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One word that I have really grown to dislike over the years is the word “Assume.” When I started out in my career, I have to admit that I used the word occasionally. Unfortunately for me, every time I used the word, I made the wrong “assumption”. According to dictionary.com, the definition of the word, “assume,” means: “to take for granted; accept without proof; suppose.” Who wants to be known as someone who takes things for granted? Certain professions work with “just the facts”, without proof, there is nothing to talk about. However, when we quote packaging solutions, we may need to include assumptions for a number of different reasons.
What’s the Big Deal?
There are two issues that exist when something is assumed. One issue comes from the customer when requesting a quote and the other comes from the supplier when quoting back to their customer. First, let’s take the side of the customer.
When requesting a quote, understand what information is needed to avoid getting a long list of assumptions. Without the proper information, suppliers make assumptions that you may or may not agree with. Understand the assumptions and how they affect the overall cost of your packaging. Some assumptions will offer a lower price that will later be increased with additional information and other assumptions will drive costs up unnecessarily giving you numbers that are higher than what will be needed. There are many variables, understand the key variables that affect cost.
Second, let’s take a look at the side of the supplier. What do suppliers do when specifics are unknown? That’s right…they assume. Good suppliers will be back asking questions to get additional details to give more accurate pricing. An example would be…Customer XYZ requests a red thermoformed blister. In this case, “red” isn’t clear enough. Knowing that two similar shades of red can have completely different costs due to the amount of certain pigments is important to understand before proceeding. Helping define what reds are less expensive will help the customers overall cost.
It’s always better to provide the information up front and have costs that are reliable. To do this, understand what the requirements are for pricing to be firm. If the information isn’t provided, an assumption was made. The question is…will it make the price go up or down when more information is provided?
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