4 Traits to Look for When Choosing an SCPQ Solution

As part of the “Our Experts Answer” series, Revalize offers insight into the most pressing questions our readers have about selectors, CPQ tools, and the lead-to-order process.

The configuration portion of Select-Configure-Price-Quote (SCPQ) is often considered the most challenging part of the process. Every project features sensitive attributes and complex calculations. Any mistakes here will invariably produce inaccurate pricing and quotes.

That’s why it’s so important to choose a solution-provider that truly understands your industry, the equipment you manufacture, and how you sell it to the market. But with so many SCPQ solutions available on the market, what factors should you consider in your search? Here are four traits to look at when assessing an SCPQ solution for your mechanical equipment manufacturing business:

1. Industry-Specific Requirements Baked In

The best SCPQ solution will have your industry-specific requirements, rules options, and relationships baked into the configurator itself. Ideally, it will even offer a templated structure for easier setup, so you can get up and running faster.

For example, if you’re a pump manufacturer, you should look for a configurator that has the standard ~700 fluid possibilities pre-programmed into the platform’s configuration settings. Or, in lieu of these baked-in presets, a worthy platform will allow you to add them with minimal customization. Once you’ve gone through the selection process, you’ll be able to take the selected product and fit it into a broader solution.

2. A Tightly Integrated Selector and Configurator

Selectors and configurators work together, so solutions that easily integrate with each other are critical for maximizing efficiency. Most vendors sell a selector or a configurator but not both, placing the burden on you to integrate the two solutions. This can cost more time and money than what’s necessary, and create major problems if you’re not able to fit them together perfectly. You should prioritize selectors and configurators that are part of the same solution, not separate tools, so you can save yourself from a headache down the line.

3. Collaborative Solution Configuration

Look for a configurator that can easily accommodate the various user types (resellers, direct sales, distributors, customers, etc.), while also offering a simple and intuitive user experience. All users should be able to select and configure with just guidance from the tool, and not have to worry about configuring a product that’s not buildable because of inaccurate logic presets. The ideal solution should allow everyone to configure quickly within well-defined guardrails for streamlined processes like generating price sheets, data sets, and quotes.

4. Reflects Changes in Real Time

During the configuration process, the ideal solution should reflect all changes in real time across the bill of materials. That’s because one small change can, and often does, have implications for the entire configuration. With spreadsheets or other tools to build and price a solution, data entry errors that compromise the order often go unnoticed until much further along, resulting in delays and additional costs to make it right. With rules and relationships built-in — and updates reflected automatically in real time — you can be confident that when you go to execute, everything will still work as it should.

Ultimately, the solution you choose should meet most of your requirements right off the shelf and be able to accommodate any customizations easily by following a templated and prescriptive approach.

Don’t be afraid to try multiple solutions and see which one works best for your organization. Want to take Revalize for a test drive? Get in touch with our experts to schedule a demo.

What Is CPQ?
A Manufacturer’s Best Friend!

Time is one of your most valuable resources — you need time to pursue new opportunities and to grow your business. Yet, so many manufacturers still waste time taking orders manually, directly through a sales rep, without the assistance of configure, price, quote (CPQ) software. Take this example of a typical quoting process:

You manage a small, independently owned manufacturer of specialty delivery vehicles. A sales rep receives a call from a company looking to order 10 trucks for their fleet. Your rep goes through all available options with the customer, explaining what your capabilities are.

Then, the rep contacts the manufacturing floor and talks to the engineers and machinists to put together a bill of materials (BOM). Only at this stage is your team able to determine if they can meet the customer’s requested specifications.

Of course, as this process takes place, someone has to record all information, determine what customizations are required, and apply those pricing rules to the quote. After all this, it could take days to finally generate a quote.

It’s tough to wait for a major order that can make or break your company’s bottom line — and each day that passes is another day your potential customer could switch to a competitor. Even after you deliver the quote, the customer could come back to update their specifications or alter the product mix, forcing you to start the quoting process all over again.

There has to be a better way.

A quick, accurate quoting process takes more than an Excel spreadsheet to pull off. That’s a 20th century solution for a 21st century business. 

You need CPQ software to do the job.

What Does CPQ Software Do?

Manufacturing companies use CPQ software to produce quotes and process orders for configurable products. This quoting solution automates repetitive parts of the ordering process, giving you time to focus on your customers. It also connects your internal systems, providing you with the visibility to make decisions on order requests at a moment’s notice.

