Meet Todd. Todd is an estimator for a machine shop. Todd receives a request for a custom manufactured part, he engineers the quote, and then he sends the quote to the customer hoping to win the order. Just another day in the office for Todd. But something goes wrong today, instead of the customer creating a purchase order for Todd and checking out through Todd’s awesome online checkout system, the customer instead reaches out to Todd and asks him why it’s more expensive this time. THIS time.
Todd just unknowingly requoted a job that his shop has already done. The part number was slightly different due to an OEM changed and when he did his cursory search in the ERP system, nothing showed… The hours he spent requoting that part are wasted. Time is money, so that means money is wasted. But even worse than that, the inconsistency in the price could damage the reputation of Todd’s shop. Now the customer is wondering if they are actually getting the best quoted price from Todd’s shop or should they shop the quote elsewhere?
On the flip side, think about how many times this may happen when Todd’s requoted price is cheaper than his original. The customer is not going to reach out to ask why its cheaper. They’re going to take the discount and, unbeknownst to Todd, his shop is going to take the loss.
It’s not Todd’s fault. Being an estimator is hard. Keeping track of every part, part number, and customer you’ve worked on in your career is impossible. Especially when you are swamped and under pressure to get quotes out the door.
It gets even more difficult as you scale. Maybe the last time this part was quoted by Todd’s shop, it wasn’t Todd who quoted it but his colleague Jim. It’s no secret that even the best estimators’ prices will vary when quoting the same part. So it’s no surprise that because Todd didn’t know Jim already quoted the part, Todd’s price was different.
At Paperless, we are working to solve this problem for the job shops like Todd’s who partner with us. We work with these shops to make the years of historical data they have accumulated more accessible. We do this by extracting geometric features from historical solid files and historical part pdfs, indexing these features in our proprietary indexer, and then making them searchable so the next time you upload a part to Paperless that your shop has already quoted, Paperless will automatically tell you.
Would you like to learn more?
This article was written by William Headrick
William Headrick is a Lead Engineer at Paperless Parts. He has architected and developed many of the core parts of the Paperless platform including geometric search, custom integrations, analytics tools, and the Paperless Parts DigiQuote®. William is passionate about helping American job shop owners and manufacturers compete in Industry 4.0 by helping them leverage the data they have accumulated over years of work in a more accessible and insightful way.