ERP Product Configurator For Sales Automation

Posted by Gerry Poe

product-configurator-process-flows-2ERP Product Configurator For Business Process and Sales Automation
Simplify the product configuration process for customized products and services with a product Configurator.  This software application provides companies, in a wide range of industries, the ability to automate product structures, pricing, ordering and guided selling solutions across sales and partner channels.

The Product Configurator is an intelligent rules-based configuration “engine.”  What does this mean to you? Simply put, use the application either standalone or integrated with sales orders, work in process, CRM, and quoting and estimating. You get immediate access to the functionality to build up complex products or services.

Because Product Configurator is intelligent, configurations are stored by the rules-based engine.  As long as a selected configuration option is logically valid there is no need to re-build the entire configuration with each change.

Have you ever used a manufacturer’s online ordering system to “construct” a new car you want to buy?  Did you consider why they developed it and what happens to the back-end systems when you “build and price” your new car?  With myriad options, colors, interiors, engines, wheels, and so on, how does it all come together?

This is a product configurator.  This application provide a rules-based “design” tool helping you efficiently process products sold in many possible configurations.  The product configurator tool:

  • Aggregates costs; material and labor
  • Calculating list-price
  • Creating part-numbers
  • Includes components and sub-components
  • Allocates labor operations and work-cells
  • Jobs (master/sub-jobs)
  • Purchase orders for parts and sub-contracted

Additionally, if your business falls into one of these unique market-sensitive categories this is key to ERP success.

  • Engineer to order (ETO)
  • Manufactured-to-order (MTO)
  • Assembled-to-order (ATO)
  • Configure-to-order (CTO)

Using your pre-defined/engineered library, set up to control the data entry process and eliminate invalid products, options and relationships. The configurations can be set up to:

  • Create a stocked parent part (sellable part – the car), non-stocked parent or both
  • Create a new bills of material and labor operations
  • Create job starts with attached bill of materials
  • Create quotations and estimates for ETO/MTO/ATO/CTO customer orders

A configuration consists of static information, selection criteria, options, components and operations. Once your product engineer/technical decides when the configuration will be available for use or under development.  Next they define all the questions and answers that need to be asked assisting the non technical person to sell the product.  They also link selection criteria (ruled-based decisions) to prevent any illogical combinations being chosen e.g. If you are selling a red bicycle then you should be able to choose a blue paint. Create options which are groups of similar components or operations. These groups can have options, dependencies and affect other choices. Next define the components and operations required to build/manufacture/assemble the selected criteria.

Once a design has been defined, non-technical people can use the Wizard to create a viable customized product for a bill of material, job, sales order, quote/estimate or a combination of these. You can also retain libraries of customer/custom ordered items.

Benefits Summary

Increase sales and process efficiencies and effectiveness by enabling

  • real-time generation of orders for complex and customized products or services
  • reduction in configuration errors since all orders are checked against customer requests and business rules for product and price variables
  • cross-selling and up-selling related products or services

Increase customer satisfaction by providing

  • intelligent rules-based processing to simplify complex products and insure that only valid features and options are presented
  • access from any Internet connection
  • real-time updates on price, product attributes and availability
  • instant generation of quotes and product orders

Reduce costs through:

Rules-based logic eliminates ordering errors and other costs related to resubmitting orders and Integrates with:
  • Bill of Materials
  • Inventory
  • Sales Orders
  • Work in Progress
  • Quotations and Estimating

Enhanced learning curve reduction for new employees and customer interfacing, when configuring products

Shorten the sales and process cycle and improve time to market with

  • orders generated faster and more accurately, and processed in a fraction of the time
  • consistent product information presented to all customers
  • increased product knowledge at point of sale
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