Let’s break it down, piece by piece:

Configure

The configuration of new, highly customized products is the first process CPQ software takes over. Customers increasingly want products tailored to their specific desires — and they want them now. That’s why so many manufacturers have turned away from repetitive mass production of goods with little to no variation.

Instead, the industry is trending toward mass customization. The most forward-thinking manufacturers can make tailored products quickly and efficiently. This is really only possible with an advanced CPQ solution.

With a CPQ configurator, customers can make their own decisions about what their product should look like and simply plug those details in. The CPQ system can automatically tell them if this is possible with their current capabilities and generate a quote. You and your customers no longer have to wait days to see if the order request is viable.

Price

If you offer your products in standard configurations with little variability, pricing might be relatively straight-forward. But, if customers are coming to you with their own specifications, you still need to be able to arrive at an accurate price as quickly as you can — even if you’ve never completed an order with that configuration before.

Pricing is where the automation capabilities of a CPQ solution really shine. Pricing can be based on BOM characteristics, production costs, optional features, or any combination of those elements. All of this can be done accurately across market segments, geographies, and sales channels because CPQ software uses a pre-generated rule set that automatically determines how an order should be priced. Each pricing rule can apply without manual intervention, removing human errors from the process.

What’s more, you can add discount approval workflows, discount structures, preferred customer pricing, and variable price books to your rule set to ensure you’re maximizing revenue and continuing to personalize the buying journey.

Quote

All of this adds up to providing a quote for your customer. The objective is to generate an accurate quote as early as you can, putting yourself in the driver’s seat to make the deal. Nailing this last stage can also help you avoid redoing work and dealing with customer returns down the line.

First, the extensive configuration options and accurate pricing of a CPQ solution combine to create a quote for your customer’s review and consideration. Once you’ve hammered out the details, it’s time to think about presentation.

CPQ software helps you create a formal document to deliver to your customer ( because professionalism never hurts). Since you’ve already gone through both the configuration and pricing stage, you know this information will be complete. The right CPQ solution will also make sure your quoting documents are clear, easy to read, and accessible for all your clients.

The best CPQ software includes 2D and 3D visualization capabilities, allowing your customers to see their products before they ever hit the production line. Visualization helps the customer better understand what you’re offering, so they can make changes before production starts. Over time, this will inspire loyalty because your clients know that what they see is what you give them.

CPQ to the Rescue!

Let’s revisit the scenario at the beginning of this article in an environment where CPQ software is already at work:

You receive a call from a company looking to order 10 trucks for their fleet. With CPQ software at the ready, you walk your customer through the options available with accurate, up-to-date information about what you can offer. Since you have all product variations and customization choices in front of you, you might even be able to upsell to configurations they didn’t know they wanted.

Your CPQ software knows all the rules for configuring your trucks, eliminating guesswork. As they select options, the price is updated in real time while an interactive 3D model of the product reflects changes, showing the customer how their selections will look to ensure it meets their requirements.

Once configuration is completed, you generate a quote at the push of a button and email it to the customer, or share a web page personalized just for them. Now, you can move quickly to the negotiation stage, making changes until the customer is satisfied. Discounting rules allow sales reps to offer discounts within boundaries established by management, or reps can send more aggressive pricing terms to managers for approval. You can do all of this in hours or even minutes.

Once the order is won, the order details, including detailed BOMs, can be sent automatically from your CPQ to integrated manufacturing applications, like ERPs and CRMs, without any data re-entry or manual intervention. Time saved is time gained.

The Perks of
Using CPQ Software

Now that you know how it works, let’s boil down the benefits of integrating CPQ software for your business. Here’s what you can expect when you invest in automated quoting solutions:

Faster and more reliable product configuration: CPQ software simplifies even the most complex products and eliminates errors from incompatible options. When you use a configurator, you can be sure every order you quote is feasible.

Streamlined sales process: Instead of taking days or weeks, an order can be finalized and moved into production in a matter of minutes.

Standardized pricing: Sales teams don’t need to worry about complicated pricing structures when they’re built into the software. This also reduces the overhead for new employees and speeds up training. They can get right to work negotiating and serving their customers, not memorizing complex mathematical rules.

Improved customer satisfaction: CPQ software lets customers see 2D and 3D mock-ups ahead of time, so they know exactly what they are getting. This can give your customers the confidence they need to seal the deal.
 

Who Benefits from cpq software?

The answer is everyone.  Both the customer and your business are better off when you use an automated quoting solution.

