Founded in 1972, Kitchen Craft (Winnipeg, Manitoba) has been manufacturing semi-custom cabinetry for kitchens, bathrooms, and offices throughout North America. Today, they are one of the most recognizable names in the cabinet industry, offering a variety of makes, models and material types. In 2002, Kitchen Craft began operating as a subsidiary of MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc. and they expanded their product line to include both custom and modular cabinetry.
As the housing market remains stagnant, homeowners are finding themselves less mobile than they were years ago. Instead of buying and selling their homes, families are deciding to stay put – choosing instead to add value to their current homes. Bathrooms and kitchens are amongst the most frequently upgraded areas of a house – and because of that – Kitchen Craft has found they are as busy as ever and has experienced a dramatic increase in quoting demand.
"Prior to implementing Costimator®, the cost estimating software, we were facing a lot of challenges in terms of consistency and efficiency of our quotes," said Kitchen Craft Shane Goerzen, Sr. Design & Tech Support Supervisor at Kitchen Craft. "We had been using a home-grown estimating software that had become cumbersome to maintain, limiting our ability to evolve over time. Once we saw the sudden spike in requests for quotes, we discovered that those older methods were out of date and bogged down our process. We had a very difficult time keeping up with demand."
With work orders piling up, many of the specific issues in Kitchen Craft's methods began to present themselves.
"We were doing almost everything by hand, and that caused things to be slower relative to where we wanted and needed to be," said Goerzen. "In our industry, speed is everything. When it takes six months to train employees and they're spending time, thumbing through pricing guides, to do your cost estimating, it can really bog down quoting and sales. You can lose out on RFQs, contracts, customers, etc. The whole process was cumbersome, so we felt the strong need to explore changing our estimating method."
How Costimator Helped
After scouring the market place for a software solution, Kitchen Craft came across Costimator, cost estimating and quoting software and was immediately impressed with many of its key features, but above all else – the software's ability to provide formula driven cost models through its Cost Modeler feature.
"What we appreciate most about Costimator, is its ability to create cost models that produce accurate and consistent results – almost instantly – by using 'Cost Modeler' one of the most powerful embedded features Costimator now has", said Goerzen. "Instead of taking six months to train estimators on the ins and outs of our business, all the necessary 'tribal knowledge' is built into the database and the cost models, making it possible for a layman estimator to hit the ground running. Instead of spending over five minutes thumbing through price guides, we're now calculating intricate, detailed jobs in a minute or two. So between the speed and accuracy of the software, we've been able to save a lot of time and money. Also, we see many more opportunities on the horizon as we develop cost models for more complex estimating scenarios, identifying even greater time-saving opportunities. One example is that we have begun to use just cubic foot as a key input to price out cabinet estimating."
The faster turnaround times have not only allowed our quoting team to significantly reduce lead times, but their quotes have been more accurate, as well. Kitchen Craft's cost estimating process has become more scaled and accessible to departments meaning more people can produce more quotes faster, more accurately and with less training than what we experienced in the past.
"Costimator on the whole has been a huge upgrade for us," concluded Goerzen. "It's allowed us to maintain and enhance our targeted profit margins without increasing the burden on the customer. Win-win relationships are what you always hope for, and Costimator has certainly helped us in that regard."