Written by: Sean Roach
Now that I’ve gotten the hang of my job estimating for the interiors group, I realize it’s pretty simple, and consequentially pretty boring. The projects that I am building estimates for are basic, non-technical changes happening to the interior of the aircraft. So to find something more stimulating, I walked over to some neighboring cubicles and have started working with some other estimators from a group that runs parallel to mine. Instead of working on the interior however, this group works on the wings of the plane; they are called the Wing, System Integration Processes, and Tools group. They were happy to have me and wasted no time in throwing me into the thick of their work. They are basically engineers that can do finance. Before they even start an estimate they become 10-minute experts on the parts the project refers to (currently I’m working on a set of 12 different aluminum stiffeners we are adding to each wing). So I’ve met with mechanical engineers, structural engineers, and parts suppliers all to understand these stiffeners. Short of going out to the factory and installing them myself, I know everything there is to know about them: dimensions, weight, composition, how to install, what tools are used, how many holes to drill, how many minutes per hole… everything! I am now in the process of taking all of that technical knowledge to calculate cost of obtaining the material, fabricating the parts, machining the parts, and installing them. After my estimate is done, we will get an estimate from the supplier to see how much they think it will cost, and I will then accompany the Contracts & Pricing team to negotiations with the supplier (because inevitably their estimate will be much higher than mine, because they want to charge us as much as possible!). This work is incredibly involved and I’m learning in leaps and bounds. I would write some more but I really have to get back to work!