Tag Archive | "software"

Business Sense Juen 2021

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Business Sense: How to Get Your Time Back With Countertop Software

Posted on 14 June 2021 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

“I am finally able to leave work and go spend time with my family!”

An actual countertop fabricator said that. A few years ago Moraware asked its users how software has helped their business, and their quality of life. The answers were overwhelmingly about the time they were able to get back. The freedom to focus on the important things, whether it’s other parts of the business or more time away from the shop.

So, if you are a countertop fabricator and your days are so jam-packed that you are pulling your hair out, where do you begin? Read on for the first steps to take in reducing the chaos and creating some peace of mind.

Ask yourself, “Where’s my time going?”

When you look at your work days over the last week or so, what projects or tasks have taken up the majority of your time? This is the first step. Any successful countertop fabricator will tell you that knowledge is power. If you track your activities, you’ll easily be able to find areas that you can shave off time from. 

Start with an easy win

With the right software, you can streamline your countertop business all the way through install. Taking a look at your current processes will help you find areas that need improvement. There will always be bottlenecks, so don’t be overwhelmed!  

Many fabricators start by taking a look at their quoting process. It’s an easy, high-reward move that will get you almost  immediate results. When shops switch from quoting by hand to using estimating software, they are able to produce more bids faster than ever. In this case, using software to speed up the bidding process allows for consistent and accurate quoting by anyone on the team and frees up time. Less time wasted on revisions, pricing mistakes, calculations and hand drawing. Extra bonus: because you are able to increase your bid output, you’ll naturally and easily increase your countertop sales. More time and money!

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Easededge

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Sarto Countertops Releases Easededge Software

Posted on 02 July 2020 by cradmin3

Sarto Countertops has released Easededge, a new software for fabricators. The company had been using multiple software subscriptions, and was trying to manage data across several platforms. It was a headache, inefficient, and money was being left on the table.

In less than 6 years, Sarto Countertops had grown from $300K to more than $6M. Automation equipment had greatly improved processes in the shop, but they realized communication and management of jobs was still very inefficient.

Sarto developed Easededge, a modern software that everyone in the company could use. The software is powerful, easy to use, and mobile friendly so workers in the field can get the information they need.

Easededge is now available to other fabricators, and includes job management, estimating, invoicing, drawing, scheduling and automated job tasks. There is no additional cost per user, so it’s affordable to get everyone in the company on board, which is essential in going digital.

You may also be interested in this article: Stone Services Group Directs Debut of Hot Sauce Software System

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Price vs Value

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The Number One Myth About Countertop Fabrication Competition

Posted on 24 April 2020 by cradmin3

by Katherine Gifford of Moraware

When you stack yourself up to other fabricators in your area, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? For many, it’s the price. If you don’t have the best price in town, you’re toast, right? Well, not really.

We believe the number one myth in the fabrication world is that you must have the best price in order to win over the most customers. It’s just not true, and we’ll show you why.

Price Isn’t Everything

When a potential customer is considering new countertops for their kitchen, price is definitely a consideration. But it’s just one!

Here’s a brief list of everything a customer is looking for in a great countertop install besides the price:

  • You show up when you say you will
  • You’re friendly
  • You look professional
  • You do a great job of educating the client on different materials, styles, etc.
  • Your quote looks professional
  • You sent your quote in a timely manner
  • You have quality materials
  • You do an incredible job on the countertop installation
  • You finish when you say you’ll finish

There’s more where that came from, but as you can see, people care about all of these factors.

They’re simply weighted differently for everyone. Some people are on a time crunch. Perhaps they bought a new home and they have to move in within 2 weeks or they’ll be homeless. For them, hitting a deadline and working quickly is the most important.

Others have all the time in the world, but they have no idea what they want. For them, a salesperson that will take the time to educate, provide samples, and answer questions is the most important. A showroom also doesn’t hurt.

And then there are people who will sacrifice timeliness and professionalism for a cheap job. But in reality, are those really the customers you want to attract? These individuals are more likely to complain, cause problems, and drive you up the wall before the job is ever finished.

