According to Forkapa, the web-based program allows fabricators to provide their dealer customers with a password providing limited access to the fabricator's web site. Here they can produce a countertop estimate for their own customers using pricing tailored specifically for that dealer. The program also includes a drawing module, which visually displays the configuration of the countertop, along with representative edge detail drawings. Once the dealer issues a purchase order to the fabricator for the quotation, it then becomes an actual job, and the dealer no longer has the ability to access and change information pertaining to the project.
Available as either a hard disc or web-based program, Counter Intelligence offers estimating, shop drawings, scheduling, receiving and processing, and contact management functions. The drawing module produces detailed, customized drawings. The program prices both retail and wholesale, figures applicable taxes, and provides a section for options, all figured automatically as the drawing is created. Once a job is completed, the software interfaces with accounting programs like Quick Books or Peachtree with the click of the mouse.
Counter Intelligence currently does not support importation of electronic template data, nor does it offer a module for inventory control, although Forkapa indicates an inventory module will be available by the end of May.
"It could be said that most pricing software is based on assumptions," says technology consultant Ken Stillwell. "Tractivity does not use assumptions, rather actual cost experience for every process."
Rather than rely on predetermined per-foot pricing as a basis for formulating a quotation, Tractivity uses its ability to collect and process countertop fabrication data in real time to update production costs. Those production costs are then broken down into incremental units and used as a basis for calculating the overall sales price of a project.
"I think the advantage of a cost based system is it infers you are staying on top of your costs, rather than focusing on retail pricing," Stillwell continues. "Therefore it is more likely to be accurate. You then have the ability to do a predictive analysis at the time of estimating to understand what your gross margin is, whether you have attained it, and what type of profit you will have on a particular job."
The heart of the Tractivity system is data collection. Individual personal data collectors (PDCs), central workgroup collection stations or PC workstation collection centers are used to capture labor statistics and document job progress as it happens. The collected information then becomes part of the historical data review, which is used to calculate job quotations in the future.
"The market generally dictates the price a business charge for its products," Stillwell says. "When a business uses a pricing program along with Tractivity, it is able to identify true process costs and make appropriate improvements to their operation, which leads to greater profitability."
Tracitivity is best known for its line of job and activity tracking hardware, including portable Personal Data Collectors, centrally located touchTrac central terminals and the pcTrac PC workstation data collector. The company also offers data processing software for managing the functions of job progress, budgets and estimating, materials tracking and assemblies tracking.