How Fulcrum Helps Customers Deal With Rapidly Changing Raw Materials Prices

The markets are volatile, but manufacturers can stay ahead of the changes if they know how to quote and price effectively

Why is it that the roller coasters you get stuck on as an adult are never as fun as the ones you ride as a kid?

Manufacturers that rely on raw materials like lumber or steel have been taken for a brutal ride over the last 12 months as prices skyrocketed, fell almost as quickly as they’d risen, then jumped back up again.

While we’d love to be in a position to single-handedly flatten the markets and make pricing predictable for our customers, that’s really more power than any single company should have. So we’re doing the next best thing: Helping them make sure their shops are ready for whatever the market does.

Last month, we debuted a modification to our quoting tool to allow people to quote material costs based either on their inventory valuation or their most recent vendor pricing. That way, sales people aren’t quoting based on inventory pricing set when costs were lower and eating into the margin of the job without knowing it.

The most recent vendor price, not the inventory valuation, is highlighted

As we work to give our customers greater visibility into — and control of — their shops, this goes a long way toward both goals. Controlling pricing upfront is a great way to ensure that a job has good margins all the way through and that there won’t be a surprise come the end of the month. 

These are the same goals we had when we redesigned the jobs page last year. There is a lot of information that is nice to know, but if having too much in one place obscures the data you really need to know, then having it cluttering up the view is doing more harm than good.

No more guessing at margins. Know how price changes are affecting your costs in real time.

We put the information our customers told us was most actionable front and center, making sure it wasn’t just visible, it was eye-catching. Armed with the right information and with the confidence that it’s always as up-to-date as possible, you can run your business with confidence no matter what the markets are doing. 

The market roller coaster is stressful, there’s no doubt about it, but we’re constantly on the lookout for ways we can help our customers not just see what’s coming, but also to make the right adjustments they need to make to keep ahead of the curve.

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