How to set up and maintain pricing for a materials database?

donhoe

Member
Good day all,
We are starting a new software solution for our company. We are growing and have outgrown a paper solution that's been pieced together with misc. software. The new system has a customer database pulled over from Quickbooks. You start by entering a quote, which can pull from a materials database, which I have to build. Then you turn the quote into a job, schedule it out, complete it and invoice.
My question is regarding the materials database. I would like to be able to update pricing somehow. I like how www.Platt.com is set up for searching materials but I cannot build something that big.
Has anyone had to do this and what 3rd party services were you able to integrate for the pricing updates. I really don't know where to start with this catalog of materials. I can have main headings with as many sub-folders as I want. An example would be main category of Boxes, with sub-folders of plastic, metal, outdoor. In those folders would be another sub-folder such as single gang, two gang, etc...
It will be in the form of an excel spreadsheet. I'm writing from home, but some of the columns include: category, subcategory, description, upc code, unit of measure, item number, cost, contractor pricing, retail pricing...

Thanks for any and all suggestions.
 

donhoe

Member
We are looking into that, but I think you can get regional average costs that might be easier to update, still too many questions. Should have went to school for computers :)
 

mgookin

Senior Member
Location
Fort Myers, FL
What you are attempting likely already exists. You can ask your suppliers what programs their bigger customers use to accomplish your objective.
You can ask them if they have price update feeds and what programs it will interface with.
 

macmikeman

Senior Member
I suggest using an sql based multiple table based system , not a flat file like you are proposing. It will make data retrieval quicker, and you can do updates with less re-imputing work if your supplier houses have pricing exports available.
 

petersonra

Senior Member
Location
Northern illinois
Occupation
engineer
The reason why people pay for this kind of thing instead of doing it themselves is because it is an enormous amount of work both to get it going and to keep it updated.
 

brantmacga

Senior Member
Location
Georgia
Occupation
Electrical contractor
I wrote an excel worksheet years ago, and it was a massive undertaking. And it was never 100% complete. It's not something I would ever attempt again.

Buying software already built for this is worth the money. There are lots of options out there; we use Conest with NetPricer for the material database pricing. I highly recommend you go this route. Not only for ease of use, but also for tech support. If something isn't working right, you call someone else and they fix it instead of you wasting a day trying to figure it out.


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