News & Noteworthy

How Much Will My Classification Project Cost?

Posted by John Sturtevant on Aug 17, 2016 10:00:00 AM


We often get this question from prospective clients, even before we know anything about the items on their list. This is like taking your car to a mechanic and asking, “How much to fix my car?” Since he doesn’t yet know what’s wrong, the mechanic can’t know how long it will take to fix.

The same holds true with a commodity classification project. Each one is different; we need to know some important details before we can estimate the time requirement and cost. In our experience, our determination depends on the following four factors:

  1. Number of Items
    • People think the length of the list is the most important factor but, in reality, it’s the least significant. You’ll understand why after you read the other three factors.
  2. Complexity of Items
    • Does your list mostly contain innocuous items like nuts, bolts, screws, and washers? If so, we’ll be done in no time. Or do you have complex equipment like accelerometers and gyroscopes? Logically, these components take longer because their control parameters are more nuanced.
  3. Similarity of Items
    • Are all the items on your list accelerometers? Although the item is complex, there is only one category to work with, so we’re able to focus on the subtle technical variances and process the information efficiently.
  4. Availability of Information
    • This is the most critical factor. Our efficiency depends heavily on the availability and quality of the information provided. If we receive detailed information up front, then we don’t need to spend time calling OEMs, conducting internet searches, sending email queries or contacting the regulatory agency. It saves us time and you money.

After twenty years completing large scale classification projects, we have determined that most of them follow the “90-7-3 Rule”—that is, 90% are relatively evident to our experienced engineers and they can make swift classification determinations based on the provided descriptions and specs. Typically, 7% are more “challenging” so we have to spend a few minutes on the internet to track down specific technical parameters. Finally, we are left with the “elusive” 3% for which there’s just not enough information readily available (see Factor #4), so we’re performing multiple internet searches, making phone calls, and sending emails—all time-consuming.

If you’re wondering about the cost of your classification project, call us today. We’ll talk through these Four Factors and put together an estimate at no cost or obligation.

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Our next post will focus on the pros and cons of performing a classification project of your entire inventory, as opposed to an “as-needed” or “flow-through” basis.

Topics: Commodity Classification