Laser cutting businesses often decide to use spreadsheets to develop and provide quotes, as a way to save money on specialised software.
But does the maths stack up? In our experience, it’s actually costing more than it’s saving – and here’s why.
Based on data from millions of line items quoted, Tempus Tools calculates that the value of the average quote in the average job shop is about US$1,250. This varies depending on the business, with smaller-job businesses doing about US$500 on their average quote, and larger-job businesses doing about US$2,000 on their average quote.
The average job shop using a 4-6 KW laser cutting machine produces 4,500 quotes each year, which means $US120,000 is being invested in responding to quotes, based on two employees.
Spreadsheets have their place – but it isn’t quoting
Spreadsheets are brilliant tools for all sorts of elements of running and maintaining a healthy, profitable business – and they are not going away any time soon.
But when it comes to laser cutting quotes, the consistency, accuracy, and tools of specialised software can provide a range of benefits that elevate a job shop to the next level.
ToolBox, by Tempus Tools, is cloud-based laser cutting quoting software developed specifically for the laser cutting industry, and is designed to save job shops time, and make quoting more efficient, accurate, and consistent.
ToolBox will cost a job shop less than $US3,000 per year – around 0.1% of the $US2.8m total annual amount quoted with a 50% win/loss ratio. For that tiny percentage, is it really worth the risk to not use specialised software? Using spreadsheets, the time invested by valuable staff and the time taken to correct human error will quickly outweigh the saving from not purchasing specialist software.
Spreadsheets are great in their place – but laser cutting quoting demands software that’s designed for the task at hand.
ToolBox takes job shops to the next level
A typical workflow for a job shop using spreadsheets is for them to receive a DXF drawing and request from a customer, load this into a CAM system, and have the CAM operator calculate the machine time, which is then entered into the spreadsheet to calculate the price. This is often exported into an accounting programme or other desktop application to develop a professional quote.
Rather than using three different systems, ToolBox can perform all these tasks, and offer further benefits to give job shops the competitive edge in their industry. These include:
- Simplicity of use. This saves the valuable CAM operator’s time because any person in the company can use ToolBox to develop a quote.
- Reduced human errors. Anyone who has used a spreadsheet knows how easy it is for human error to create a cascading series of problems with the figures and calculations. When multiple people – often with different spreadsheet proficiency or different usage habits – use the same file, it only compounds the problem.
- Increased professionalism. With ToolBox, the final quote document looks professional, branded with your company logo, and including an image of each part against its price. In contrast, getting thumbnails of parts into quotes made from spreadsheets is either not practical or not possible.
- Hundreds of modules and features. Every job shop is different, and ToolBox has a huge range of features to suit different applications. Some examples include quoting secondary processes, an online shop for your website, the ability to turn a PDF into a quote, tube quoting, 3D model unfolding and quoting, customer part libraries, and more. The development team is constantly adding new features – including in response to customer feedback – to further enhance the value of ToolBox.
ToolBox is a rules-based programme, which allows individuals from all parts of a job shop to complete quotes, regardless of their level of expertise. This means there are no longer delays in finalising a quote, so job shops can respond faster than competitors and become front-runners to win the business.
Remaining competitive, professional, and efficient are the keys to growing laser cutting job shops. In these areas, ToolBox has distinct advantages over spreadsheets, and has delivered a proven return on investment to job shops around the world.
To learn more about ToolBox, by Tempus Tools, please click here.
Author: Bruce Thomas, Executive (Product)