Customer benefits

Customers get a more satisfying and engaging experience when buying from a company that uses CPQ software. Since CPQ software makes the process faster and easier, customers don’t have to wait around for a quote. They will feel more confident and positive about the buying process, so they can commit to their order right away and get it into production quickly.

CPQ software can also be a problem-solving tool for your clients. Since each customization option is there to explore already, they may find another, more apt solution to their needs that they weren’t aware of before.

Using 3D and 2D visualizations lets you show the customer what their finished product will look like. Some manufacturers use CAD automation to provide fully configured drawings and 3D renderings of products. When customers can see their desires reflected through visualizations throughout quoting, they’re more likely to buy and more likely to order from you in the future.

Your Benefits

After implementing CPQ software, you’ll see a new level of speed and efficiency throughout the quoting process. Your reps can quickly close sales and move on to the next order, improving productivity. You can also bring new sales team members on board faster without extensive training.

Along with an increase in sales volume, you will see larger orders come through more regularly.With a full understanding of costs and margins for each component, CPQ software helps your sales team upgrade and upsell orders. The whole experience is more streamlined, leading to fewer errors and a better outcome for the customer.

Consolidating all product information into a single source of knowledge helps you better organize and store data. By formalizing the rules for configuration with CPQ software, you can enable your dealers and distributors to more freely quote products, knowing their configurations and prices will be accurate. You can even give your customers direct access by allowing them to configure products and make purchases without needing to go through a salesperson.
 

The Modern
quoting solution

CPQ software is a vital upgrade for manufacturers that have been doing things manually for too long. With quoting software, you can quickly generate accurate prices and quotes, without spending days getting feedback from different departments. You can eliminate mistakes that might have cost you a sale in the past.
But the biggest reason you should consider an automated CPQ solution is that it will allow you to grow your business by making the sales process quicker, easier, and more efficient. Contact a representative today and schedule a demo to see how CPQ can work for you.
Engineer to Order vs. Made to Order:

How to Capture Clients With CPQ Solutions

You can take many paths to the same destination. In manufacturing, your destination is always a successfully completed order. How you fulfill that order may vary from client to client, however. One may prefer to customize their product from a list of available options, and the other might want full creative input from the beginning.

That’s the difference between made to order (MTO) and engineer to order (ETO), two of the most common production methods for designing and building products in a more personalized manner than mass production provides. While MTO production methods have been around for a long time, ETO manufacturing solutions continue to grow more complex and powerful.

ETO manufacturing involves creating a product custom-made to a customer’s desired specifications. This can become complicated and requires close collaboration between the manufacturing company and the client. But, solutions like configure, price, quote (CPQ) software can go a long way to simplify the complex ETO production cycle.

To explain, let’s look at the key differences between MTO and ETO manufacturing.

Differences Between
MTO and ETO

The main factor separating MTO and ETO is complexity. Generally, companies that use an MTO manufacturing process have a standardized product that customers can customize in specific ways. This might include size options, decorative components, or upgraded materials. When a customer places an order, production can begin immediately using the company’s existing designs.

ETO manufacturing takes that concept further. Customers can order custom options unique to their specification requirements. Production often requires a significant lead time to allow the manufacturer to engineer the custom product and execute production.

Imagine an MTO fencing manufacturer. They offer picket fences in vinyl or wood and customers can choose different picket sizes, colors, and post caps. An ETO fencing manufacturer might allow customers to choose everything from the precise shape of the pickets and the spacing between each post to the building materials.

With ETO manufacturing, practically every element of a product can be customized. While this may require more work designing and retooling your manufacturing process each time, ETO’s flexibility allows you to meet the needs of more customers.

What You Need to
Transition to ETO

That flexibility has its own challenges. Plus, each order comes with its own hurdles. To become a successful ETO manufacturer, you need a robust CPQ solution to help you tackle challenges like these:

Data management — A more customized and personalized product requires more data, plain and simple. With every new detail a customer adds, data is added as well. You need a management software system that can track all of the changes the product undergoes throughout this process.

Materials acquisition — Quality parts make quality products. CPQ software can help you manage your inventory and remove options that require out-of-stock materials from the available choices. Never again will you have to worry about a client requesting an ETO order with materials that won’t be available for months.

Machine configurations — To make an ETO product, you need to configure your equipment too. These types of engineering changes may result in additional costs, which need to be automatically factored into the overall price of the product.

