How we Quote Projects ? Quoting Custom Manufactured Electronics Components, Assemblies and Products
Quoting off-shelf products is simple. However, more than half of the enquiries we receive are manufacturing requests for non-standard components, assemblies and products. These are categorized as CUSTOM MANUFACTURING PROJECTS. We receive from our existing as well as new potential customers RFQs (Request for Quote) and RFPs (Request for Proposals) for new projects, parts, assemblies and products on a continuous daily basis. Having to deal with out-of-the-ordinary manufacturing requests for many years, we have developed an efficient, fast, accurate quotation process that covers a wide spectrum of technologies. AGS-Electronics is an engineering integrator with a wide spectrum of capabilities. The advantage we offer you is being a one-stop source for your electronics manufacturing, fabrication, engineering, integration needs.
QUOTING PROCESS at AGS-Electronics: Let us provide you some basic information about our quoting process for custom manufactured components, assemblies and products, so that when you send us RFQ and RFPs, you will better know what we need to know to provide you the most accurate quotes. Please keep in mind that the more accurate our quote is, the lower the prices will be. Ambiguities will only result in us quoting higher prices so we do not have losses at the end of a project. Understanding the quotation process will help you for all purposes.
When an RFQ or RFP for a custom part or product is received by our sales department, it is immediately scheduled for engineering review. Reviews take place on a daily basis and several of these may be scheduled for a day. Participants to these meetings come from various departments such as planning, quality control, engineering, packaging, sales…etc and each makes its contribution for accurate calculation of lead times and cost. When various contributors to cost and standard lead times are added up, we come up with a total cost & lead time, from which a formal quote is drafted. The actual process involves of course much more than this. Each participant to the engineering meeting receives a preliminary document ahead of the meeting summarizing the projects that will be reviewed at a particular time and does his / her own estimations prior to the meeting. In other words, participants come prepared to these meetings and after reviewing all information as a group, refinements and adjustments are made and final numbers are calculated.
Team members use advanced software tools such as GROUP TECHNOLOGY, to aid them to obtain the most accurate numbers for each quote prepared. Using Group Technology, new part designs can be developed using already existing and similar designs, thus saving a significant amount of time and work. Product designers can determine very fast whether data on a similar component already exists in the computer files. Custom manufacturing costs can more easily be estimated and the relevant statistics on materials, processes, number of parts produced, and other factors can easily be obtained. With Group Technology, process plans are standardized and scheduled more efficiently, orders are grouped for more efficient production, machine utilization is optimized, set-up times are lowered, components and assemblies are manufactured more efficiently and with higher quality. Similar tools, fixtures, machines are shared in the production of a family of parts. Since we have manufacturing operations at multiple plants, Group Technology also helps us determine which plant is the most suitable for a particular manufacturing request. In other words, the system compares and matches available equipment at each plant with the requirements of a particular part or assembly and determines which of our plant or plants are the best fit for that planned work order. Even geographic proximity of the plants to the products shipping destination and shipping prices are taken into account by our computer integrated system. Together with Group Technology, we implement CAD/CAM, cellular manufacturing, computer integrated manufacturing and improve productivity and reduce costs even in small-batch production approaching mass production prices per piece. All these capabilities along with manufacturing operations of some products in low-cost countries enables AGS-Engineering to provide the most outstanding quotations for custom manufacturing RFQs.
Other powerful tools we use in our quoting process of custom manufactured components are COMPUTER SIMULATIONS of MANUFACTURING PROCESSES and SYSTEMS. A process simulation can be:
-A model of a manufacturing operation, for the purpose of determining the viability of a process or for improving its performance.
-A model of multiple processes and their interactions to help our process planners optimize process routes and layout of machinery.
Frequent problems addressed by these models include process viability such as assessing the formability and behavior of a certain gauge sheet metal in a certain pressworking operation or process optimization such as analyzing the metal-flow pattern in a die forging operation to identify potential defects. This kind of information obtained help our estimators better determine whether we should quote a particular RFQ or not. If we determine to quote it, these simulations give us a better idea about the expected yields, cycle times, prices and lead times. Our dedicated software program simulates an entire manufacturing system that involves multiple processes and equipment. This helps identify critical machinery, assists in scheduling and routing of work orders and eliminates potential production bottlenecks. Scheduling and routing information obtained helps us in our quotation of RFQs. The more accurate our info is, the more accurate and lower our quoted prices will be.
WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD CUSTOMERS PROVIDE AGS-ELECTRONICS TO GET THE BEST PRICE QUOTE WITHIN SHORTEST TIME ? Best quotation is the one with lowest possible price (with no sacrifice on quality), shortest or customer preferred lead time formally provided to customer quickly. Providing the best quotation is always our goal, however it depends on you (the customer) just as much as on us. Here is the information we would expect from you when you send us a Request for Quote (RFQ). We may not need all of these to quote your components and assemblies, but the more of these you can provide the more likely it is that you will receive a very competitive quotation from us.
- 2D Blueprints (technical drawings) of parts and assemblies. Blueprints should clearly show dimensions, tolerances, surface finish, coatings if applicable, material information, blueprint revision number or letter, Bill of Materials (BOM), part view from different directions…etc. These can be in PDF, JPEG format or else.
- 3D CAD files of parts and assemblies. These can be in DFX, STL, IGES, STEP, PDES format or else.
- Quantities of parts for quote. Generally, the higher the quantity the lower will be the price in our quote (please be honest with your actual quantities for quote).
- If there are off-the-shelf components that are assembled with your parts, please feel free to include them in your blueprints. If assembly is complicated, separate assembly blueprints help us much in the quotation process. We may buy and assemble the off-shelf components into your products or custom manufacture depending on the economic viability. In any case we can include those in our quote.
- Clearly indicate whether you want us to quote individual components or a subassembly or an assembly. This will save us time and hassle in the quotation process.
-Shipping address of parts for quote. This helps us quote shipping in case you do not have a courier account or forwarder.
- Indicate whether it is a batch production request or a long term repeat order that is planned. A repeat order over long term generally receives a better price quotation. A blanket order does generally also receive a better quote.
- Indicate whether you want special packaging, labeling, marking…etc of your products. Indicating all your requirements in the beginning will save both parties time and effort in the quotation process. If not indicated at the beginning, we will likely need to re-quote later and this will only delay the process.
- If you need us to sign an NDA prior to quoting your projects, please email them over to us. We gladly accept signing NDAs prior to quoting projects that have confidential content. If you do not have an NDA, but need one, just tell us and we will send it to you prior to quoting. Our NDA covers both sides.
WHAT PRODUCT DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS SHOULD CUSTOMERS HAVE GONE THROUGH TO GET THE BEST PRICE QUOTE WITHIN SHORTEST TIME ? Some fundamental design considerations customers should take into account for obtaining the best quotation are:
- Is it possible to simplify product design and reduce the number of components for a better quote without adversely affecting intended functions and performance ?
- Were environmental considerations taken into account and incorporated into material, process and design ? Environmentally polluting technologies have higher tax burdens and disposal fees and thus indirectly result in us quoting higher prices.
- Have you investigated all alternative designs ? When you send us a request for quote, please feel free to ask whether changes in design or material would make the price quote lower. We will review and give you our feedback about the effect of modifications on the quote. Alternatively you may send us several designs and compare our quotation on each.
- Can unnecessary features of the product or its components be eliminated or combined with other features for a better quote ?
- Have you considered modularity in your design for a family of similar products and for service and repairs, upgrading and installation ? Modularity can make us quote lower overall prices as well as reduce service and maintenance costs in the long term. For example a number of injection molded parts made of the same plastic material can be manufactured using mold inserts. Our price quotation for a mold insert is much lower than for a new mold for each part.
- Can the design be made lighter and smaller ? Lightweight and smaller size not only results in better product quotation, but also saves you much on shipping cost.
- Have you specified unnecessary and excessively stringent dimensional tolerances and surface finish ? The tighter the tolerances, the higher the price quote. The more difficult and tighter the surface finish requirements, again the higher the price quote. For the best quote, keep it as simple as needed.
- Will it be excessively difficult and time consuming to assemble, disassemble, service, repair and recycle the product ? If so, the price quote will be higher. So again keep it as simple as possible for the best price quote.
- Have you considered subassemblies ? The more value added services we add to your product such as subassembly, the better our quote will be. The overall cost of procurement will be much higher if you have several manufacturers get involved in quoting. Have us do as much as possible and for sure you will obtain the best price quote that is potentially out there.
- Have you minimized the use of fasteners, their quantities and variety ? Fasteners result in higher price quotation. If easy snap-on or stacking features can be designed into the product it may result in a better price quote.
- Are some of the components commercially available ? If you have an assembly for quote, please indicate on your drawing if some components are available off-the-shelf. Sometimes it is less expensive if we buy and incorporate these components instead of manufacturing them. Their manufacturer may be producing them in high volume and give us a better quote than us manufacturing them from scratch especially if the quantities are small.
- If possible, choose the safest materials and designs. The safer it is, the lower will be our price quote.
