Why is my quote taking so long?
June 25, 2021
“Why is my quote taking so long?”
I get asked this question more times than I can count. And, truth be told, it sometimes results in an eye roll and a sigh on my end. But, when I stopped to really ponder the answer, I realized that it is a very good question. What drives the quote process? Why does it get bogged down? What can you, the customer, do to improve the turnaround time?
In a perfect world we will always have an existing part number, the price will always be in Tempco’s system and 1-2-3 it is done. But ours is not a perfect world and we deal with many unknowns and custom-designed heaters every day. Don’t get me wrong, this is Tempco’s wheelhouse, and we LOVE it. However, these types of projects often require interaction with other departments which adds to the turnaround time of a request for quote.
Let’s say your design does not fall within standard parameters of the heating element and requires engineering review. That does not mean it cannot be manufactured. It just means that engineering needs to evaluate the request. Sometimes it is a quick review and I get a response the same day. Other times additional work is involved such as:
- time in the lab building mock-ups to determine the best way to solve the application challenge
- research to determine if we have the proper tooling
- research to find custom fittings or connectors
- time in the costing department that may involve communication with purchasing and manufacturing
Silicone Rubber Heater with PSA
Did you send us a sample to quote from? If so, what condition is the sample in? Our job is fairly straightforward when the sample is in good working condition, but far more frequently we receive a sample that has seen better days and needs attention:
- It may be covered in contaminants and have to be cleaned before engineering can look at it.
- It may be a dead sample with no markings that requires being sent out for x-ray to determine details about the heating element.
- It may be bent or distorted due to thermal expansion during use which makes it impossible to determine original size.
Working through all of these problems requires additional time.
Cast-In Transfer Feed Pipe
The number one reason the quote process can drag out is lack of information from the customer. This can be regarding the:
- process details
It is very difficult to make the best recommendation for you when we don’t know anything about the application, temperature range or possible pressure ratings. We can’t be sure we are quoting the correct materials for the heater if we don’t know the operating conditions. Asking for maximum wattage is fine, but maximum wattage is often based on application, temperature and, again, pressure requirements. Saying it needs to fit into another piece of equipment is helpful to know, but unless we know the dimensions of said equipment, we have no way of ensuring proper fit.
So, here are some tips on making the process move more quickly:
- Always tell us how many electric heating elements, temperature control products and/or temperature sensors you require and as much application information as possible.
- If you are sending pictures of what you want quoted, please try to make sure the part number stamp is readable. If it is not, include a complete description of the heater (or product).
- Get acquainted with our catalog and website. Almost every product line has a page showing our standard design parameters – just look for the specifications and tolerances information.
- When asking for specific fittings or connectors, please provide the manufacturer and part number to expedite our ability to find what you require.
- If you are sending in a sample, remember to ask for the customer sample authorization form to be used as a packing slip. Please complete the form including the application data section. The number assigned on this form is used to identify your sample throughout the quote process.
Hopefully having a better understanding of what can be involved in the quote process can help you lay the foundation for a quick turnaround for you or for your customer.
Distribution Sales Manager
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