Buyer expectations have shifted. They want their RFQs responded to within 24 hours. Buyers are measured by their ability to get things on contract, to get them delivered on time, and on budget – in that order. If you can’t respond to an RFQ quickly, then the buyer will go elsewhere. Remember that your quote is the first impression you make on your potential customers. If you can’t quote in a reasonable amount of time, how are they supposed to expect that you can produce and deliver on time? Consider the following to help you speed up your quoting process:
1. Gather all the information you need to quote upfront
As discussed in Deadly Sin #1, having an online form that guides the buyer to answer all the information you need upfront, will reduce wasted time going back and forth with the buyer on questions.
2. Use the information you already have
You can significantly speed the quoting process if you reference past jobs that are like the one you are currently quoting. Having your data in a centralized repository and technology to help you easily retrieve it speeds your response time.
3. Communicate online with your team, vendors, and customers
Do you have a fast way to communicate with your team, customers, and vendors about the quote? Job shops express frustration with not having all the information they need from a quote and the amount of time it takes to get the answer. Many must walk the shop floor and interrupt an engineer to get information (and walking from the front office into the shop can take 15 to 20 minutes or more depending on the size of your shop). If there is a question for a vendor, they call or email the vendor and wait for a response. Using a secure online chat tool can ease this burden for any shop.
4. Build an understanding with your vendor upfront
Partnerships work best with a mutual understanding of how each party works and what their requirements are for success. Establish a good relationship with your vendors upfront, understand how they price and what they need from you to send you a quote quickly. In turn, let them know your expectations on turnaround times for quotes from them. This will help to reduce the response time from your vendors.
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The 7 Deadly Sins of Quoting for Job Shops