How Configure One Can
Make ETO Easier

If you’re interested in switching to ETO production, you need software that can keep up. That’s where Configure One’s CPQ software comes to the rescue. It allows you to create custom products with hundreds of customization options using parameters set by your own engineers. Our CPQ software can even automate repetitive tasks so your teams can focus on creating innovative and new products.

Here’s a look at some of the ways Configure One’s CPQ software can help:

CAD drawings — Configure One’s software integrates with CAD software to automate the creation of production models and drawings. In some cases, CAD drawings like this can take weeks. By automating this phase, you can significantly reduce lead times and eliminate avoidable human errors. Once your engineers have designed the base product for customers to customize, they can turn their attention to new projects, too.

ERP connection — Configure One integrates well with a variety of ERP (enterprise resource planning) platforms. This means you can instantly generate a bill of material for precisely what the customer orders using product data from your ERP system. Since both systems work together, you don’t need to keep track of progress across multiple platforms manually. When one system updates, the other will follow.

Competitive advantage — Configure One gives you an edge against the competition, especially if they aren’t using CPQ software of their own. If you can offer custom ETO products and your competitors can’t, you’re already a step ahead in the global manufacturing environment. Companies that only offer made-to-order products may find they’re becoming obsolete compared to those who are stepping up to innovate.

Is your company looking for an ETO solution?
Contact a representative today to schedule a demo of our CPQ platform.

Uncovering the Case for Niche Products and Software

The gold veins encased in the mountains of Colorado opened their riches to many — and not just those who mined the ore.

The "dramatic" differences between Intelliquip and more generic products are "analogous to advancing from a DOS platform to a custom SaaS portal.  We went to a much more nimble and robust platform.  It's so much more powerful that we are reevaluating our systems and engineering data to ensure we properly accounted for all options."
Troy Sellers, Director of Engineering, A.R. Wilfley & Sons, Inc.

Think of Arthur Redman Wilfley, a genius inventor who devised many patented devices, including a table to separate gold from other elements and a packingless centrifugal pump designed specifically for mining applications. His discoveries gave birth to A. R. Wilfley and Sons, a now almost century old Denver, Colorado-based pumping systems manufacturing company that sells to markets across the world. Still family-owned, Wilfley calls itself a “proud, independent” innovator in their field with 12 product lines that serve ammonium nitrate, cement and aggregate, chemical processing, fertilizer, food, beverage, water — and of course, mining — industries. “We create and sell a niche product so we go about things differently,” notes Mark Scott, Sales and Marketing Assistant (aka “Guru”). “We have great employees who believe all of us should go above and beyond every day. We take full responsibility for the entire pump. We will never tell you the seal problem is someone else’s concern.” Wilfley’s long-standing traditions of inventiveness, great products and superior customer service also sum up the reasons why the firm turned from a more “generic” sales configuration software provider to Intelliquip.

Like moving from dos to windows

I knew of Intelliquip’s products and reputation long before we switched to them last year,” says Douglas Segovia, Director of Sales and Marketing. “The depth of their market knowledge is clearly reflected in the power and precision of the tools they’ve created. They know our business and it shows in their products.”

“The founders of Intelliquip are true pioneers in this business,” adds Troy Zellers, Director of Engineering. “I was aware of Tryg Dahl and Dave Tress when I first joined the pumping business and both were already working on automation software at Ingersoll Dresser Pump.”

Zellers points out that this in-depth experience contributes to the “dramatic” differences between Intelliquip and more generic products. “It’s analogous to advancing from a DOS platform to to a custom SaaS portal. We went to a much more nimble and robust platform. It’s so much more powerful that we are reevaluating our systems and engineering data to ensure we properly accounted for all options.” Scott explains: “Our former configurator package used a third party selector to select the pump and generate curves. These functions were completed externally and then brought back into their platform to configure, price and quote. With Intelliquip, it’s all there, all the engineering data and functions, all easy to maintain and designed specifically for our industry. Intelliquip even custom-built some extra functionality to handle our expellers — a special product for us — and it works great.”

“Specific to the markets of centrifugal pumps, rotary pumps, positive displacement pumps, blowers, and compressors — appropriate selection demands a great deal of specialized information. It’s easy to accurately select when only flow and head must be considered, but it is much more difficult when you encounter a multitude of variables and operating conditions,” says Zellers. “Unlike other systems, ninety-five percent of what we would ever need is baked into Intelliquip, and they’ve given us the opportunity to configure it even further to match the uniqueness of our products,” he continues. Segovia says that while he cannot offer specific quantifiable comparisons, after more than two decades in the field he is convinced that the Intelliquip package has accelerated Wilfley’s quoting process and improved overall productivity and accuracy: “We’re definitely more responsive and I’m confident our quote packages are more professional and complete. With systems as complex as ours can be, eliminating errors in the front end may seem an unattainable goal. It’s now within our reach.”

