Managing Imports from China from Quote to Delivery with QuickBase

redboard circuits quickbase

redboard circuits quickbaseChina is now the dominant force in manufacturing printed circuit boards (PCBs). However, language barriers and other complications can make it difficult to ensure accurate quotes, predict shipments, and hold manufacturers accountable for quality.

At RedBoard Circuits, a Phoenix-based importer of PCBs, the ability to offer clients a turnkey experience from quote to delivery was key to achieving growth with only four full-time employees. To support the entire process, RedBoard needed a software solution that enabled transparent communications with factories in China and customers in the U.S., while at the same time automating several manual processes.

RedBoard found its solution in a unique technology system built on the QuickBase low-code rapid app development platform. By replacing manual procedures with online automation, RedBoard streamlined operations, reduced errors, and maximized productivity – all of which helped the company generate $8 million in sales with a staff of only four employees.

Revamping Quotes and More

RedBoard offers OEMs and contract manufacturers in the US a unique partner. It’s a rapidly growing business that juggles offshore manufacturing partners and complex customer requirements to produce high-quality yet competitively priced PCBs for gaming, medical, and technology applications.

The company provides its customers with a wide range of PCB technology and can deliver PCBs within 48 hours. But with its small staff of four full-time employees processing more than 100 orders per month, automation became a mission-critical initiative.

Among the challenges, RedBoard needed to improve the accuracy of the quotes it was receiving from offshore manufacturing partners – and manual data entry of specifications and a heavy reliance on email was leading to slowdowns and errors.

“Most of our job was getting quotes out and processing orders. Yet we would email files out to three different manufacturers and get three different quotes back – and some were incorrect,” says Peggy Harris, president of RedBoard.

RedBoard ultimately selected QuickBase as a platform for building a complete system that would automate and centralize quote and order management between U.S. staff and offshore manufacturers. Instead of separate systems to manage different workflows, the QuickBase order tracking app traces everything related to customer orders, from initial specifications to quotes from manufacturers and through to delivery of the final order – including shipping costs.

Instead of separate systems to manage different workflows, the QuickBase order tracking app traces everything related to customer orders, from initial specifications to quotes from manufacturers and through to delivery of the final order – including shipping costs.

To reduce errors caused by emailing order specifications to factories, RedBoard’s staff enters the specifications into QuickBase, where they can be accessed by manufacturers who then upload their quotes directly into the system. Everything that is needed to quote and manufacture PCBs is centralized within the app, including Gerber files and part numbers.

Customers are kept up to date in real time via order confirmations that are triggered upon order receipt, and automated reports are sent out weekly with order details and status. If errors are seen, corrections are made before production begins. When orders ship from the factory, customer notifications are generated that also alert RedBoard staff to invoice the order.

Since launching their QuickBase online order tracking app, employees at RedBoard spend less time dealing with errors and delays and more time enjoying process optimization that helped them generate $8 million in sales in 2014 – without having to increase staff.

“With only four people on staff, we could never have achieved this level of business without QuickBase,” says Harris. “It has become an irreplaceable resource that’s core to our entire business.”

Finding a Partner in VeilSun

To help execute on its vision for a complete, centralized system for managing its business, RedBoard hired VeilSun, Inc., a QuickBase Solutions Provider.

By taking a methodical approach to planning, including the use of VeilSun’s BluePrint process, VeilSun was able to not only capture all of RedBoard’s requirements, but deliver on a complete system of interconnected parts within just a few weeks.

“We work closely with our clients every step of the way so we make sure the whole journey goes as smoothly as possible, so we looked at their business and workflow needs, and melded that with QuickBase technology. We were also able to help them rethink some of their non-QuickBase processes, and their willingness to take that leap with our guidance made all the difference,” says Rich Crum, Managing Partner, VeilSun, Inc.

About QuickBase

Intuit QuickBase is a low-code platform for building, customizing, and integrating custom business applications. With more than 5,600 customers and 500,000 active users, QuickBase is the technology of choice for companies that want to empower business users to solve their own challenges while maintaining the governance and security of an enterprise-quality app development system.

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