Manufacturing bespoke signage is a phenomenally fast moving supply chain.
Customers demand quotations for bespoke products and expect a fast turnaround. “First to quote wins” is an industry mantra. The business will quote, engineer, manufacture and deliver finished products – generally within two weeks of enquiry. Any bespoke manufacturer is likely to be impressed with this. Any standard manufacture, is likely to be amazed.
Due to the nature of the pace of business, common pain points across the industry relate to delays in quotations, inaccuracies in pricing and errors in specification. Furthermore Signage resellers often possess a shortage of detailed product knowledge.
Everpro founder Jonathan Bradley held a position as a Director of Applelec Sign Components Ltd, a manufacturer of Signage and Lighting products based out of Bradford, West Yorkshire.
The company employees 70 staff and has been built around a core offering of bespoke manufacturing of Signage products. Jonathan led a vision, to remove the industry pain points by enabling the resellers to be first to quote, quickly, confidently and accurately. Now Everpro continues to support the industry advancement.
The company implemented Qiksell; the lasted bespoke quotation software. As of September 2020, the company was able to offer instantaneous quotations, with an accurate bill of materials. They had full visibility and control of sale prices and margins.
This competitive advantage saw sales records achieved and broken numerous times during 2021 and they continue to break records through 2022.
Applelec are now proceeding to place the technology in the hands of their customers through a trade portal. Customers will also have the power to quote their customers without limits, giving them a competitive advantage unrivalled in the industry. Customers will also access white label digital content and free online training courses.
Here are the 3 ways that this strategic digital transformation is changing the Signage industry.
1 Time is being saved
Before: Resellers of manufactured signage would need to contact a trade manufacturer such as Applelec, provide a drawing and specification details. Applelec employees would need to calculate the bill of materials, and provide one or more options to the reseller. This often meant exchanging details over the course of a few days to produce a quotation. Whilst the end user is waiting and the reseller risks losing their client.
Now: The Applelec resellers logs into Applelec’s FIRST trade portal, raises as many quotations as needed and has their prices instantly. In turn, the resellers customer receives their quotes quickly and the reseller increases their chances of securing the deal. And this competitive advantage is available to them 24/7, wherever they may be!
2 Product standards are possible
Before: The industry has struggled to adopt any form of product standards and it’s not for a lack of trying. Many documents have been created by manufacturers and industry bodies to outline suggested material usage, method of construction and installation. This bold attempt fails as the standards are not legislative, leaving the industry to self regulate. Needless to say, the standards are note often engineered into manufacturing processes.
Now: The quotations engines build in the standards that Applelec have established, meaning that customers are unable to raise a quotation, without the item being configured to standard. The qualifying questions forge the integrity of the product design. For example, items over a certain size will have limited material and fixing options for safety and maintenance reasons. Furthermore the bill of materials is created at the time of the quotation, as are the shop floor works order instructions. This enables manufacturers to offer a standard and deliver it, like never before.
3 Resellers are empowered
Before: The reseller of a Sign would need to rely on the expertise of the trade manufacturer. That means they would need to be guided through a rabbit warren of complicated options and limitations when creating a quotation. This didn’t just cause delays, it created confusion and often resulted in friction. Errors were all too common and the root cause of the error always seemed to be unobtainable. Manufacturer: “You signed off the drawing”, Reseller: “But you’re the expert”…
Now: Resellers are able to access more than just a quick quote. They have access to all the ingredients needed to make a credible signage quotation and handle their customers like a professional. Training documents, drawings, renders, explanations as to what qualifying questions mean… these are all at the fingertips of the resllers through the trade portal. This positions the reseller as the expert in the eyes of their customer and enables them to turn their attention to develop their client base and grow their business, with confidence.