Ever feel like you’re drowning in RFQs? Tackling your quote backlog doesn’t have to mean ripping your hair out and defaulting to a “first in, first out” strategy. That strategy—or lack thereof—doesn’t set anyone up for success. Your most profitable work could be buried at the bottom, and there’s no way of knowing which jobs you’re wasting time on.
So how can you add order to the chaos? Here are five tips for working smarter, not harder when digging out of your quote backlog:
1. Streamline Your Triage Process
Simply getting an aggregate view of what quotes came in while you were on vacation (or even just away at a doctor’s appointment) can be laborious. RFQs come in from all angles: online portals, centralized email inboxes, sales rep individual inboxes. Defining a clear process and automating as much of that process as possible can drastically cut down on quote turnaround time and help you get to your customer’s desk earlier than your competitors.
2. Prioritize “Sweet Spot” RFQs First
The jobs you win most often are the jobs you want to prioritize. It’s easy to rely on your gut when choosing those, especially if you’ve been quoting and estimating for a long time. But data is your friend; tracking win rate by customer, part type, or material can give you—at a quick glance—a more accurate picture of which jobs you’re most likely to win. Learn how Paperless Parts’ Analytics engine can help.
3. Quickly Disqualify the No-Quotes
How many times have you started on a multiple-line item quote, only to get halfway through and realize you can’t make a specific part? Paperless Parts allows you to quickly upload whole quote packages and get thumbnail views of individual parts, without having to open each file in expensive CAD-viewing software. Leveraging automated DfM warnings tailored to your shop’s unique capabilities can also help you quickly identify which parts might be a little tricky and which parts may be too tough to even manufacture. See how automated DfM warnings work in Paperless Parts.
4. Keep Ahead of Outside Service Vendors (OSVs) and Part Suppliers
Quoting today often involves a mess of emails and phone calls, scouring catalogs, and hassling sales reps. Communication that is dispersed across multiple channels inevitably leads to fragmented work streams and dropped balls. With Paperless Parts, centralize all communications directly inside the platform. Communicate with OSVs through the Paperless Parts chat functionality, hit up the experts at MSC through TechMate®, or get instant pricing on PEM® parts—without ever sending a single email.
5. Leverage Automation for Bulk Updates
If you’re still manually typing specs into spreadsheets, you’ll have a steep hill to climb to avoid backlog headaches. Automation of costing and routing steps can drastically reduce clicks and help you quote faster. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and artificial intelligence (AI) can help you pull the specs you need to make sure you don’t miss (or misinterpret) anything. Together, this technology can free up your estimating team’s time to make headway and get your backlog under control.
Easing the Burden
Estimating can be stressful; the viability of many job shop manufacturing businesses depends on its estimator’s ability to funnel profitable work into the shop. Being bogged down by manual tasks only adds to that burden.
While technology can assist with certain tasks, it can’t fully replace the judgment and experience of a skilled estimator. Paperless Parts is designed to help estimators spend the least time and effort possible to return a quote to a buyer at a price they are willing to pay that generates adequate profit for the business.
Want to learn more about how Paperless Parts can help?