From costing calculations to pre-calculations
Howden Thomassen Compressors – until 2011 Thomassen Compression Systems – designs, manufactures, installs and maintains reciprocating compressors for the oil and gas industry among others. These machines are a crucial part of the refining process. An average reciprocating compressor can easily cost millions of euros. It was important for Howden Thomassen to calculate accurately. The conversion from costing calculations to pre-calculations has even led to a better competitive position.
Howden Thomassen Compressors is active in a buyers’ market. As Gerrit Jan Donderwinkel (Manager Sales Projects) explains: “We all fish in the same pond, while companies are more reluctant to make investments. So it’s important for us to be able to produce competitive quotations quickly in order to score orders. An average sales process takes about two years, so a lot of energy is put into that. We then work on building the reciprocating compressor for about 13 to 14 months. You can understand that purchasing prices and other prices can fluctuate significantly during that time. Current and well-founded prices are therefore of great importance to us, as price fluctuations during production cannot be passed on to customers.”
Howden Thomassen decided to identify all of the prices and store them in Sofon. “We are working with a current price now, without having to make rough estimates. We are absolutely much closer to the realistic price,” Van Maanen says. “A price calculation after the fact is often 2 years old. In most cases, our price is now only a month old. Nothing much can be wrong with that.” It is enormously reassuring to Donderwinkel to know that calculations are being made using current prices. “Now that estimates are no longer being made, the expected production hours are more realistic: they have been reduced by 25%. That translates to a 2% decrease in total cost price, which means that we are now more solidly in the black. So we make a sharper profit. That in turn has helped improve our competitive position.”
But prices are not the only things that have been secured: knowledge has also been safeguarded. Donderwinkel explains, “Now that quotations are generated automatically during configuration, copying and pasting from old quotations is a thing of the past. That method was extremely error-prone; it was possible to forget parts or use the wrong discounts.” A large number of quotations have now been produced with Sofon. “Our quotation cycle time has at least been halved internally,” Van Maanen continues. “The quotations produced by Service can be prepared in just an hour instead of an entire day. And our Repair Shop can’t wait to get started with Sofon.”