The “dramatic” differences between Intelliquip and more generic products are “analogous to advancing from a DOS platform to a custom SaaS portal. We went to a much more nimble and robust platform. It’s so much more powerful that we are reevaluating our systems and engineering data to ensure we properly accounted for all options.”

Troy Zellers, Director of Sales and Marketing,
A.R. Wilfley & Sons, Inc.Director of Engineering

Superior products And training

Not only were Intelliquip’s industry knowledge and products superior, Wilfley also found a real difference in the approach to training. In contrast to a generalized training class off site, Intelliquip sent two long-time pros to Colorado, where they conducted a factfinding session that identified and mapped all the data necessary to full implementation, and then led on-site selector training. The team also worked with Wilfley to quickly launch one product line so selected users could begin experimenting with the system.

Finally, Scott flew to Intelliquip’s Bethlehem, Pennsylvania headquarters for advanced training. Scott sums it up as “very valuable.” Time was of the essence. Dave Tress, VP Product Management for Intelliquip, explains: “This implementation became a unique situation when the previous vendor discontinued service during the migration period. This was unfortunate, but a reality. We responded by accelerating our implementation plan. Through a combination of additional work done by Intelliquip, rapid training of Wilfley employees, and a great overall job by the joint project team, we sped to a solution that far exceeded the capabilities of their previous package.” “In a perfect world, you would overlap the transition,” says Scott. “Thankfully, we had Intelliquip up and running quickly, at least enough for people to start quoting in September.”

Extracting intelligence and
ensuring precise selections

While Segovia values the entire system, he also points out that what he appreciates the most and has become his major responsibility, reminiscent of the company’s roots, is mining for business intelligence. “The system captures invaluable information. For the first time, we can easily pinpoint what product lines sell best and in what markets, what distributors close the most sales, what we’re missing in terms of requests that we can’t meet — it’s just an incredible benefit that we’re beginning to realize,” he details. Zellers agrees that Intelliquip’s BIQ (business intelligence software) opens new dimensions of thinking about their work. “Just last week, we had a big project come in, something in the order of 40 to 50 applications for an individual project. I asked Douglas to plot where the performances of each of the pumps fell so I could see it on a grander scale and gauge how it fit across our entire product pipeline. It helped me see the product line from a whole new level.” “We gather all this intelligence straight from the system,” says Segovia. “It’s more efficient, we don’t duplicate data entry nor do we add paperwork burdens to the sales team.” Segovia and the team at Wilfley also concur that, while some of their older users still shy away from technology, Intelliquip’s tools will enhance customer responsiveness from both inside sales and external distributors. “They create the most precise real time quotes and translate into 18 languages as well,” he adds. “An end-user doesn’t have to be a pump expert. Before, users had to know the pump’s physical limits and configuration constraints. Now, almost anyone can plug in flow and pressure parameters, make the optimum selection for the duty point and then quickly and accurately configure and price our pumps. It definitely results in far smarter selection and configuration.”

“The system captures invaluable information. For the first time, we can easily pinpoint what product lines sell best and in what markets, what distributors close the most sales, what we’re missing in terms of requests that we can’t meet — it’s just an incredible benefit that we’re beginning to realize.”

Douglas Segovia
Director of Sales and Marketing,
A.R. Wilfley & Sons, Inc.

Wilfley’s long-standing traditions of inventiveness, great products and superior customer service also sum up the reasons why the firm turned from a more “generic” sales configuration software provider to Intelliquip

Grant Mann serves as an Application Engineer for Thurston Machine Inc, Wilfley’s master distributor throughout Canada. He rates the improvements afforded by Intelliquip an “8 or 9” on a scale of one-to-ten. “It’s been a great addition,” he says. “The amount of information loaded into the system specific to Wilfley pumps is amazing. It’s user-friendly, live and dynamic, which is really important in an environment where customers can change their minds on flow rate or head and expect a quick response.” Added Mann, “Intelliquip incorporates all the theories of centrifugal pumps into the process. They definitely stand behind their product.” “Intelliquip’s work with Wilfley epitomizes our value proposition —- achieving the highest functionality and performance for the lowest total cost of ownership,” says Dave Brockway, President of Intelliquip. “We are fanatically dedicated to being the best in the world at providing automated selection, configuration, pricing and quoting solutions for the fluid handling and auxiliary equipment industries. Wilfley’s experience highlights the significant differences between a generic configurator and our industry-customized technology.”

