Lack of process forces high cost for engineer-to-order projects
CINCINNATI ― The 15% of industrial and plant-equipment manufacturers that rely on manual approaches for bidding, estimating and quoting are losing gross margins and precious time. That’s one of the key take-aways from a recent research report completed by software maker Cincom Systems (http://www.cincom.com/acquire) based on a national survey of sales and IT executives.
The report shows the stark contrast in profits attained by companies that have automated their special or engineer-to-order project workflows versus those that still manually do bids, estimates and quotes. The report shows the payoff of automating these processes so the two most precious resources any company has — profits and time — can be more effectively managed.
It’s clear from the report that the 15% of companies still manually doing these processes are letting their gross margins get stolen by a lack of accuracy and efficiency. “Stopping this profit drain begins with looking at how the bidding, estimating and quoting processes can be made more efficient and more responsive to customers at the same time,” says Louis Columbus, co-author of the report.
“By relying on inefficient, manual processes, industrial manufacturers may end up not being able to change their sales and channel strategies fast enough to keep up with competitors,” says Columbus.
What should these industrial manufacturers do to catch up to their peers? “Industrial manufacturers need to concentrate on those process areas that don’t have much variability in them, including bidding, estimating or quoting, and automate them first,” says Columbus, “and then concentrate on tailoring these processes for their highest-growth and highest-value customer segments second.”
Information at the Ready
The one area where all industrial manufacturers excel, compared to their peer companies across all studies, is their ability to provide updated information to their sales channels. In fact, a larger than average amount of industrial and plant-equipment manufacturers had real-time availability (30%) of catalog content, pricing and sales data.
Significantly more industrial and plant-equipment manufacturers also centrally manage their RFQs through a customer/partner portal compared to the composite benchmark.
“Time is the ultimate competitive weapon for any company, and for manufacturers it is essential,” says Columbus. “Being able to manage RFQs in a central portal saves hours of matching up RFQs and responses. Time is of the essence with RFQs, and managing them through a portal streamlines and simplifies the process.”
For a copy of Cincom’s “2009 Industrial and Plant-Equipment Industry Survey Report,” visit www.cincom.com/I&Pebook.
Cincom Systems website
Cincom Acquire™ manufacturing website
Cincom Enterprise manufacturing website
2009 Industrial and Plant Equipment Industry Survey Report
Donna Hedge Burns
Corporate Public Relations