Coordinating project-bid pricing among sales staff, estimators and customers while bidding large, complex construction projects is difficult. Adding to the proposal's complexities are conflicting municipal codes, specification changes and haulage rates.
Maintaining a profit margin on complicated projects requires companywide coordination, from sales proposal to final customer billing. Since the sales department is the company's main contact with customers, managers are searching for ways to span the knowledge gaps between sales staff and estimators without sacrificing sales-proposal quality and accuracy.
Product-configuration programs are used by manufacturers of very complex products, where there are a lot of interdependencies among the product components, where it is time-consuming to create sales proposals, and where the final product must directly meet the customers' needs or it is of no value.
Software developers have created programs that now allow sales staff to build or configure a complex product or group of products that the producer then engineers, casts and assembles, and ships. Proposals are more accurate and complete because the program won't create the proposal until all the job's details are entered. The engineering staff benefits because it no longer spends a lot of time directly supporting sales staff on the configuration. Standardizing proposals limits costly errors. But most importantly, product configuration technology speeds up the sales and order-entry process by allowing salespeople to quickly respond to customers' needs and feed this information to a company's cost accounting, sales management and billing departments.
Keywords: estimate, bid, proposal, configuration, Exactium