Don’t Be the “Cheap Guy”

If you advertise your dirt cheap prices, you’ll become known as the “cheap guy” in town. That’s not a reputation you want!

We’ve been around countertop operations for long enough to notice a clear trend: the most successful shops are the ones that charge what they’re worth. People are willing to pay for quality materials and a great experience.

How Should I Set Prices Then?

If you’re not competing to be the lowest price in town, how then do you set your prices? We’ve written about this subject before, but here are a few tips:

  • Don’t try to calculate costs down to the penny – it’s a lost cause
  • Think twice about listing each and every item on your quote – sometimes, it’s TMI
  • Do some research about pricing in your area, and aim to be within a competitive range

We’re shifting our focus from competing on price to competing on service. Once you’ve pinned down what makes your shop unique, you can stop obsessing over the price and start demanding a higher price tag.

If price isn’t everything – and I hope we’ve proven here that it’s not – it’s time to figure out where you shine the most.

What Sets Your Shop Apart?

Since we’re not worried about competing on price, it’s time to figure out what sets your shop apart. What can you offer that makes your work more valuable? What sets you apart from the other fabricators in town?

Do you have a unique:

  • Benefit, result, or outcome
  • Track record
  • Level of customization
  • Level of quality
  • Environment or presentation
  • Method or mechanism
  • Experience of doing, using, or attending
  • Bundle
  • Price or payment plan

Other things you might consider include a unique time frame – are you able to finish the job faster than the other shops in town? What about a gutsy guarantee – can you offer a warranty or free repairs for a certain amount of time?

Once you pin down what makes you unique – and valuable – you can start advertising that and stop focusing on price.

Learn more about creating your Unique Selling Proposition here: How to Create a Unique Selling Proposition for Your Countertop Shop

Add Software to Your Shop

Professionalism, timeliness, organization – several factors that customers appreciate – can be enhanced or fixed by software solutions.

Are your quotes scribbled on a scrap sheet of paper? Do they take a week to put together? Customers want a professional-looking quote, and they want it fast.

CounterGo, our countertop quoting software, can fix that problem. It helps you make a great first impression, which can often be enough to score you the job. No more hand drawing or scattered estimates.

Draw countertops in seconds

When customers call in for a status update, are they put on hold? Does the receptionist have to make several calls to find out? Customers want a quick answer, and they want the job to be finished in a timely manner.

Systemize, our scheduling software, can also fix that problem. It helps you organize and plan out your installation and templating schedule, which can be enough to wow a customer and bring in referrals. No more whiteboards or post-it notes.

all of your countertop jobs on one calendar

Fabrication software has a ton of other benefits, including:

  • Better organization
  • You can go paperless
  • You don’t have to be in your office to access the information you need
  • You can improve pricing consistency between salespeople
  • You can improve your accuracy
  • You can do slab layouts
  • You can track leftover stock
  • You’re better equipped to handle growth
  • You can keep better records
  • You can run reports, allowing to make better business decisions
  • More home time

Software like CounterGo and Systemize not only provides more value to your customers, but it helps you run your shop more efficiently.

Don’t Believe the Myth!

If anyone tells you that price is everything, don’t believe them. 

You’re worth more than the cheapest guy in town; you just need to clearly define why, and make sure you’re spreading that message.

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Stone Services Group Partners with Quote Countertops

Posted on 27 February 2020 by cradmin

Stone Services Group (SSG) announced that it has partnered with Quote Countertops (Quote) to offer their consumer-facing technologies. The partnership combines the unique cutting-edge offering of Quote’s 3-D visualizer and instant/online quoting tool with other revenue generating packages in SSG’s portfolio such as the Granite Gold Protection Plan and Hot Sauce up-selling software.

The Quote Countertops system targets the 80 percent of consumers who begin their countertop shopping online by positioning the fabricator as the strongest and best option available. The friendly tool walks the customer through the entire process of selecting materials, estimating dimensions and just as importantly, presents many options to up-sell and generate additional profit. For the customer to get their quote, they must enter verified contact information that is instantly delivered to the fabricator for follow-up and closing.