WHAT MATERIAL CONSIDERATIONS SHOULD CUSTOMERS HAVE GONE THROUGH TO GET THE BEST PRICE QUOTE WITHIN SHORTEST TIME ? Some fundamental material considerations customers should take into account for obtaining the best quotation are:
- Did you select materials with properties that unnecessarily exceed minimum requirements and specifications ? If so, the price quote may be higher. For the lowest quote, try to use the least expensive material that meets or exceeds expectations.
- Can some materials be replaced with less expensive ones ? This naturally lowers the price quote.
- Do the materials you selected have the appropriate manufacturing characteristics ? If so, the price quote will be lower. If not, it may take more time to manufacture the parts, and we may have more tool wear and thus a higher price quote. In short, there is no need to make a part from tungsten if aluminum does the job.
- Are raw materials needed for your products available in standard shapes, dimensions, tolerances, and surface finish ? If not, the price quote will be higher due to additional cutting, grinding, processing…etc.
- Is the material supply reliable ? If not, our quotation may well be different each time you reorder the product. Some materials have rapidly and significantly changing prices in the global marketplace. Our quote will be better if the material used is plenty and has a stable supply.
- Can the raw materials chosen be obtained in the required quantities in the desired timeframe ? For some materials, raw material suppliers have Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ). Therefore if quantities you requested are low, it may be impossible for us to get a price quote from the material supplier. Again, for some exotic materials, our procurement lead times may be too long.
- Some materials are able to improve assembly and even facilitate automated assembly. This may result in a better price quote. For example a ferromagnetic material may easily be picked and placed with electromagnetic manipulators. Consult with our engineers if you do not have internal engineering resources. Automation can lead to a much better quote especially for high volume production.
- Choose materials that increase stiffness-to-weight and strength-to-weight ratios of structures whenever possible. This will require less raw material and thus make a lower quotation possible.
- Comply with legislation and laws prohibiting the use of environmentally destructive materials. This approach will eliminate high disposal fees for destructive materials and thus make a lower quotation possible.
- Choose materials that reduce performance variations, environmental sensitivity of products, improve robustness. This way, there will be less manufacturing scrap and rework and we can quote much better prices.
WHAT MANUFACTURING PROCESS CONSIDERATIONS SHOULD CUSTOMERS HAVE GONE THROUGH TO GET THE BEST PRICE QUOTE WITHIN SHORTEST TIME ? Some fundamental process considerations customers should take into account for obtaining the best quotation are:
- Have you considered all alternative processes ? Price quote can be surprisingly lower for some processes as compared to others. Therefore, unless necessary, leave the process decision to us. We prefer to quote you considering the lowest cost option.
- What are the ecological impacts of the processes ? Try to choose the most ecologically friendly processes. This will result in a lower price quotation because of lower environment related fees.
- Are the processing methods considered economical for the type of material, shape produced, and production rate ? If these match well with the processing method, you will receive a more appealing quotation.
- Can requirements for tolerances, surface finish, and product quality be met consistently ? The more the consistency, the lower our price quotation and the shorter the lead time.
- Can your components be produced to final dimensions without additional finishing operations ? If so, this will give us the opportunity to quote lower prices.
- Is the tooling required available or manufacturable at our plants ? Or can we purchase it as an off-shelf item ? If so, we can quote better prices. If not we will need to procure and add it to our quotation. For best quote, try to keep designs and required processes as simple as possible.
- Did you think of minimizing the scrap by choosing the right process ? The lower the scrap the lower the quoted price ? We may be able to sell some scrap and deduct from the quote in some cases, but most of the scrap metal and plastics produced during processing are of low value.
- Give us the opportunity to optimize all processing parameters. This will result in a more appealing quote. For example, if four weeks lead time is good for you, don’t insist on two weeks which will force us to machine parts faster and therefore have more tool damage, as this will be calculated into the quotation.
- Have you explored all the automation possibilities for all phases of the production ? If not, reconsidering your project along these lines can result in a lower price quote.
- We implement Group Technology for parts with similar geometries and manufacturing attributes. You will receive a better quotation if you send over RFQs for more parts with similarities in geometry and design. If we evaluate them at the same time together, we will most likely quote lower prices for each (with the condition that they are ordered together).
- If you have special inspection and quality control procedures to be implemented by us, make sure they are useful and not misleading. We cannot take responsibility for mistakes arising due to ill-designed procedures imposed on us. Generally speaking, our quotation is more appealing if we implement our own procedures.
- For high volume production, our quote will be better if we manufacture all components in your assembly. However, sometimes for low volume production, our final quote can be lower if we can purchase some of the standard items that go into your assembly. Consult with us prior to making a decision.