February 6, 2015

AutoQuotes Newsletter October 2014

New Strategies for Data Interchange in the Channel

In his first President's Message in FEDA magazine, Brad Pierce wrote about his meeting at the NRA Show with the FCSI, CFESA, MAFSI, NAFEM presidents.  "If often feels like our industry operates in silos", he wrote.  "We need to make it clear to all that it is a new day and dignity is being restored to the term industry partners". 

There was a warm consensus and led to many discussions about efficiency, scalability, security, cost, and most important, trust. Vertically and horizontally, the channel is still complicated and fragmented.  The majority of dealers and reps are family businesses.  Some NAFEM members are big public corporations but the median are small companies making specialty products.  The FCSI community is creative minds working in small company teams .  CFESA members are the "boots on the ground' with technicians who know local commercial kitchens and the local operators. 

The news that the leaders of all the associations are cooperating on new information standards drives opportunities for technology improvement to speed up activity and reduce friction in the channel. Some of the discussion has been to agree on a dictionary of model numbers and serial numbers to standardize the information sent to ERP systems, dealer inventory systems, web sites, eCommerce sites, AutoQuotes, and any other apps or devices that operate in the channel.  Smallwares manufacturers already identify most of their products with model numbers and with UPC/GTIN numbers, and many large dealers now map their stock numbers to these. 

Equipment manufacturers have model numbers that refer to a family of products, but every product requires a serial number to uniquely identify the product configuration. There are some recent data interchange strategies and opportunities being discussed to improve accuracy and reduce friction as products are specified, bid, purchased, built, and serviced through the channel.

  • The technology of cloud-based data interchange reduces cost and increases accuracy

  • Common content API's (Application Program Interface) will speed up development so that accounting systems, websites, CAD programs, and other business applications will communicate with each other

  • Authentication and security in channel communications can be proven as safe and available

  • Attracting young talent is a high priority at all levels of the channel.  Having business applications that communicate with smartphones and mobile devices is a competitive advantage when recruiting young people to take jobs in the channel. There are initiatives already gaining some traction in data interchange

  • SpecPathâ„¢, a new tool created by MAFSI to logs 114000 specifications from projects to track specification credits for reps

  • FEDA Export.  FEDA members have a privilege to connect to the entire AutoQuotes online catalog for specs, pricing, images, and spec sheets.  Over 80 FEDA members connect to update inventory data, web sites, or e-commerce.

  • Quote to Order.  Bridge software to send AutoQuotes quotes into accounting systems as orders.  A new API is in development for use by TRX, POSitive 5 Star, Quickbooks, and other Dealer accounting software.

  • Orgoâ„¢, a CRM and quote tracking mobile app for Reps to manage and report activity. The value proposition for the channel is driven by the fact that computers talking to computers is faster and more cost effective when no human intervention is necessary.

Too many quotes, nets, deviated prices, PO's, and acknowledgements are exchanged in PDF or fax ‘hard copy' formats.  It is great news to hear that the leaders of all five associations are working together to create new data interchange standards.  In a recent email discussion with Brad Pierce, he wrote, "The easier answer is to eliminate processes thereby freeing labor to spend their time on more productive matters - data interchange is the answer. I believe this is our real sell to the industry…That's a win."

AutoQuotes Metrics

Quoting is like the business conversations that occur in the channel before contracts are signed and purchase orders written.  Not all quotes become orders, and not all designs are built.  And for every major kitchen project, there are teams of many channel partners specifying, bidding, and quoting on each job.  AutoQuotes hosts over 1 million quotes per year.  The dollar volume of quotes each year is over $40 billion. Research by the trade publications estimate that actual industry revenues are $8 to $10 billion per year.  The volume of quoting is an indicator of how much every project iterates, renders, negotiates, and re-engineers its way through the channel before it is resolved and purchased.

AutoQuotes Quoting Activity by Company Type


What's New with AQ?

AQ iPhone App
Continuing to expand on our selection of mobile apps, AutoQuotes is proud to announce the AQ iPhone app scheduled to be released in November 2014. The iPhone app will look familiar to many of our users who have used the iPad, and they can expect similar functionality. Be on the lookout for the iPhone release in November 2014.
AutoQuotes is Moving This November, AutoQuotes is relocating into new office space. Our mailing address is changing,but our phone numbers and email addresses will not change. Our new location is on the top floor of an office building close to an I-95 exit in Jacksonville, Florida. We encourage you to stop by anytime!
New Address: 8800 Baymeadows Way West Suite 500 Jacksonville, FL 32256

undefined  The AutoQuotes Team   

New Manufacturers for September and October 


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