The vision of SSG has always been to offer the best products available in their respective categories and then combine them into full offerings to allow for maximum value and ease of integration. SSG and its national network of selling professionals was selected by Quote because of their deep industry knowledge, sales and marketing expertise and extensive network. From its inception in 2019, SSG has been building a best-of-the-best alliance of industry software providers to help the countertop industry seamlessly integrate and leverage their value.

You may also be interested in this article: The importance of a software demo for fabricators.

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Kick These Old Planning Habits in the New Year

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Kick These Old Planning Habits in the New Year

Posted on 19 December 2019 by cradmin

According to InEight, a top producer of construction project management software, companies have four bad habits that should stop in the coming year. The overarching goal of project planning is to create a model that “best reflects what we believe will be a reality”. However, many software tools teach us bad habits that are better left in the past.

  1. Starting From Scratch – When you begin a new project with a critical path method (CPM) tool, nothing much happens. You are presented with a blank workbook in which to create a master schedule. Construction organizations are becoming increasingly concerned about losing project expertise through software and other employee conditions, such as retirement. Instead of starting from scratch, the right software will allow companies to achieve knowledge-driven planning with all new project schedules.
  2. Work-Driven Planning – Work-driven planning is a top-down scope that breaks a project down into deliverables and what is needed to deliver them. The work required is modeled by a CPM, but this work is often not the only ingredient in getting things done. A separation of scope and work to be done allows planners to report what matters most during the planning process. While getting estimates wrong is seen as one of the worst results in project planning, it can be just as bad to miss scope and detail in the planning phase. On the other hand, deliverable-based planning helps to explain what is being done in addition to how it is being done. This creates a model that “truly reflects and includes all of the scope we are being asked to build.”
  3. WAG Planning – WAG planning is an acronym for wild-ass guess planning. In the modern age, this simply does not suffice. Each project is a unique endeavor, but if you break it down far enough, there are enough similarities with past projects that you can find the commonalities. WAG planning only precipitates re-planning, which gets you nowhere in the long run. With the right software, however, you can benchmark similar projects based on duration, cost, sequence of work and common issues or risks. Historical benchmarks alleviate the need for WAG planning and let you get into calibrated planning, which allows for differences in location and the scope of a project.
  4. Planning Alone – Planning a project and coming up with an accurate estimate should not be a job for a salesperson alone. That is a tremendous amount of responsibility to carry for someone who is not involved in the work. Planning is not simply a “done-by” timeframe. It is important for the customer to know exactly when each step will be carried out. Rather than silo planning, strive for consensus planning. Your workers will be able to buy-into a project by giving details on what can go wrong and how long it will actually take.

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Stone Services Group Directs Debut of Hot Sauce Software System

Posted on 22 November 2019 by cradmin

The newly formed Stone Services Group (SSG) has announced its immediate engagement with Ignite Consulting Group (ICG) to sell and market ICG’s industry-specific selling software, Hot Sauce. SSG is a fabricator-focused services company that partners with countertop fabricators to implement new tools and processes that grow sales and increase profits.

SSG was formed when industry experts came together to identify the unique needs of countertop fabricators. SSG is led by Rich Katzmann, former President of Laser Products Industries; Kyle Welker, General Manager of Precision Measuring & Training (PMT); and four other individuals who offer more than 50 years of industry experience in operations, customer service/sales, templating, scheduling, and programming.

ICG, designer and developer of Hot Sauce, the comprehensive, easy-to-use software system that can boost profit immediately, has partnered with SSG to officially launch its revolutionary product. The system is entirely turnkey with pre-set software built for customer interaction and purchase. It also includes more than 50 unique, upsell items collected over the years to immediately add profit. In fact, more than 75 percent of the items in the collection have no cost of goods and generate pure earnings.

“SSG’s launch is already at fever pitch,” explains SSG’s Katzmann. “Not only have we launched a much requested and entirely unique business services company in the stone industry, our first client, ICG’s Geoffrey Gran, is a true leader and innovator. We are thrilled to partner with him, and sell and market his Hot Sauce software.”

