Re: Online quoting

From: Bill Richards (
Date: Fri Mar 01 2002 - 16:00:34 EET

Online quoting works when the customer using it is already well versed in
what he wants to accomplish with the technology at hand. But rapid
prototyping technology is still pretty new, and not everyone understands how
it works or how to utilize it.

Jan's example is a good one of what can happen when a customer doesn't know
what is available as options when using RP technology to accomplish a task.

A small foundry I had collaborated with in the past had used online quoting,
and found it quite successful at bringing business to them. A change in
management resulted in having the system removed from their web site, and
subsequently internet sales through their web site dropped. It was more an
estimating system than a quoting system, and would return a possible range
of prices, depending on what representative piece the customer selected
based on size and geometric complexity, and the material of choice for

It was a simple set up, using only three variables of size, complexity, and
material. The customers using it were already fairly experienced in dealing
with foundries, or at least were experienced enough to understand the

The rapid prototyping process is far more broad than casting (which is
itself part of the RP process), and therefore there are far more variables
involved. Bathsheba Grossman made an excellent point about dealing with
customers who are new to the technology. They don't know enough about the
process to know what questions to even ask. How would they be able to best
use a quoting engine if they don't understand the options that they are

What I see for the future of online quoting is a company or service bureau
giving a regular customer a username and password for a secure web site
where they can drop their STL model and have a quote generated automatically
after the model has been processed. Then, based on a database of previous
models from the customer, the system can generate a rough estimate. Of
course, the customer would have enough experience to understand that just
because model A looks a bit like model B, doesn't mean that the price will
be the same.


Bill Richards
Delta Search Labs
T: 617-551-4615
F: 617-551-4651

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrzejewski, Jan" <>
To: "'rp-ml'" <>
Sent: Friday, March 01, 2002 7:04 AM
Subject: Re: Online quoting

Online quoting may have a negative effect and distance you from your

The following is an example of how talking to your customer before, during
and after you have submitted a quote can help to gain a sale.

I was asked to quote for a shower mixer ...

For more information about the rp-ml, see

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