Staying in the “Sweet Spot”

Two years after joining SFI, Alsaffar remains confident that the firm’s new product-cost management software plays a key role in its ongoing success.

“With aPriori, we get ahead of the whole process,” says Alsaffar. “We can respond more quickly to customer requests for quotes, respond to more requests overall and, equally important, we can learn immediately whether or not a job really fits into our sweet spot. The software makes us a better value-added supplier to our customers, because it makes our team and our customers more knowledgeable about the requirements of each project. It also helps to reduce our customers’ overall time to market.”

The software can quickly analyze any part or product from a CAD model and break it down to the lowest possible level of cost detail. It also provides complete CAD independence, since it works with 3D-CAD models generated by any major modeling system on the market, including: Pro/Engineer, Catia v5, Siemens NX, Solidworks, SolidEdge and Inventor.

Alsaffar also appreciates that the software can be used for prototyping and rough quotes.

“Often, customers request a rough quote to see if we’re qualified to bid on a specific project, and aPriori performs that function quickly and easily. Later, we then can use the software to update the rough quote with additional information and details, such as materials, tolerances, etc. The estimators need not start over when a job changes, which keeps programming time to a minimum.”

3D Quoting the to Go

According to Alsaffar, some companies still hesitate to provide 3D models, for fear of giving a too much information. However, when they understand how much more quickly they can receive a quote back, they typically change their minds and issue the 3D models.

Another factor: It’s easy for SFI’s estimators to tell if a 2D drawing provided by purchasing has come from a 3D drawing. When they do, they just request it. Says Alsaffar:

“Engineering students coming out of school these days are all trained in 3D. They are comfortable using 3D tools. Purchasing will get there as well, once they understand the real benefits to their businesses. With aPriori in full use, things are much less hectic in our estimating department, and we are able to stay ahead of customers and their needs.”

Instead of two or three people working to deliver a single estimate, one person at SFI now handles an estimate, in a fraction of the time it used to take. This leads to greater consistency and accuracy in the estimating process, especially when incorporating changes to design and other specs that impact cost. MF

Article provided by aPriori Technologies Inc., Concord, MA: 978/371-2006;
Industry-Related Terms: CAD, Drawing, Bending, Spectrum, LASER, Model, Run
View Glossary of Metalforming Terms


See also: Apriori Technologies, Inc.

Technologies: Management


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