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The more things change, the more they stay the same. That's an old saw that is certainly applicable to the mold making process. I've been asked numerous times over the last two decades, "Why can't we find a software package that will automate the quoting process?" Good question!

Clare Goldsberry

March 14, 2014

3 Min Read
Quoting software from aPriori automates time-consuming process

The more things change, the more they stay the same. That's an old saw that is certainly applicable to the mold making process. I've been asked numerous times over the last two decades, "Why can't we find a software package that will automate the quoting process?" Good question! 

Quoting is a time-consuming and at times grueling process. I find that most, if not all, moldmakers do not keep track of the number of hours they put into quoting. I've been told that some mold companies have designated quoting people, while others use their engineering people, design people, and even a moldmaker who all sit down around the conference table and spend hours poring over RFQs and looking at 3D solid models of parts in an attempt to get all their bases covered when they get a number together.

How much does all of this cost? Rarely can anyone tell me. I did have one mold shop owner tell me that quoting costs him nothing because he takes the RFQs home and works on quotes at his dining room table at night. Obviously this owner's time is worth nothing.

A recent article I did with aPriori regarding its enterprise cost management software solutions seems to be one of the better programs that has been developed over the past decade or so. That was my impression anyway. It automates what has primarily been a manual process. While there are other types of quoting software out there, many developed in-house by moldmakers for their own use, there have been few commercialized software programs that actually produce accurate numbers.

The other problem is that moldmakers do not trust these software programs. It's the old "garbage in, garbage out" scenario, and the fear is that someone misses a dimension or puts in a bad number, they'll miss the quote by a mile. That could mean the loss of thousands of dollars resulting in zero profit.

Moldmakers trust their experience and their expertise, not the software, even though aPriori says the piece part cost and the tooling cost are both driven by the geometric model.

aPriori seems to have covered all the bases that go into quoting both molds and piece parts using industry standards and a slew of considerations. The software automatically evaluates the part design noting undercuts, mounting holes, and similar metrics, and can figure out slides, lifters, machining hours, EDM hours, and do "extremely robust calculations" for the mold. 

The interesting thing about aPriori's software is that one of the big automotive OEMs is an aPriori customer, even helping aPriori drive the development of its tooling calculations. One of the reasons they were so interested in being able to automatically calculate the cost of their tooling is that they were increasingly unhappy with mold quoting being some kind of "black magic" among moldmakers. They would get quotes from moldmakers that were all over the map and didn't know if the low number was good and the high number a rip-off, or vice versa. Now, this OEM uses the aPriori software to calculate the cost of its tooling and piece parts prior to sending the RFQs to the mold and molded parts suppliers so it can more effectively negotiate with these suppliers. In other words, we know what you do and we how you do it, so your numbers had better be pretty right on.

Mold manufacturing company Roush Global Tooling uses aPriori's enterprise product cost management software solutions, and turns around quotes three times faster by automating its quoting process. Not only does this save time, but also money.

Check out the PowerPoint presentation in the video below, and see what you think. Is this the answer you've all been looking for? And then, take just a couple of seconds to participate in our survey: Click here to take survey.

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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