There are a variety of ways to estimate and quote custom parts being made by way of sheet metal fabrication. Many so-called “fabrication estimating software” platforms, such as ERPs, MRPs, and other instant quoting engines don’t provide a key benefit that it’s critical to any sheet metal fabrication operation: consistency. In this blog, we’ll dive into types of sheet metal fabrication estimating software solutions, the benefits that consistency provides throughout your quoting process, solutions for the most consistent quoting and estimating, and more.
Types of Sheet Metal Fabrication Estimating Software
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software
ERP are great in that they allow you to reference data across the entire business. However, they are built for resource planning. This means that they are often rigid if you’re looking to ensure that all quoting data can flow through the system. Since they are not tailored to manufacturing business processes, they lack flexibility and configuration when it comes to pricing. Building a quote in your ERP is time consuming, requiring multiple clicks and manual data entry, which is error-prone and causes unnecessary risk.
Material Requirements Planning (MRP) Software
MRP solutions’ primary purpose is to identify and measure what production materials are needed and when. This enables manufacturers like sheet metal fabricators to avoid loss of productivity as they can better forecast and order the appropriate materials and keep appropriate levels of inventory. However, data must be manually entered into an MRP in order for the system to successfully optimize your operations. Manual data entry when it comes to quoting = time, and time = money.
Instant Quoting Engines
Estimating software that provides instant quotes comes with a new set of risks: while you’re doing less manual data entry, you’re doing less customization, meaning you’re missing out on the consistency that keeps customers on board and flexibility that allows you to price based on external factors, your shop’s unique needs, and other key variables.
Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Software
Custom manufacturers (like sheet metal fabricators) demand an extremely flexible approach to pricing due to the extreme variance in the products and services they supply. Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) software is a great estimating software that provides a flexible and consistent framework for turning quotes around quickly, accurately, and consistently. Paperless Parts is considered a CPQ software.
Example Configure, Price, Quote custom pricing language.
Risks of Lacking Consistency in Your Estimating Process
If you’re estimators are using different quoting approaches and methodologies, it’s difficult to:
- Understand how historical pricing was developed
- Estimate on new parts
- Explain prices to customers
- Train team members on how to estimate
These surface level pain points can lead to lost jobs, costly errors, lower profit margins, and a difficulty to retain new and existing employees.
Suggested Reading: The 7 Fatal Mistakes of Quoting
Fabrication Estimating Software: Solutions for Consistent Quoting
Paperless Parts estimating software for fabricators provides a standardized quoting and estimating methodology that delivers accurate, consistent pricing regardless of who is building the quote. This allows you to:
- Quickly determine how and why parts were priced a specific way regardless of when the estimate was completed
- Confidently arrive at a price based on unique shop capabilities
- Anticipate manufacturing issues during the quote stage (vs. reacting to them after the job is won)
- Train new or junior estimators in weeks, not years
Ultimately, adding consistency to your estimating process helps you increase profit margins, improve efficiency, and increase your win-rate.
Want to see how? Check out a demo of our estimating software for fabricators today.