Wilfley's history of
break-through
discoveries continues.

Intelliquip's software and
Automated solutions:

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Essential CPQ Functions

Our guide to the most in-demand CPQ functions that increase revenue and accelerate sales.

CPQ Solutions that Benefit Your Business

A compilation of our top CPQ functions and how they drive results for manufacturer.

Industry Leader in Air Filtration

Configuring and quoting multimillion dollar air filtration systems eliminated errors while introducing 10% growth.

CASE STUDY
TOMMY CAR WASH

As Tommy Car Wash Systems grew, the volume of inquiries increased and their quotes became more complex and time consuming. Tommy Car Wash was looking to streamline its quote-to-order process with an easy to use tool that could integrate with NetSuite ERP.

As a result, Tommy Car Wash turned to Configure One for a CPQ solution. Together, the two systems would automate the entire quote-to-order process. Configure One’s integration with NetSuite, provided Tommy Car Wash with more than they originally expected. The old manual system based on spreadsheets became outdated.

Today, dealers are empowered to create their own quotes. Along with NetSuite, Configure One effortlessly produces professional quotations with all the necessary documents, drawings, and specifications. By automating most of the process, they have nearly eliminated configuration and order entry errors.

Tommy Car Wash Systems in Holland, Michigan manufactures car washing equipment. They are focused on providing customers with the best possible car wash, utilizing the highest quality equipment and detergents available coupled with exceptional customer service.

GROWING PAINS

With a rapidly expanding business, the number of quotes Tommy Car Wash Systems was producing got to be overwhelming. The number of product options and the complexity of their quotes was also growing.

Their quotation process was manual and time-consuming. “It relied on a lot of ‘tribal knowledge’ supported by a series of spreadsheets,” said Ryan Essenburg, Operations Director. It became obvious that the old method of generating quotes was no longer appropriate.

“During the quote-to-order process, there were numerous inaccuracies or missing components. We were looking for a way to reduce the number of errors, increase our ability to upsell, and automatically produce a professional-looking quotation.

THE RIGHT CHOICE

Tommy Car Wash Systems sells to independent car wash developers, “existing car wash operators, and car wash chains. They were looking for a web-based configurator that could be accessed by all of their distributors and customers.

“From the beginning, our goal was to integrate the product configurator into our web sites so that any customer or dealer can go online and configure a product and create a quote,” said Essenburg.

“We wanted to have a streamlined process with minimal manual intervention. A seamless integration between the configurator and NetSuite was essential,” said Essenburg.

Tommy Car Wash Systems signed a license agreement with Configure One in October 2008 and went live with it in early 2009.

“We were looking for a way to reduce the number of errors, increase our ability to upsell, and automatically produce a professional-looking quotation.”

– Ryan Essenburg,

Operations Director Tommy Car Wash Systems

Add Your Heading Text Here

IMPACTFUL TRAINING

Configure One provided support from a dedicated project manager throughout the implementation process and beyond. “He was very helpful throughout the implementation,” said Essenburg. “We dealt with one person that knew our company and products, instead of having to explain an issue over and over again to different people.”

Training and support from Configure One was critical. Essenburg attended a multi-day training session at Configure One’s offices. “I worked with a Configure One consultant to develop a prototype.”

The training was critical to the success of the implementation. “Since then, we have consistently been adding and maintaining the rules with new products and options.

INTEGRATION WITH NETSUITE

While some companies implement a product configurator as a stand-alone system, many of Configure One’s customers integrate with back office systems, such as an ERP.

“Once a quote is created in Configure One, and approved,” said Essenburg, “the data is automatically passed to Netsuite to create a sales order.”

Built on 40 years of knowledge and expertise in the car wash industry, Tommy Car Wash Systems has assisted with the development of several hundred car washes around the world. They provide customers with all the components and expertise needed to build and operate a successful car wash—all bundled in a single package.

DEALER EMPOWERMENT

Configure One has reduced the amount of time spent working on dealers’ quotes by empowering its dealers with the ability to generate their own quotes.

“Configure One has proved to be a good tool for our distributors to develop a quote for their customers, and this means less work for us. Today’s quotes are more complex as we offer the customer many more options. As our business has grown in both volume and complexity, it would be impossible to do what we do today in a spreadsheet.”

