Gardner Manufacturing Company (Horicon, WI) has provided custom sheet metal manufacturing to a variety of industries ranging from energy, military, electronics, heavy equipment, and medical. Gardner's 160,000 sq. foot facility features a robust array of manufacturing capabilities including a sheet metal fabrication shop, weld shop and a paint facility. They manufacture a wide range of parts including: electronic enclosures, sheet metal brackets, weldments, bus bars and virtually any sheet metal part that can be fabricated from steel, aluminum, or stainless steel. While Gardner Manufacturing Company is ISO 9001-2008 certified, they are well-known, by their customers, for on-time delivery and commitment to the quality they put into their products. They recently recognized a 12-month customer rating of 99%, which just last month, shot up to 99.6%.
In 2007, Gardner Manufacturing found itself in the same boat as many sheet metal manufacturers, finding that the demand for estimates and quotes was greatly out pacing their ability to provide them. While required to use longhand estimating, employees were mired in the usual tedium of thumbing through time study charts, filling in times, adding data and converting it into cost. They were beginning to lose trust in their cumbersome and time-consuming approach which resulted in slow turnaround times, inaccurate quotes, with missed opportunities.
"We were estimating more or less the old fashioned way using things like hand written routings." said Robert Marschke, Estimating Engineer, at Gardner Manufacturing. "Our Enterprise resource program (ERP) needed a true estimating program that would enable estimates based on manufacturing cycle times. We needed a better way to estimate part costs in order to produce more consistent quotes."
For Gardner Manufacturing, the problem wasn't just a concern for accuracy and a minimizing a lengthy process as it relates to estimating and quoting. The company also wanted to make sure they were providing a better price and value to their customers.
"Making sure the process wasn't as tedious was a huge priority for us," said Robert. "Having a tool where we could quickly compare cost models against each other in order to find the lowest cost and one that worked best was greatly desired."
How Costimator Helped
Gardner Manufacturing hit the market in search of a program that they could trust and would serve as a total product cost management solution. Costimator proved to be the upgrade they were seeking to find, providing the company with a new level of accessibility to the process, faster quoting turnaround times and more consistency in their cost estimating and quoting process.
"Prior to using this cost estimating program, using long-hand forms caused inconsistencies throughout our quoting process. This estimating software has been a complete game changer for us," said Dean Ravanelli, one of Gardner manufacturing estimators. "Our estimates and quotes are more consistent everywhere. We're able to view multiple sheet metal estimates, at the same time, which helps our decision-making process be more analytical -- instead of relying on guesswork. While helping us better manage our quotes more consistently, Costimator® is flat out enabling our company to be more competitive while also offering better prices to our customers."
Not only has Costimator proved its worth internally at Gardner Manufacturing, but it's turned the heads of their customers, as well.
One of the most glaring needs in the manufacturing industry in recent times has been the issue of transparency. OEMs seek out manufacturers, who they trust will deliver more complete information, including when a change request requires an immediate turnaround.
"The ability to provide our customers with a breakout of data is a tremendous advantage for us," Dean continued. "It puts us in a unique place in that we're able to offer a special kind of transparency that brings the whole service around full circle. Decisions made on estimates are now easier for us, as well as for our customer. There isn't a price in the world that you can put on trust."
At the end of the day, Gardner has been very pleased by the results they've received from this cost estimating program.
"We're using Costimator exclusively for our estimating," explains Marschke. "Being able to bring up different operations on the same estimate, to find the best one to use and delete the ones we don't, provides us a highly customized solution that helps us win more orders while also helping to increase the satisfaction of our customers – a total process improvement."