Collaboration is Key: Creating a Digital Thread with Your Customers

CalcuQuote was founded in 2014 on the belief that the digitalization of the electronics supply chain was (and still is) crucial to moving the industry forward. In the beginning, we started by tackling collaboration between Electronic Manufacturing Services (EMS) companies and their distribution partners through Application Program Interface (API) integrations. Today, we have over thirty supplier partners with the vast majority providing customer specific pricing through APIs.

For many of you, digitalization has shifted the collaboration between EMS businesses and distribution partners, allowing for continuous knowledge gain about part details and for businesses to focus on making the right sourcing decisions.

As a next step in digital collaboration, we set out to tackle this need between Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) and EMS companies to streamline communication in order to solve supply chain problems together and manage potential sourcing risks due to market volatility. Enter PortCQ. PortCQ is designed to help you build a digital thread with your OEM customers to cultivate the relationship and solve complex problems. Here are 3 different use-cases for how to use PortCQ to collaborate with your customers in order to provide digital solutions.

Streamlined RFQ Intake

As EMS providers move toward more digital collaboration with their customers, there is an increased importance for solutions that aid in this. An online portal for customers to collaborate with their EMS partners is more important than ever. However, it is important to create this collaboration solution with intention to avoid potential problems that may include:

  • Redundant Data Entry - in other words, it’s not actually saving you much time or effort to have an online quote form on your website.
  • Document Control Risks - it is important to ensure the right security when submitting ITAR documentation on a website form
  • Manual handoffs between the sales and quote teams - has sales properly relayed all requirements from the customer to the quote team?

PortCQ allows your end customer to complete the RFQ intake and attach documents while PortCQ automates the handoff by creating the RFQ in QuoteCQ. Here are some of the additional advantages for your business:

  • Document storage in a secure hosting environment
  • Out-of-the-box branding following your company’s design
  • Email notifications when a lead creates a quote
  • Faster RFQ turnaround time by reducing - or eliminating - redundant data entry
  • Visibility of the customer’s requirements for both sales and quote teams

Bill of Material (BOM) Analysis

Are your customers asking you to collaborate on component availability during the design and New Product Introduction (NPI) stages? Providing your customers with this valuable resource - particularly during supply chain shortages - is often draining resources from your quoting and purchasing teams where unprecedented market volatility already has your team spread thin.

Using PortCQ, you can collaborate with your customers by offering a service to them to upload their BOM and get vital information as they build their designs. A customer loading their BOM will query the supplier integrations and criteria to identify any lines for critical information such as stock, lead time, lifecycle information and more. A downloadable report with the component information allows your customers to take issues offline and work with the information to provide an updated BOM. This provides value to your customer while also giving you insight into parts your customer is having issues with to proactively research the market on their behalf.

Quote Automation

After your customer requests a quote, your internal team creates the deal, scrubs the BOM, sources PCB and components, and estimates labor and assembly costs. This can take days or weeks to complete depending on the complexity of the problems that need to be solved during the quote process (timeline can vary depending on if they are already using a digital solution, like QuoteCQ). Once the quote is complete, sales is emailing the customer a final report which also requires your customer to respond via email or phone in order to place an order.

PortCQ allows your customer the ability to start an RFQ and place an order after the RFQ is finalized from your team. This creates an e-commerce experience for your customer and turns your website into a true lead generation asset. Based on your customer’s inputs, the configuration settings defined by your team will generate an accurate quote at the end for your customer. This will create a digital thread between you and your customer as they also view their quote history with you in order to replace orders or view pending orders.


PortCQ gives you a leg up on collaborating with your customer compared to your competition. Using one or more of the above workflows will reduce manual time-consuming handoffs and  improve the communication and response time with your customers as you provide solutions to their supply chain problems. And all of the above is ready in an out-of-the-box solution. Decide today to make a change for your business and start your implementation tomorrow!

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