“Configure One has proved to be a good tool for our distributors to develop a quote for their customers.”

– Ryan Essenburg,

Operations Director Tommy Car Wash Systems

EVEN BETTER THAN EXPECTED

As they became more experienced with Configure One, Tommy Car Wash soon learned many other capabilities in the product that were appropriate for their business.

“After using Configure One, we found there were many other benefits such as pulling all the documents together for that car wash project,” said Essenburg.

“Now we are utilizing a lot more features. We can enter specifications, such as water temperature and hardness, and the system selects the right water softening system or filtration, ensuring the customer gets the correct components.”

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CASE STUDY
HARTZELL AIR MOVEMENT

As a 6th-generation family-owned company operating for 144 years, Hartzell Air Movement has a strong heritage, but they also recognize that they must continuously evolve to be around for another 144 years. When they set out to replace their aging CPQ application, cost, efficiency, and revenue were the main priorities. They selected Configure One based on the provider’s experience in the manufacturing industry. After implementing Configure One, they’ve been able to maximize efficiency throughout their organization by getting the most out of their internal and external sales channels. The speed at which they are able to handle customer quotes has led to happier customers and increased revenue.

INCREASING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND THE
BOTTOM LINE BY IMPROVING BOM ACCURACY

Hartzell Air Movement is a manufacturer of industrial ventilation and heating equipment. They serve a variety of industries, including heavy industry, marine, food processing, and energy production.

CHALLENGE

Having a company history that dates back more than a century means not only keeping their products at the forefront of their industry, but also by making sure that their internal systems keep pace with the needs of their staff, so they can best serve customers.

Hartzell manufactures industrial fans for professional engineers and companies focused on the air movement of their projects and facilities. Their CPQ journey started back in 2002 with a desktop application and moved to an online CPQ platform in 2006. More recently, the team at Hartzell was struggling with their outdated CPQ technology and maintenance was causing headaches.

To address this challenge, they put together a cross-functional team to evaluate all of the company’s options. Originally, the team thought their best course would be a custom build software system. When they started considering something off-the-shelf, they turned to Configure One. The CPQ offering from Configure One stood out because they were able to handle Hartzell’s custom business logic so gracefully from within their platform.

“Configure One had the horsepower, aptitude, and knowledge to understand our business and create a solution for us,” said David Long, VP, Sales and Technology, Hartzell Air Movement. “Their technical and engineering staff was able to quickly understand our air flow selection logic and present the right solution to our business.”

“Configure One had the horsepower, aptitude, and knowledge to understand our business.”

– David Long

VP, Sales and Technology Hartzell Air Movement

“[Sales reps] can create a quote at any time on any day without needing to check with our”

– David Long

VP, Sales and Technology Hartzell Air Movement

SOLVING PROBLEMS

There are two important pieces to Hartzell’s online business process: the selection process and the online configuration. Configure One was able to accommodate Hartzell’s selection criteria and build this logic so it works flawlessly with the configuration module.

After getting set up with Configure One, Hartzell’s sales reps can enter air flow performance criteria in the selector and then move quickly to configuration. Now, Hartzell has a fully featured online selection and configurator tool called Hartzell FLOW — all powered by Configure One. Internally, Configure One is known as Hartzell FLOW (Fan Logic On the Web), and all orders and proposals go through the system. “For us, everything begins and ends with FLOW,” said Long. “We sell through independent sales reps and defined territories. Being the easiest, fastest manufacturer for our sales reps is important so that they can create a quote at any time on any day without needing to check with our factories.”

Before implementing Configure One, 70% of Hartzell’s quotes were entered by the factory, and 30% were entered by sales reps. Today, they’ve been able to shift that ratio so that only 40% of quote are performed by factory, and 60% are completed by sales reps. Hartzell is looking to continue this trend, with a goal of reducing the percentage of quotes produced by the factory to just 20%. Configure One has helped make things easier on Hartzell’s sales reps and enabled them to continue delighting their customers for many years to come.

Configure One is a leading provider of web-based product configurator and CPQ (configure price quote) software. Configure One has enabled both large and small companies to increase revenues and decrease costs by automating the way they sell and process orders for configurable, multi-option, and customizable products.

