"We offer two different types of bids - retail and wholesale," explains Moffitt. "We also have a drawing module that automatically calculates square footage as the dimensions of the countertop are entered. Our goal is to help people who struggle with their ability to calculate square footage."
With master data files residing on a host computer at the fabricator's office, sales associates are able to makes onsite sales calls using only their laptop computer as a resource. When bidding a retail job, the quotation is displayed in color and can be printed on a portable printer to close the sale. When the sales person returns to the shop, the laptop is plugged back into the network and the quotation is synchronized with the master data in the host computer. At that point, all users on the network can view the information.
With the Deluxe Plus Edition fabricators can load password protected project information on their websites, which is available for viewing by their wholesale customers. This feature offers customers the ability to view the status of their quotes and orders from anywhere in the world where an Internet connection is available.
"Countertop Builder is specifically designed for creating in-the-field estimates and contracts," explains Terry Kimbrough, resident software developer for INcounters. "We needed something that a salesman could use in the field to price countertops and then close the sale while he is there. No matter how many times the customer makes changes to colors or drop edge profiles, this program gives him the ability to show that customer exactly what is going on and still get a printed contract before he leaves the home."
Countertop Builder uses eight different kitchen layouts as the basis for its drawing module. These basic shapes can then be merged together to create custom shapes. As countertop dimensions are entered, the program creates a running total of both the total deck area in square footage and the drop edge length and splash length in linear feet.
When the customer indicates she is willing to go ahead with the project, she signs the contract using an electronic signature pad or, if the sales person is using a notebook PC, the customer signs the contract directly on the computer screen. The sales person then prints out a copy of the contract using a portable printer.
There currently exists no networked version of Countertop Builder, which means that quotations and contract information remain exclusively on the sales person's computer. That information can be emailed to the office, however, where the information is entered into the production system by hand and a color copy of the contract is printed out. A hard copy of the contract is then sent to the customer as verification of the order. Kimbrough indicates that a network version of the program is currently in development.
"The program contains an unlimited amount of pricing structures," Kimbrough explains. "You can create specific pricing for each customer category, or you can discount from your retail structure. A builder, for example, might be set up to receive a price that is 10 percent discount off retail. Countertop Builder will calculate that pricing automatically without you having to go in and set up a whole new pricing structure."