Gaining ground

Tools for estimators help generate sales, reduce costs

Above: Winning one more job with the speed and accuracy of SecturaFAB usually pays for the software twice over, says COO Brad Stropes.

Tools for estimators help generate sales, reduce costs

February 2022 - Customers, and by extension sales, are the lifeblood of an organization. Estimating and quoting without converting quotes to sales equals lost revenues. However, estimating is a necessary, but imperfect, step to revenue generation. Many organizations focus primarily on operations and forget that the reason they exist is due to sales. The most important function of sales within an organization is timely, accurate and competitive bids. Many organizations use an assortment of cumbersome and outdated resources such as Excel templates, programming software and tribal knowledge to build estimates. This is all changing with a platform called SecturaFAB by SecturaSoft.

SecturaFAB combines all the tools that estimators use into a single, seamless platform. It has the ability to nest parts described in virtually all types of files, from a CAD file to a PDF. It can also quote for any operation, such as laser, multi-head oxy, and welding. The best part about SecturaFAB, though, is that anyone can turn around quotes faster and more accurately than an estimator with long experience.

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SecturaFAB allows users to move the goalpost to days of productivity gains for the sales team.

Filling a gap

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the skills gap in the workforce. The new generation of talent is not actively pursuing positions within the metals industry, and it is competing with attractive industries around the world, especially those that offer the ability to work from home. SecturaFAB is a unique platform that users can be trained to run in mere hours, and the platform can be accessed from anywhere. The SecturaFAB team has used years of industry knowledge and advanced software technology to take the tribal knowledge out of estimating and put it into new sleek software.

What this means for many of its customers is short training cycles for one of their largest bottlenecks, estimating, and no more training on each process to become an efficient estimator. The tool is what many are accustomed to using straight out of school, and it contains the intelligence to apply run time for any operation, without the use of spreadsheets. However, the most advantageous part about the software is the gains in sales that SecturaFAB is seeing among its customers. Plus, the organizational cost structure supports new estimators. Companies can be confident in the standardized cost practices governed by the platform.

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SecturaFAB has the ability to nest parts described in virtually all types of files, from a CAD file to a PDF.

Time savings

Most individuals are focused on machinery and operational efficiencies. These are extremely important and should not be diminished. Yet, many of the new tools seen on the shop floor look to shave minutes or hours off an operation. SecturaFAB allows users to move that goalpost further—to days of productivity gains for the sales team.

SecturaFAB does this by taking complex quotes and turning them around five to 10 times faster. This is done by advance geometric importing, PDF conversion and operational automation for all processes. What this means is that a quote that takes most organizations five days will take SecturaFAB only an hour. Or, those quotes that typically take an hour can be completed in minutes.

The overall result is that the team is able to cut days off operations time, decreasing the delivery time of parts to customers. This increases the shop throughput and, potentially, increases sales opportunities with each customer.

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When a service center can cut days off production time, it also reduces the lead times for finished parts arriving at customers’ doors.


Being first with a quote can net the user more business and more wins. “Many customers ask us the ROI on SecturaFAB,” says SecturaSoft COO Brad Stropes. “I always tell them that winning one more job with the speed and accuracy of SecturaFAB usually pays for the software twice over. That doesn’t include the decrease in training and increase of quotes per day. This all leads to more business. Which is why our customers exist in the first place.”   

Many service centers and job shops are extremely focused on equipment and cutting down run times by minutes. But they sometimes miss the big picture. If a quote takes days to return, it will be hard for the laser cutting operation to catch up from a lengthy estimating process. One forward-thinking organization that was able to see the benefits of SecturaFAB is O’Neal Steel.

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Companies can be confident in the standardized cost practices governed by the SecturaFAB platform.

Doubling output

O’Neal Steel first installed SecturaFAB at the end of 2019. Since then, the distributor and processor has worked closely with SecturaSoft to make this platform more powerful. The result has been more quotes out the door, faster turnaround times and a decrease in tools used by new estimators.

Ron Moreau, processing manager at O’Neal Steel, explains, “Our processing specialists have been using SecturaSoft since January 2020. We saw an immediate increase in completed quotes per day. After a short period of time, we saw more than a doubling of our output. With the continuing improvements being made on a monthly basis, we now feel confident in having a few of our inside sales reps enter some of their own quotes. We expect in the coming months to have SecturaSoft in the hands of even more of our sales reps.”

At a large and competent organization, such as O’Neal Steel, being able to double output is an amazing feat, and the company expects more positive results in the future.

Without generating sales, companies must close their doors. But by using the latest technologies, SecturaSoft can help customers to future-proof their operations, boost sales and help new estimators get started in their careers. MM