Wire-harness quoting

The process of Request for Quote (RFQ) is notably labour-intensive, particularly within wire harness design and manufacturing, which often involves several components. Each component comes with distinct specifications and associated costs. In the event of winning the job, any lack of accuracy can result in quotes that do not align with actual expenses, thereby jeopardizing the budget and potentially leading to unforeseen cost overruns during project execution.

The financial repercussions of an inaccurate RFQ can vary widely depending on the complexity of the job, ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars, if not more. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure precision in the quoting process. 

Challenge 1: Determining accurate costs

The majority of components included in your cost estimations may already be catalogued within your ERP system, which somewhat simplifies pricing. Automated updates or recent purchase prices can typically be relied upon in these cases.

However, complexities arise when new components enter the equation. The dynamic nature of electrical systems introduces new terminals, specifications, and other elements to the market. Additionally, projects may involve components that haven’t been previously utilized. These factors add layers of complexity to the quoting process, potentially leading to cost inefficiencies in wire-harness production.

Investing significant time in quoting for a project that may not ultimately result in a contract can be counterproductive. This scenario represents the delicate balance inherent in manual processes. It’s important to consider that manual data compilation may result in delayed responses to client inquiries, posing a threat to business opportunities.

The risk of pricing inaccuracies looms large in manual workflows, encompassing issues such as data input errors, discrepancies in cost calculations, and inadvertent omissions of specific requirements. Quoting complexities in the wire harness industry can lead to inaccuracies. This, in turn, can yield far-reaching consequences, ranging from the potential loss of customers due to overpriced quotations to unexpected financial burdens arising from underpriced quotes when project execution is underway. 

Challenge 2: Ensuring complete BOMs

The thoroughness of the Bill of Materials (BOM) is paramount. BOMs encompass a multitude of components, connectors, wires, and other materials, each integral to the harness’s proper operation. Manual quoting processes are susceptible to overlooking or omitting crucial components, resulting in incomplete quotes. Such oversights can lead to costly delays and disruptions in production when these essential parts are later needed, potentially causing project setbacks and additional expenses.

Challenge 3: Labor cost calculation

Precise estimation of labor costs is pivotal for delivering accurate quotes to clients and effectively managing project budgets. Without a standardized method for calculating labor costs across manufacturing operations, there’s an increased risk of either underestimating or overestimating these expenses. Underestimation may result in unforeseen financial strains during production, whereas overestimation could render quotes less competitive. This challenge has the potential to substantially affect your profitability and competitiveness in the industry.

Challenge 4: Multiple profiles

Managing diverse customer requirements and cost structures across various locations poses a common challenge in the manufacturing industry, particularly concerning wire harnesses. Without the capability to generate multiple supplier/customer costing profiles, companies may find it challenging to customize their quotes effectively. This can lead to quoting prices that do not accurately reflect the specific needs of each customer, potentially resulting in missed opportunities or unfulfilled expectations.

Challenge 5: Cost tracking 

It is crucial to monitor and manage project costs to stay within budget and ensure profitability. Nevertheless, manually tracking costs can be arduous and susceptible to errors. Without a streamlined system in place, assessing the financial implications of engineering changes promptly becomes challenging. This lack of visibility into cost changes can impede effective cost control, potentially leading to budget overruns and financial strain.

Challenge 6: Flexible output 

Effective communication with both customers and internal teams hinges on presenting cost information in appropriate formats. The challenge lies in ensuring that the format of the output aligns with the preferences and requirements of diverse stakeholders. Failure to achieve this alignment can disrupt collaboration, lead to misunderstandings, and hinder decision-making processes.

Challenge 7: Load price data

Manually updating pricing information entails significant labor and time investment, which can strain resources and introduce the possibility of errors. This process involves meticulously inputting and verifying data for each component, which increases the likelihood of inaccuracies creeping into the system.

The challenge is further compounded by the absence of a streamlined system designed to efficiently load and maintain pricing data. Without such a system in place, there’s a risk of delays in updating prices, resulting in outdated information being used for quotes. This can lead to discrepancies between the quoted price and the actual cost of materials, labor, and other expenses incurred during production.

Moreover, outdated pricing information can erode trust and credibility with clients, as they may perceive inconsistencies in the quotes provided. It can also disrupt financial planning and budgeting efforts within the organization, as inaccurate quotes may result in unforeseen expenses and budget overruns during project execution.

Surmounting the challenges with fast, accurate quotes

Arcadia quoteBuilder is a powerful cloud-based add-on tool compatible with Arcadia modules including Harness, Harness Manufacturing, OEM Bundle, and Manufacturing Bundle. This tool substantially minimizes manual tasks inherent in the quoting process, enabling swift and precise generation of quotes.

Integrating quoteBuilder into your RFQ workflow streamlines the process to such an extent that obtaining a quote within a day becomes feasible. Depending on the complexity of the harness design, this acceleration could translate into reaching the market two, four, or even six weeks earlier than initially projected.

Database Integration: quoteBuilder incorporates a comprehensive database of components, including connectors, wires, terminals, and other commonly used parts in wire harness assemblies. These components can be pre-loaded with pricing and specifications from your existing ERP System. 

Component Selection: Instead of manually inputting component details, users can choose components from the integrated database via intuitive interfaces, eliminating the need for external searches.

Automatic Calculations: quoteBuilder automatically computes costs associated with selected components, encompassing material costs, labor expenses, and any additional manufacturing-related costs. This automation reduces errors and saves time, which is crucial to reduce manufacturing costs.

Labor Operations: Users can assign labor operations and specify the necessary time and resources for each manufacturing step in wire harness assembly. quoteBuilder then calculates labor costs based on this input.

Templates and Profiles: Custom templates and profiles can be created for commonly used configurations or specific customer requirements. This enables quick and accurate quote generation without starting from scratch for each RFQ response.

Report Generation: quoteBuilder facilitates the creation of detailed or summary reports containing cost breakdowns, component lists, and other pertinent information. These reports are generated automatically, eliminating the need for manual report creation.

Data Export: Upon finalizing the quote, quoteBuilder allows easy data export in formats like CSV. This feature ensures seamless transfer of quote information into ERP systems or other relevant software.

Streamlined Workflow: Integration with other design and manufacturing tools ensures efficient data flow from the quoting phase to project management, procurement, and production. This minimizes manual data transfer and reduces the risk of data-entry errors.

The bigger picture 

The wire harness industry is experiencing notable transformation fueled by advancements in electrification, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Industry 4.0. The heightened functionality in modern appliances, products, and vehicles has amplified the demand for robust power and data connections.

There’s some irony, therefore,to rely on predominantly manual processes for completing RFQs when there are simpler and more cost-effective methods available. Additionally, it’s crucial to remember that your quoting process not only facilitates the acquisition of new business but also cultivates enduring relationships with customers. Nurturing strong customer connections can result in repeat business, referrals, and a favorable reputation within your industry.

Ask us for a free demo 

How can Arcadia quoteBuilder improve your efficiency and productivity? Find out for yourself. We’re happy to give you a free demonstration. And if you have any questions, we’re here to help.