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Understanding the quoting process of sheet metal

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As with most industries, the sheet metal industry has its own unique quoting methods and requirements which people with a non-sheet metal background would struggle to comprehend. Finding a quoting system to suit its exact needs is tricky…. That is unless you find one that is specifically developed for the industry itself. Only once the market is fully understood, can such a product exist, and the most common way to fully understand a market is to work within it. There are so many quoting software suppliers that have gifted technical development teams, but being gifted and having experience are two separate things all together. Putting a general quoting system in place may fulfil some of your needs, but when costs need to be tracked to the penny, and time to the second, the outcome can fall quite short. Below are some basic things that you should expect to see in a sheet metal specific quoting system;

- Do I really stand a chance of winning this job? The quoting module should be every estimator’s best friend by making their life as easy as possible. There may be cases where you receive quotation requests, look at it for split second and think ‘there is no chance we are going to win this job’. On the other hand, a common saying is ‘never try, never know’, and so not quoting the job all together could prove costly. In this case, having the ability to guesstimate the job without having to spend time and effort in detailing the quote is essential. At the end of the day, should you win the quote, you can go back and put the detail in for manufacture further down the line.

- Quoting calculations. Quoting sheet metal is a very industry specific process. As we know, the time taken to cut a piece of metal out of a sheet is determined by the machinery we use. Trumpf, Amada and Bystronic are to name just a few of the many machine manufacturers in the market. Each manufacturer has numerous machines that all operate at different speeds. Being able to input customised formulas that take into account feed rates and material thickness should be a given. Depending on the situation, we sometimes wish to charge our customer for more than just the sheet they are physically receiving. Examples would be when we have cut their parts and the remainder of the sheet is pretty much worthless, and so having the ability to charge them for the scrap as well comes into play. Machines will also most often have dead zones and so charging them for the blank should be a standard option. In today’s market, automation is at the forefront of technical evolution. The ability to analyze DXF’s and import electronic RFQ’s should be features worth considering, as it eliminates manual entry and also saves valuable time.

- The best sheet to use is…...? Picking the most suitable sheet for a job can be of huge benefit to a company, from both a financial and time saving perspective. Maintaining the highest material utilisation benefits both costs due to less scrap, but also in terms of time, as the handling of different sheets, whether it be scrap or full sheets, will be kept to a minimum. Being able to see how many parts you can get out of a sheet in terms of a visualisation can be extremely useful. As we all know, we have multiple stock sizes and so being able to compare the utilisation at a glance is a must.  

If you would like any more information or would like to discuss your requirements in further detail then please either;

Email us: sales@mie-solutions.co.uk

Call us: 01527 576 444

Visit
our website: www.mie-solutions.co.uk