Written by Darryl Walker
If Shop Floor Scheduling leads the way in the least utilized VISUAL tools, and by most accounts it does, then a very close runner up must be the Estimating Window. I’ve been working with VISUAL clients for 23 years now, and it’s a rarity to come across a company using this tool to their advantage. It’s unfortunate that a powerful yet simple to use set of applications so frequently go unused.
In the Estimating Window you can create a Quote with or without a Customer ID attached, you can Quote existing Parts or even things that you haven’t yet created. Each Quote line can be directly linked to a Quote Master that can be as detailed as you want it to be. You can send the Materials and Services on your Quote Master out to various Vendors as a Vendor RFQ and apply the quotes that you receive in return as the cost basis for your Quote to your Prospect or Customer.
You can attach drawings or other documents to your Quote as a reference for Sales or Engineering to use later. If you win the Quote and use the functionality in Customer Order Entry to Generate a new Customer Order from a Quote, you will always be able to look at your Gross Profit on that Customer Order in the future and easily find the Quote that you based the order on. This is an invaluable tool to help in future quoting to ensure you are able to achieve the numbers you are quoting to your Customers.
If you haven’t used the Estimating Window and Estimating Process in VISUAL up to now, you owe it to yourself and your company to invest a little time learning how it works and seeing if it can help you take your company to another level.