In 1951, when Boston's aerospace and high tech manufacturing sectors were in their infancy, Harvey Lobdell moved a few second-hand metalworking machines into the basement of his suburban home and founded Northeast Manufacturing, Inc. From those modest beginnings, the company has grown into one of the region's leading contract machine shops, adding the latest in machining and computer-aided technology and successfully adapting to the shifts and changes in New England's finicky manufacturing sector.
Precision Machine Fabrication was searching to replace their one-person estimating department with a consistent estimating method. This consistency could help multiple estimators work together seamlessly and efficiently estimate.
One of the largest problems for any manufacturer engaging in cost estimation in general is winning jobs and customers. "Since 9-11, it seems like there is half as much business out there, and it's twice as competitive to win it," observes Northeast President Chris Lobdell, Harvey's son. Contract bidding and the always-important art of fast and accurate cost estimating are more crucial to company profitability now than ever before.
"In times like these, we don't want to lose any business, so we work extra hard and bid extra aggressively," Lobdell says. "At the same time, we don't want to misquote a job, underbid it, and only break even or lose money. Costimator is a valuable tool for making effective quotes, eliminating underbids, and helping us to keep an accurate handle on our manufacturing costs."
The manufacturing industry is extremely competitive for jobs, so it is imperative that Northeast Manufacturing can offer their customers the fastest, most accurate quotes possible to give them the leg up in the industry.
How Costimator Helped
Northeast first purchased Costimator cost estimating software in 1987. Since then, Costimator has been able to integrate Northeast's software database in order to customize the Costimator experience. Chris Lobdell of Northeast Manufacturing noted, "Contract bidding and the art of fast and accurate cost estimating are more crucial to a company's profitability now than ever before. We rely heavily on our system to produce accurate bids for competing effectively."
Lobdell notes that the system not only provides fast and accurate job quotes for manufacturing a variety of parts on his company's sophisticated CNC machining centers, but it also provides benefits to a variety of areas outside of cost estimating. For instance, Costimator's comprehensive process plans, routings, and other reports support customer service and sales. The accurate manufacturing times created on Costimator are fed into Northeast's Made2Manage management software, helping to improve the accuracy of shop floor scheduling.
Through the use of Costimator cost estimating software, Northeast Manufacturing was able to:
• Increase RFQ "Win" percentage by 100%
• Eliminate jobs that cost money to produce
• Reduce estimating time by up to 200%
• Increase shop floor productivity by up to 30%
"When quoting a part for NASA, I was able to suggest using a larger end mill, which improved cutting efficiency and shortened cycle time," explains Charles Masterson, an estimator with Northeast. "That and a few setup changes halved the $50,000 target manufacturing cost. Northeast won the bid".