“The countertop industry can be difficult, and many fabricators are excellent at producing countertops but sometimes struggle with sales, marketing and improving profits,” explains Gran. “Our goal at ICG is to provide simple solutions that provide instant returns for our Customers. SSG has an experienced knowledge base of our industry and combines that with strategic thinking and best practices. We know how powerful the Hot Sauce software is and the immediate impact it makes on a company’s bottom line, and SSG will help get the word out to the entire fabrication network.”

For more information about Stone Services Group, visit stoneservicesgroup.com

You may also be interested in articles in our Business Sense series.

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Hexagon Furthers Strategic Relationship with Procore

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Hexagon Furthers Strategic Relationship with Procore

Posted on 11 October 2019 by cradmin

Hexagon’s Geosystems division announced plans to further cooperate with Procore, a leading provider of construction management software, to bring more efficiencies to the building construction industry.

The developing relationship between the two organisations focuses on linking Hexagon’s reality capture, measurement and digital construction positioning solutions and Procore’s suite of construction management solutions. These integrations will result in increased efficiency and productivity across building construction projects, ultimately translating into its customers success.

“Our vision of smart digital realities for all requires easy access to information for all parties, and Procore is an ideal partner for achieving this vision by extending digital construction layout and measurement technologies to construction customers,” said Fabio Ponzio, vice president of Building Solutions at Hexagon’s Geosystems division. “With the integration of our technologies, our customers have the opportunity to benefit from seamless integration and improved workflows, which lead to improved productivity and quality on construction site.”

Multivista, part of Hexagon, already has an advanced integration with Procore that allows users of both services the ability to attach and immediately leverage Multivista-captured visual data to perform critical project functions within their Procore-managed project. This announcement signals expansion of the relationship to include Leica Geosystems and other brands of Hexagon.

You may also be interested in this article about LPI’s Laser Templator Software.

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Business Sense: Keeping your important data safe

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Business Sense: Keeping your important data safe

Posted on 05 September 2019 by cradmin

by Harry Hollander of Moraware

When we’re talking to our customers or countertop fabricators who are considering using our scheduling or quoting software, sometimes we get questions about how we protect ourselves (and you) against catastrophes or hacking attempts.

We care a ton about making sure Systemize and CounterGo are running smoothly, so we put a lot of time, money, and effort into our infrastructure.

So, what does that mean? How are we protecting against hackers, viruses, and other scary stuff on the internet? Well…

We follow industry best practices. Most of it is pretty boring to talk about, but… We use SSL over HTTP – that means every web page you access is protected with the same encryption that you use when you do online banking. We encrypt all passwords, which means that neither your admins nor Moraware support can tell you what your passwords are.

We monitor for intrusions. You’d be surprised (well, maybe not) by how much shady-looking traffic we notice on our servers, that’s probing us for vulnerabilities. We apply all operating system and web server patches immediately. We have a team of developers who evaluate security issues every day and do whatever it takes to prevent issues.

Want to get even more into the weeds? One of the big ways to make sure we’re secure is having good systems in place that allow us to recover from a catastrophe. Here’s more info on our servers. In addition to periodic security audits from outside experts, you might also like the fact that we use multiple top-tier data centers. They all have a bunch of certifications including SOC 3 SSAE 16, Privacy Shield, PCI, GDPR… say that fast 3 times.

So what’s the biggest threat we’re worried about? You!

If you don’t want to open yourself up to hacking, here are a few really good security practices.

  1. Hire employees you trust. This is the number-one place where you’re exposing yourself to security risk. If you hire employees you trust, your whole business will run smoother anyway… just do it.
  2. Don’t share users. We charge per user, so it might be tempting to share users. In addition to being way less secure, your users will have a less personal experience when they share.
  3. Use good passwords. Don’t make your passwords blank or trivial, don’t re-use passwords in multiple places, and don’t share passwords. You should probably consider using a password manager. At Moraware, we use 1password.com, and it really helps us with good password policies on our computers and mobile devices.
  4. Restrict user roles. Instead of making all users admins, you should be restrictive in what users can do. In both CounterGo and Systemize you can customize roles to give the right people access to everything they need to do their job.

