When to Combine Scale Hardware and Software in an RFP

  • May 17, 2021

When issuing an RFP for truck scales and associated weight recording software, buyers must make the decision of whether to divide up their request into discrete bids regarding hardware and software or keep their proposal in a singular request for quote. To streamline the process, it typically makes more sense to source a truck scale and its software from a single source supplier. This article will explain the reasons why and various aspects to consider when purchasing a truck scale. When approaching the bidding process of appropriating resources, it’s more practical to seek a venerable supplier that can provide all aspects of the weighing scale application that will be required for the project, including both hardware and software.

The RFP (Request for Proposal) process requires gathering a proposal’s requirements, developing the RFP and refining the essential requirements, evaluating and selecting the most capable scale vendors, engaging with nominated scale vendors and evaluating their capabilities, making the evaluation regarding the winning vendor, and developing contractual paperwork for the winning vendor to agree to. This process requires a great amount of time and work to give the due diligence required in a large project like a full-length truck scale and related truck scale software. Duplicating this process will require even more time, work, and effort if the RFP is broken up between the truck scale software and hardware into separate bids.

Most major truck scale manufacturers have the capability of producing not only the scale platform and the accompanying software that works in conjunction with it, but they also have the capability of providing technical support and customization for their software. Truck scale manufacturers each have different design highlights and functionality that is to be supported by the requisite software. Typically, any weight related software can be mixed and matched between truck scale manufacturers, for the most part.

Of course, several aspects of a truck scale manufacturer need to be assessed before making a decision. A truck scale manufacturer’s weighbridge and supplementary hardware should provide longevity, durability, be easily fixed should problems occur, and their hardware system should be simple and easy to use. Scale dealers and end-users should expect proactive support from manufacturers, and some truck scale manufacturers even provide remote scale monitoring that will alleviate most of the guesswork and onerous troubleshooting associated with electronic systems. Digital load cells offer many advantages for end-users, including rapid replacement times for little downtime, less issues with lightning, and Cloud-based remote monitoring.

Regarding software, truck scale manufacturers should have a strong support presence. Access to engineering and technical support should be fairly quick and easy. There should be multiple ways to reach out to technical support: e-mail, live chat, and phone. An end-user should also know the method of payment regarding subscription, one-time pricing, or the price included with the purchase of the digital weight indicator. Most importantly, the software, in conjunction with the indicator, should be relatively easy to use, should be simple enough to train other employees with, and integrate easily with peripheral items like unattended weighing kiosks and printers.

Cardinal Scale’s WinVRS vehicle weight recording system is easy to configure for the user’s needs and ideal for truck weighing applications related to power plants, sand and gravel, concrete, asphalt, recycling, transfer stations, landfills, agriculture, and warehouses. Operators can access PC weight records and reports on period histories, material totals, and customer information. WinVRS can be set up quickly with any standard truck scale connectivity.

Cardinal Scale’s WinVRS system features workgroup networking for file server networking, useful in sharing data and weight communications on a network. For example, a WinVRS site may have two scales and two computers. Each computer will show both scale #1 and scale #2’s weights. During busy times, operators may use both computers to weigh trucks on both scales, and then during less busy times a single operator may work at either computer and use the F3-scale selection key to weigh trucks on both scales. WinVRS allows end-users a versatile system that can be utilized in a variety of ways to maximize output and workflow.

Interface is available for Quickbooks® and other accounting applications. Invoices may be configured for each transaction to create an invoice or groupings so that transactions for a day, week, or month for a customer are grouped into a single invoice. Cash, check, and credit card transactions may be imported into sales receipts for tracking and reporting.

WinVRS’ database capabilities allow vehicles, materials, orders, accounts, trailers, owners, and up to 10 user-definable tables are recorded. Detailed list views help manage large amounts of data. WinVRS data items may be designated “Inactive” to prevent use of old items, but still maintain good records. Access® database provides for compatibility with Microsoft Office®. WinVRS offers Ethernet or serial communications and support for all Cardinal indicators with serial communications, and other Scale Manufacturers Association standard protocol indicators. Configurable device profiles make communications with most indicators with serial communications possible.

If a larger touchscreen monitor is needed, WinVRS-TOUCH offers all the same great features as WinVRS, but comes with larger fonts and buttons for convenient touchscreen navigation. When a user enters into any WinVRS window with input prompts, an on-screen keyboard appears. Pressing the “Symbols” button brings up additional keyboard options.

Weight scale software and hardware are both very important considerations when packaging an RFP. Combining hardware and software is a much easier task when factoring powerful weight-recording software like WinVRS and bundling that into the bid along with a Cardinal truck scale. A valuable software system, in conjunction with a robust truck scale design, is invaluable to the end-user. Being able to combine both into the same package makes the RRP process much easier for streamlining the bidding process when purchasing a truck scale. ​