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HARBEC’s Automated Quoting Process Boosts Supplier Relations and Revenues

 | March 21, 2024

Key Takeaways:

  • Quoting delays can result in lost bids and revenue; automation can resolve these issues
  • Automated quoting process improves supply chain management and supplier relations 

Full Article:

Without the right tools and process in place, a manual manufacturing Requests for Quotes (RFQs) process can present challenges that reduce win rates and short-circuit revenue growth. Issues include a protracted, disjointed quoting process, supply chain disruptions, reinventing the quoting process with ever-changing customer needs and suppliers, and a lack of automated or digital solutions. It was essential that HARBEC had accurate quotes for their customers to instill trust and ensure precise profit margins.

To sidestep these challenges, HARBEC is capitalizing on an automated quoting process. HARBEC, the plastics division of ADDMAN Group, offers complete part manufacturing support and custom-engineered solutions, from tightly-toleranced prototyping to end-of-life solutions, for industries ranging from aerospace and defense to medical devices. The company, with a heavy concentration on quality injection molding, toolings, and machined components, supports its customers’ sustainability efforts in additive manufacturing, CNC machining, and engineering.

HARBEC’s senior management recognized that they needed an automated quoting system to streamline their operations. As a primary operational goal, the company wanted to improve its customer quoting times and simultaneously ensure consistent, accurate cost models – all while managing diverse manufacturing processes and complex parts.

Watch how GE Appliances uses should cost modeling with aPriori.

HARBEC’s Quoting Process Challenges

HARBEC develops cost models for manufacturing processes as diverse as injection moldings, mold building, CNC machining, additive manufacturing/3D printing, and the myriad specialty processes under each of those categories. As a result, their efforts to quote quickly and accurately were often hampered by costing overhead, burden rates, and machining costs for each manufacturing process as well as assemblies for several processes within the same product design.

Further complicating matters, HARBEC traditionally relied on quoting methods such as manual processes like Excel spreadsheets, experience-based cycle time estimates, and generic setup times. Despite impressive industry standard quoting results, the manufacturer wanted to further reduce disparities to single percentage points while simultaneously training quoting specialists across many concentrated manufacturing processes.

Cross-training the quoting team seemed logical. However, the sheer number of required quotes strained the resources of more experienced quoting experts. The desire to cross-train and quote was time-consuming and prone to bottlenecks.

See how Flex uses aPriori to quickly cost complex products.

aP Pro: aPriori’s Automated Quoting Software

HARBEC identified aPriori’s aP Pro as the cost modeling software that could address their business-critical requirements while offering potential use cases down the road, such as design for manufacturability. It also enabled all quoting personnel to generate accurate quotes (including those related to specific manufacturing processes) and reduce dependency on more experienced team members.

aPriori analyzes the actual geometry of a component directly using 3D models and can apply it across all requisite manufacturing processes. HARBEC started the aPriori deployment with its largest departments first: CNC machinery and injection molding. They worked with aPriori to customize their digital factories to ensure they were accurate representations of their operations.

Learn more about the power of the digital factory.

HARBEC’s Quoting Process: Before and After

Prior to using aPriori, HARBEC’s quoting resources were modest, with just one expert available for quoting. The company relied on several different systems and software solutions to generate quotes. Run times could number up to 24 hours. Lead time for quoting was typically two to three days. Compounding this delay was the fact that requoting took a comparable amount of time.

After implementing aPriori, HARBEC has five fully onboarded quoting users. More experienced personnel can focus on complex tasks. Additionally, quoting times for a part were reduced to less than 24 hours. The need to requote also decreased, thanks to more consistent geometry and feasibility feedback.

Within a few months, HARBEC used aPriori to implement customized quoting capabilities for its critical manufacturing processes. They have a fully automated quoting process for injection moldings, mold building, CNC machining, and additive manufacturing — as well as new products derived from HARBEC’s facility. With aPriori, HRABEC’s proprietary formulas are integrated, capturing their preferred quoting approach within the software.

aPriori’s digital manufacturing simulation can generate cost models quickly (often within the same day), eliminating the need for manual, spreadsheet quoting. Moreover, aPriori’s configurability ensures full team engagement in understanding the cost model process and utilizing all available resources.

Hear how Zero RFQ leads to seamless integration between procurement and suppliers. 

aPriori’s Transformative Power to Improve Design and Supply Chain Management

aPriori has been a transformative solution for HARBEC. The company plans to implement a comprehensive, real-time manufacturability analysis reporting system via aPriori’s digital manufacturing simulations. The company’s engineers will be able to leverage aPriori’s design for manufacturability features alongside their customers to develop the most efficient design possible along with pricing. Customers see exactly how their design selections drive quoted prices. The digital factory can catch manufacturability issues within minutes after a CAD file is submitted for an RFQ. It will:

  • Reduce design and quoting iterations as well as human error
  • Enable suppliers to act fast as manufacturability experts for customers who do not have their own digital manufacturing simulation capabilities
  • Build transparency in quotes and, subsequently, customer satisfaction and trust
  • Enable mutually beneficial supplier/manufacturer relationships through fact-based, transparent negotiations so buyers retain savings while suppliers maintain margins
  • Incentivize customers to loop in the supplier earlier in product development, enabling more cost-effective product design

Now, every fast, efficient, and automated quote request results in a highly accurate cost model. The gap between quoted and actual costs is narrowed greatly, expediting the supply chain process for the manufacturer, supplier, and customer.

Watch HARBEC explain how it overcame delays and generates cost-driven quotes quickly with aPriori.

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