In a quotation (or “quote”) to a customer, the following information should be included:
- Date on which the quotation was provided
- Details about the quoted plastic mold, including the type of machine and ancillary equipment used to make the mold. The plan should also include specifics about the mold, such as the design of the gates, the anticipated cycle, the responsibility for shrinkage, etc.
- Mold pricing (examined in detail in the preceding text)
- Validity period for the quote (this is important if the quote is being evaluated by many workers, there are many inquiries, and the shop is busy) to avoid impacting the quoted delivery time by an unanticipated delay in receiving the quote.
- Providing delivery data, from ordering the product to testing the mold.
- The delivery method (which will be agreed upon by the supplier and the customer)
- Payment terms (to be agreed between the supplier and the customer)
- Disclaimers and warranty terms
Timeline on quotation for delivery
A quotation should include a delivery time. Deliveries are determined by estimating time required to perform the necessary work (designing, machining, assembling, and testing); however, delivery promises also depend on how quickly the job can be started and how available time is in these areas. Deliveries to testing are often quoted instead of deliveries to shipping to make clients aware that testing could reveal unforeseen issues before shipping.
The conditions of the plant constantly change. The majority of people may be busy today, but may find themselves looking for work in a few months. In a quote, the delivery period is usually indicated as a short period of time, or as an immediate delivery period. At the time of quoting, we estimate a delivery within a few weeks depending on the current load in the shop. Each quotation should clearly state the period during which it is valid. This is because there is a change in shop load all the time.
A mold maker, however, faces the risk of continuing to submit quotations in the order in which they are requested, while fully aware from past experience that only a fraction will ever be purchased. Mold makers may think it is a great success when orders are received in excess of what can be shipped, however, ignoring the wishes of customers (for early delivery) does not make sense.
Increasing design and manufacturing hours would be the best proposed solution. However, such an expansion is not practical because more space, more capital for equipment, and a more qualified workforce would be required to capitalize on such immediate expansion. In most cases, the answer is to work overtime; however, some areas limit how many hours can be worked overtime.
As long as qualified personnel are available on time, adding shift work in some areas might be helpful. Subcontracting some of the work is one option for the mold maker. When they operate on a smaller scale, mold makers often outsource design work and some machining and finishing operations.
Validation on quotation
It is always advisable to include the phrase “subject to confirmation” in any quotation you provide. Mold makers reserve the right to conduct an additional evaluation of the quotation and consider the impact it will have on shop volume, before committing to a delivery time with a formal “order confirmation”.
It is also wise for the mold maker to carefully examine the quoted price upon the formality of confirmation since the customer has clearly indicated that they are serious about ordering the mold.
A mold maker and customer could be engaged in some serious discussions now, if one wants to extend the delivery time, or even request a higher price; however, it is far better to have an argument now rather than losing money on the job or confronting unpleasant disagreements later.
Upon acceptance of the confirmation by the customer, the mold maker is responsible for maintaining the delivery date. An unreachable delivery date is the worst. Mold makers should keep their customers on top of the status of their ordered molds regularly (weekly or monthly), and should inform the customer as soon as something threatening their delivery date has occurred.
Mold makers should never forget that their customers have an obligation to the people who expect the molded products.
A steady flow of work would be appreciated by almost all mold makers. It is not true in practice. A famine may occur instead of a feast. There are many factors affecting shop demand, so it is not possible to predict exact demand for molds in advance. Mold work is seasonally dependent, so production is highest in fall and winter, and it reduces in summer, along with other factors.
No mold maker wants to cut salary if there is little work; more often than not, especially machinists, prefer working overtime over regular hours during periods of abundance. Our best option, when it comes to planning, has always been to have backlogs of orders going back a few months, usually from customers who aren’t bothered by the wait, given that they know they will receive excellent service. A moldmaker should also allow for some unexpected problems to arise in the shop.