Carroll Machine Works (Pasadena, TX) is a precision machine shop who does work for NASA, and a variety of companies in the aerospace, petrochemical, oilfield and gas industries. The owner and chief estimator, Wayne Carroll responds to about 150 RFQs a week with many customers demanding a response in two to three days. Therefore, the ability to come up with cost estimates swiftly and precisely is essential to the health of the company.
At Carroll Machine Works, the ability to produce cost estimates quickly and accurately is a matter of survival. "We pretty much live and die by our quotes down here, competing for every job," says Wayne Carroll, Owner of Carroll Machine Works. "Some parts cost $10,000 or more. We had better be estimating accurately, or we lose, big time." Realizing that manual cost estimating methods couldn’t match the incoming stream of RFQs – many with deadlines of two and three days – Carroll tried to use a customized spreadsheet, however, it didn’t satisfy Carroll. After reviewing computer-aided cost estimating options, he purchased the Costimator System by MTI Systems, Inc.
How Costimator Helped
Costimator includes a comprehensive database of proven manufacturing data and knowledge gleaned from a variety of sources. The system has increased Carroll Machine’s estimating speed by up to 80% (versus manual), boosting the company's ability to respond and its chances of winning jobs. Carroll says that the Costimator virtually eliminated "losers" jobs that cost more than estimated. The Costimator paid for itself in months, adds Carroll, who has tailored the system’s standards and machine times. The company feels that it can now bid jobs with total confidence.
The addition of Costimator has enabled Carroll to spend more time on the shop floor resolving production issues. Employees with basic machining and estimating knowledge can now quote accurately with Costimator, he says. "When a customer sends us a part drawing, we can make an estimate with the Costimator, play ‘what if' and make appropriate recommendations on material and design," Carroll says. "We can show how engineering changes will affect cost.”
Carroll claims a part that used to take an hour to quote now takes him 10 minutes or less with Costimator. "That kind of speed, combined with the reliability of a computerized quote and personalized service to individual customers, makes the Costimator an important member of our sales team."