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Vendor Collaboration, Made Easy (and Secure)

Vendor Collaboration, Made Easy (and Secure)

As a Customer Implementation Manager (CIM), I work with our customers to identify and accomplish goals to improve their quoting process. Time and time again, I hear shops wanting to speed up their quote turnaround time. Speedy turnaround times are critical for competitive advantage in manufacturing, and slower quote turnaround times can even result in lost business.

One of the biggest challenges in speeding up turnaround time is obtaining outside service vendor (OSV) quotes. Estimators often are able to complete a quote within a few hours, but are prevented from sending the quote as they are waiting on a quote for an outside service. The current market’s volatility makes it risky for estimators to make assumptions on outside service prices, leaving estimators in a pickle: guess on an outside service price and potentially lose revenue, or wait for the OSV to respond and potentially lose the quote because they took too long to respond.

In addition to the added lead time, keeping track of the status of each OS quote is a challenge. Many shops facilitate this communication via email and have to organize part files, quantity breaks, and additional information for the quote in various email threads. This often leads to the estimator scouring their inbox for returned quotes with little visibility into the outstanding quotes that need to be followed up on.

This is a tedious process for every quote, and ITAR or export-controlled work adds a layer of complexity: prints contain essential information that an outside service provider may need to quote the job properly, but the estimator is now challenged with removing any export-controlled information and still providing the OSV with what they need.

To do this, estimators typically:

  1. Print out a copy of the print
  2. Cover it with sticky notes
  3. Re-scan the redacted print
  4. Send it to the OSV

Adversely, the estimator could utilize a PDF editing tool, but typically these systems have monthly fees. Paperless Parts streamlines the collaboration with external vendors through External Collaboration in tandem with PDF Redaction.

Benefits of External Collaboration in Paperless Parts

External Collaboration allows you to send part files you are quoting from Paperless Parts directly to your OSVs. External Collaboration drafts a brief email that invites the OSV to create a Part-Viewer Only account in Paperless Parts, and once your OSV creates their login, they will see only the files you allowed them to see in the “Shared with Me” section of their Parts Library.

Each OSV will get its own “channel” in External Collaboration that will store all of the communication for each part file in one location. The estimator has complete control over the OSV’s access to part files, and can restrict or modify any OSV’s access at any time. In addition, each channel has an expiration date on the OSV’s end, giving the estimator control over how long they want the OSV to access the part information.

This saves the estimator the time of downloading, organizing and drafting the necessary files and information for the OSV. Sending part files through External Collaboration also ensures that all the information you are sharing is ITAR compliant and export-controlled.

How File Redaction Works in Paperless Parts

Every PDF in Paperless Parts can be redacted. The Paperless PDF editor offers the functionality of PDF editing software, making it easy to annotate the part print to communicate with others all in one place. More specifically, the Redaction feature allows the estimator to draw redaction blocks anywhere they need to on the print. This might mean blocking out part geometry, the customer name, or simply unnecessary information.

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From there, the redacted file will save as a new part file and allows the estimator to share only the edited file with their OSV. This tool comes especially in hand when estimators are required to redact export-controlled information or other secure customer data.

For a complete walkthrough on Paperless Parts’ PDF Redaction tool, check out our Knowledge Base article here.

quoting software for manufacturers

A One-Stop Shop

External Collaboration, combined with PDF redaction, provides a one-stop shop for estimators to prepare and send all work – not just ITAR work. Gone are the days of printing, manually redacting, and re-scanning a print just to get an OSV quote.

Paperless Parts gives estimators complete autonomy over what information they would like to share and who has access to it. And given that both buyer expectations for speed and cybersecurity threat levels have never been higher, operating faster and with more security has never been more important.

Watch an on-demand webinar to see just how Paperless Parts can improve your vendor collaboration today.


Courtney Camarillo is a Customer Implementation Manager at Paperless Parts. Courtney’s goal is to empower every user that utilizes our platform, regardless of how tech-savvy they are. Out of the office, Courtney loves to explore Boston, sing karaoke, and ice skate.