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Business Sense: Keep Your Process Moving

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Business Sense: Keep Your Process Moving

Posted on 07 June 2019 by cradmin

By Katherine Gifford of Moraware

Working for a company in the stone industry, I’ve heard many stories on how a shop’s workflow can get tangled up in miscommunication and disorganization. While that sounds terrifying and can be very stressful, what this really means is that you’re growingAnd that’s a very, very good thing!

Oftentimes, fabricators start with a quoting problem like inconsistent pricing or losing too much time to hand drawing. Here, they would purchase CounterGo or a similar program that allows them to produce quick, professional quotes. Now you’re selling more jobs than ever because you aren’t losing business to faster shops with better looking quotes. You are that faster, better shop. Hooray!

More Quotes, More Sales, More Jobs

Once a fabricator has solved their quoting bottleneck, the ideal situation would be a bottleneck in the scheduling process. “How can a bottleneck be a positive thing?” you might ask…

Well, think of it this way – As your business grows, you’ll notice that the growing pains will move around. It’s a constant evolution. There should always be a bottleneck in your business if you want to keep growing.

Now that you’ve got all these new jobs, you could be facing multiple new bottlenecks. Is your bottleneck getting their countertops out the door? Is it miscommunication between the office and the field? Are jobs getting overlooked because of disorganized scheduling? To put it simply, you need to keep your process moving….

A New System

If keeping track of all your new jobs is your pain point, congratulations! A great way to keep up with the influx of new business is to get organized. Maybe you’ve always been organized but that same system you’ve been using doesn’t work for the new amount of growth you’re experiencing. That’s normal!

By streamlining all your job information and calendars into one place (and ditching the whiteboards and file folders), you’ll have all the information your team needs at any time with just a few clicks.

Here are some ways implementing a new system worked for other fabricators: 

We centralized the job information, allowing it to be accessible remotely. This improved our workflow by allowing all team members insight on job schedules and the amount of work. It has allowed us to access data easily for shop metrics that was often difficult and inaccurate in the past.

ANDY AT FRESH WATER STONE

The ability to establish such transparency has instilled trust in every department. Our sales team is able to see exactly where the production process is, any ongoing communication from customers, and install/service dates. Our production doesn’t miss a step and communication is fluid. This program allows us to embrace the enjoyment of our work and takes the worry out of processes.

CHRIS AT EXCEL CABINETS

Solve the bottlenecks

This is one of our favorite things to do here at Moraware. We love having a conversation with fabricators to examine ways to better their workflow and create solutions for their pain points. These conversations start with a demo of either CounterGo or Systemize depending on your business needs and basically, they never end. Your business is constantly evolving and we understand that.

 

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Stoneworks Training Group Launches EasySTONE Training Resources

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Stoneworks Training Group Launches EasySTONE Training Resources

Posted on 02 April 2019 by cradmin

Stoneworks Training Group announced the official launch of its training resources and services for EasySTONE and EasySTONE NC. “We started Stoneworks Training Group LLC because there is a need in the stone industry for good quality training and shared experiences,” states Jerry Kidd, General Manager of Stoneworks Training Group. “EasySTONE is powerful CAD / CAM software that is used by many of the best stone fabricators. The only thing missing is convenient access to the training and support that lets you take full advantage of EasySTONE’s capabilities.”

Stoneworks Training Group formed with the mission of providing that training in ways that are convenient for shop managers and equipment operators. Stoneworks Training Group offers a broad range of services to keep their clients running efficiently:

• Remote & on-site training
• Remote support
• Consulting
• E-Courses: University of EasySTONE

Stoneworks Training Group works in cooperation with DDX Group, the maker of EasySTONE, to provide a complete approach to education, support, and sales. As veteran CAD / CAM professionals, they understand the importance of matching the right software with the right knowledge.

EasySTONE is a full-featured solution for CNC machines. EasySTONE NC is a customizable machine interface for CNC sawing equipment. The two components of the EasySTONE platform integrate seamlessly to streamline the entire process.

Stoneworks Training Group helps companies transition to EasySTONE as a unified software platform for CNC programming and operation. Kidd states, “We translate our experience and knowledge into your success as a stone fabricator.”

You may also be interested in this article about LPI’s Laser Templator Software

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