February 16, 2024
When business slows down it is common for management to request that the Sales Department cast a wider net in hopes of landing some new accounts. In my previous posting I described the point system we once used to evaluate new opportunities; the Financial Risk and Technical Difficulty categories were covered. Today we will discuss the awarding of points for how well a project fit our “open time.” Very rarely did an inquiry get the 5 points awarded for filling a hole in our machine utilization schedule. Every shop has those “hangar queens” that have unique capacities or capabilities that make them worth keeping — but seldom used. A salesman who can find a new job for such a machine deserves a pat on the back. So does the person who manages to get another chance at a job not seen in some time. There has been so much commotion in company ownership that it is worth the effort to find out the status of former projects from even twenty years or more in the past. This entire rant on quoting was inspired by a gearbox I last worked on in 1990 coming back into production. We awarded 4 points to inquiries from companies that had a previous successful history with us; 3 points for inquires that were very similar to previous “wins.” If a minor investment in tools was required that the customer would not pay for, 2 points were assigned. Occasionally we got an inquiry that required a re-build or modification to a machine or a big piece of tooling. As long as this did not reduce the availability or capability for other projects, we would assign these inquiries a single point. Inquiries that required the purchase of a machine were routinely assigned zero points for suitability. It is hard to justify a large capital investment for a new client. Only once or twice did we knowingly bid a job with the intention of sub-contracting a critical operation to another gear company. Our blog series on evaluation inquiries will conclude next time with a discussion of Sales Considerations.