Ah, the 1980s. A time for Rubik’s cubes, Pac-Man…and spreadsheets.
Personal computers started showing up on desktops and “apps” like Excel were used for creating accounting statements and bills of materials (along with everyday tasks like tracking your football pool). Excel was and still is a remarkable tool for accumulating data and reporting results.
Unfortunately, spreadsheets are still being used these days for quoting. Getting a price to a customer is one of the most important tasks you do in your business. An effective quoting system must be fast, accurate, and easy to understand. Spreadsheets cope with simple calculations and provide some ability to configure different variants. You can manage details such as discounts, exchange rates, and shipping charges. You might even use macros and some simple graphics to develop a decent-looking document for customer.
Over time, however, as your team grows, your product offerings become more diverse, and customization becomes increasingly important to your customers, your “simple” spreadsheets will get far too complicated and difficult to manage and use. Your quoting process will become inefficient, slow, and likely to make costly errors.
Here are some of the hazards with using spreadsheets:
- Spreadsheet data may not be “live”
Quoting is likely to be disconnected from the rest of the business. Essential data used in quoting, such as unit pricing for materials, currency exchange rates, and hourly rates for service, may not be up to date.
- Edits may not be properly managed
When using spreadsheets, it’s common for people to just edit then rename the “Master” quoting spreadsheet, leading to this type of revision scenario:
- Master Quoting Tool
- Master Quoting Tool – Rev 1
- Master Quoting Tool – Final
- Master Quoting Tool – Final 2016
- Master Quoting Tool – Final 2016 (with Dealer Edits)
After a while – and it doesn’t take long…
Continue reading this post on Novus CPQ here.
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