / 15,000 you can do this all at the same time or if he wants to compare 5,0000 / 10,000 on 8pt stock and 5,000 / 10,000 on 12 pt stock they call all be done in one estimate with the software doing it automatically


Eliminate Crunching Numbers Aspect


- Spend time looking at best ways to run the job to increase chances of getting the job rather than pounding on a calculator
- Build in common material so automatic calculations of things such as foil, laminate, uv, dies, mounting board and glue etc. are done as soon as you put in the specs
 


Not Just Crunching Numbers but also building in logic

- Software doesn't just crunch numbers it allows you to build your knowledge into the system. This not only saves time but also provides more consistency in your pricing which is beneficial to you and your customer
-This can allow you to download some of the simpler quotes to other people and frees time up for the serious and desirable quotes


Estimate Variations

- Finding Previous Estimates is much quicker using the Estimate History feature with many search capabilities
- Doing requotes is much quicker as the estimate is simply retrieved, changes made to existing estimate and resaved with an A,B,C variation
- Also be used for contract pricing
- Also if estimate comes from ABC Printer we know we will see it from DEF Printer and GHI Printer. Use original ABC Printer quote to quickly adjust for other printers doing the same job

Generate Additional Paperwork Automatically

- Automatically converts numbers of Estimate into a professional letter than can be printed/Faxed/Emailed directly to customer stating services and materials you are providing for the price quoted with your company terms and letterhead
- If Estimate becomes a job the software will convert the estimate into the format of the job ticket saving time there as well

Prioritize Customers

- Estimate History allows you to analyze customers as to won/loss ratios don't waste time doing a quote for a customer that uses you as a third price or at least do his quote after the good customers

Follow Up Estimates

- You spend so much time doing estimates make sure you follow up desirable estimates - Estimate History can track estimates of large quantities or high sales values so you don't lose them for a stupid reason like (customer doesn't think you provide a service in house or maybe your quote fell off his desk and your not even being considered)

Analyze Estimates with Estimate History
 

- Get benefit from the time you spend doing estimates by analyzing the data For example

- Won/Loss Ratios by Customer, Types of Work, Estimators ie track the customers and type of work you do best at or find out why your not getting certain work, identify potential new and desirable customers
- 80/20 Rule - 80% of revenue comes from 20% of customers track that their estimate level stays consistent or grows if there is a dip in their activity find out why and solve problem before it is too late

- Measure the number of estimates and type of estimates you do each day We all have a won/loss ratio if we are not doing the numbers and types of quotes that will keep business in the shop we have to adjust
- No recent estimates - that best source of new business is people you have dealt with in the past. Generate a report of any customer that has not done business with you in the last say 3 months

- Track and follow up desirable quotes as mentioned above

I hope this provides some help in saving time quoting and/or maximizing the benefit you can receive for the time you do spend quoting.
 





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