Instant Quoting – What It Is and How It Can Benefit Your CNC Shop

04 August 2023
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Imagine Credit: Scott Graham via Unsplash. Instant Quoting eliminates traditional quoting methods, freeing up time and skilled staff.

Manufacturing as an industry is embracing the movement into automation, particularly in CNC machining. This is as a result of challenges, including labour shortages and ever increasing costs. 

The labour shortage is one affecting all areas of manufacturing, with Deloitte predicting US Manufacturing will suffer from 2.1 million unfulfilled vacancies by 2030. Alongside fewer experienced workers, labour costs are rising, leading to a labour vacuum. Job openings are affected by high levels of retirement, a particular issue for CNC, with 2.5 million opportunities available due to an ageing workforce. Therefore, implementing new strategies such as automation allows for expansion of knowledge and lessens the inherent need for a vast human workforce. 

By adopting automated processes, the CNC industry avoids being held hostage to increasing wages and soaring inflation considerations – Reuters reported salary rises of 5.3% year on year. As well as this, the skills shortage has limited the talent pool for manufacturers to choose from. Not only does this drive up expenses for staff retention, but means it is imperative that individual time and skill is put to the best use. Taking the burden of quoting away from a skilled employee ensures business can develop a competitive edge. 

Is CNC Machining Ready for Automation? 

The focus on automation and digitalization has become imperative to ensuring the best results and uses are gleaned from CNC manufacturing and its capabilities. Make’s 2021 crystallisation of the new manufacturing landscape argued there is a need for ‘building agility’, whereby ‘recognising that digital, trade and green agendas go hand in hand’ was vital to success. Automated solutions, such as instant quoting, allow for company wide flexibility and agility, with the self serving function lessening the need for further action and follow up to be taken. 

This agility has already been felt in the CNC space, with the creation of evermore advanced machines and the emergence of CNC Laser Cutters, allowing the technique to be used with innovative and flexible plywood. The movement to include greater materials as part of the scope of CNC machining further enhances the need for instant quoting and similar solutions. The fact that the industry is preparing to further technological advancement is testament to its ability to adapt rapidly. Just as development helped create CNC as we know it today in the first place, automation can extend the lifecycle of products, and drive CNC capability further than before.

There are further examples of increased automation in and around the factory floor, including machines that have ‘Internet 4.0’ and communication at the forefront of their designs. Machines being built with integration in mind is an example of the cycle of automation CNC is currently entering. As well as heavily digitised machines, there is also a push towards automation in part handling – again allowing valuable expertise to be better utilised elsewhere. There are more significant endeavours towards automation discussed here

How Does Instant Quoting Help?

As machine innovation and CNC are linked, and help redistribute engineers, saving time and costs, business practices are also feeling the benefits of increased automation. The best example of this is the movement towards instant quoting. Part of a myriad of time consuming administrative tasks that are vital to the running of a successful business, quoting is a process best suited to automation with guaranteed results. 

Rather than quotes being collated manually, often as a result of an arduous and time consuming back and forth, software like AMFG’s Order Portal can generate quotes according to sophisticated algorithms. These algorithms can be intensely tailored and unique, enabling customers and businesses to be fully aware of what they are ordering and how costs come to fruition. This enables businesses to increase their quoting capability, without reducing the quality of their interactions with customers. 

The ability to have instantaneous quoting lessens delays on both sides and reduces the likelihood of machines or engineers sitting idle. As well as this, customer satisfaction is increased by the speed of the process, helping with valuable market reputation. If quotes are the biggest barometer over whether business will be secured in the first place, then where better to streamline the process?

Whereas manual quoting previously relied on time consuming calculations and expert knowledge, instant quoting, and especially instant quoting capabilities that are inherently tailored, minimise the time taken and the scope of human error.

Quicker response times are proven to generate business, with 78% of customers reporting that they purchase from the company who responds to their lead first. Added to this, companies generally take 5 days or more to respond, with only 7% having the capability to respond within 5 minutes. 

There have been concerns previously about the compatibility of rapid machine processes with quality, the expansion of automated manufacturing methods have eased those concerns. Easing concerns over Return on Investment, there are both time and monetary benefits to greater automation. Not only are customers more likely to choose faster respondents, but there is a guaranteed presence of quality within automations such as Instant Quoting. 

Evidently, the benefits of automation are abundant. Whether it be from increased machine capability or through software solutions such as Instant Quoting, the time and money saved is encouraging and could change the landscape of a business. Find out more about how AMFG can help on your automation journey today


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