For entrepreneurs that are working with specialized equipment, it has long been difficult to provide customers with a tailored product in minutes. Where companies that are focusing on simple products (e.g., beds, computers) can offer a product configurator, this has long been difficult for tailored machinery. However, with new configuration tooling, this is becoming a reality. Not only does it provide the option to configure products, directly by or with the customer, but it also helps to optimize the manufacturing process.
How to create machinery through a product configurator
If you create machinery and equipment, you typically work with CAD files. These can be integrated into a product configurator, which allows sales employees to create quotations within minutes instead of weeks. This is not only a quotation but also includes a comprehensive document with all the product components.
Allow for modifications in templates
Although such a system sounds formidable, there is also the need for a personalized approach. Every company has its branding and wants to approach its quotations in its way. This allows for a tailored design that needs to be created once through a template and can be leveraged across all the quotations created.
Benefits to the manufacturing process
When products are created through this process, multiple benefits flow to the manufacturing plants. For example, there will be fewer mistakes throughout the production process. As the ordering of the equipment is automated via the configurator, there will be fewer duplicate orders. Next to that, it becomes easier to forecast. Who is needed on the factory floor? With a clear Bill of Materials (BOM), you can improve your production planning.
Guided selling as a foundation to this development
While guided selling stems from e-Commerce, more industries are moving towards its approach. Instead of having a funnel that flows to the customer, it works the other way around. Sales take the end-user to the center stage and try to understand their needs. This requires not only a suitable software package but also for sales and engineering to come together as one.
This is needed as the configuration needs to be validated: is this possible to make? Are there potential pitfalls in the production process? Although some of these items can be determined through the product configurator, additional validation might be needed.
Next to bringing engineering and sales together, most of the intelligence can be built into the software. For example, when configuring a machine, the software can suggest the best possible component to work in this configuration. Any budget constraints associated with the investment? The software can look for alternatives in a more attractive price range. Through these adjustments, the sales agent can interactively configure a suitable product with the end-user. The result is a quotation that the end-user can take with and determine if they are up for it. This makes the process more personal, efficient. and in the back-end also smoothens the processes that flow to the operations.