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CASE STUDY
SCRANTON PRODUCT

The management team at Scranton Products management team started
their search for a CPQ solution after dealing with repeated bill of material errors and a quote lead time of a week or longer. They were looking to streamline their entire quote-to-production systems and eliminate errors caused by manual configuration. Since implementing Configure One’s CPS solution, Scranton Products has been able to reduce lead times for quotations and drawings from nearly ten days to just a matter of minutes. Configure One also enabled Scranton’s dealers to create quotations and drawings without ever involving the company’s sales department. Improvements to BOM accuracy have helped reduce the number of product returns and customer credits by 45% in the year after going live with Configure One and an additional 50% the year after that.

INCREASING CUSTOMER SATISFACTION AND THE BOTTOM LINE BY IMPROVING BOM ACCURACY

Scranton Products, located in Scranton, Pennsylvania, manufactures a wide variety of synthetic commercial building products for locker rooms and restrooms. Their products include locker systems, bathroom partitions, counter tops, and shower stalls. Scranton Products also markets and manufactures products for industrial use focused on the marine and semi-conductor industries.

“Our previous process was very manual and time consuming.”

NEED FOR A NEW APPROACH

In October 2007, Scranton Products’ management team recognized the need to streamline the company’s estimating, quotation, and order processing systems. They wanted to streamline their cumbersome quote-to-order process and eliminate BOM errors.

“Our previous process was very manual and time consuming,” said Gil Garcia, Director of Sales Operations. “When a dealer requested a quotation, it went to our estimating department. They created the quote and sent it back to the dealer. We would wait for a purchase order then start the cycle of producing a drawing for the project.”

Scranton Products began searching for a CPQ solution that could meet all of their requirements in October 2007. In addition to BOM generation, they wanted a CPQ that could integrate with SAP, their ERP system.

“We selected Configure One’s CPQ based on its capabilities and value,” Garcia said. “It was also very important that we felt comfortable with the company.”

HITTING THE GROUND RUNNING

Scranton Products signed a contract with Configure One in December 2007, and by June 2008 was live on Configure One’s CPQ solution. The team at Scranton Products collected product knowledge and Configure One personnel help set up the product rules.

“The system development was a collaboration,” said Garcia. “Using Configure One’s admin tools, we created the configuration rules for additional products,” said Garcia. “We are now self-sufficient.”

The initial implementation of Configure One was limited to just stalls and screens. Scranton Products has since added more product lines and the ability to showcase products through Configure One has further enhanced the company’s position as a leader in the marketplace.

“We have a competitive advantage with Configure One,” Garcia explained. “We’ve added benches, vanities, spare parts, and we’re in the process of adding lockers. We are in a position of having a complete range of products that none of our competitors can match.”

Another important part of the project was the seamless integration of Configure One to SAP, Scranton Products’ ERP system. As a result of this integration, they’ve eliminated saved time and eliminated errors from having to enter information in multiple systems.

“We selected
Configure One based
on its capabilities and
value.”

 

INSTANTLY CONFIGURED DRAWINGS

The second phase of the project made use of Configure One’s Real Time 2D module. This enabled users to see the impact of dimensional choices and various options within a 2D drawing while making selections.

“We’ve dramatically increased the speed by which we can get drawings in the hands of our customers,” said Garcia. “Now, dealers can create configurations without our help. They can make adjustments and then instantaneously see the results.”

Before Configure One, this process would take anywhere from three to ten days. Today, dealers can create their own drawings and quotes in a matter of minutes.

“We’ve dramatically increased the speed by which we can get drawings in the hands of our customers.”

BENEFITS

Scranton Products has realized many benefits from using Configure One, including a dramatically faster turnaround time for creating drawings and quotations, as well as significantly improved BOM and pricing accuracy.

“If the BOM is not accurate,” said Garcia, “then the factory manufactures the wrong product, resulting in returns and a credit back to the customer.” By improving the BOM accuracy and dramatically reducing configuration errors, Scranton Products has reduced product defects/returns and customer credits issued as a result of those returns.

In 2008, Scranton Products was able to reduce credits by 45%. In 2009, they managed to reduce those levels by an additional 50% against the 2008 levels.

“We have a competitive advantage with Configure One.”

– Gil Garcia

Director of Sales Operations Scranton Product

FOUNDATIONAL IMPACT

Recognizing the benefits that Configure One brought to the company, Scranton Products took the opportunity to make organizational changes to improve customer service.

“We were able to combine the order entry and customer service departments,” said Garcia. “We changed the focus and name of the group to Customer Advocacy,” The department was tasked with being the internal champion for Scranton’s customers.

“They can focus on building customer relationships and manage everything from the processing of the order through to delivery,” said Garcia. “They now have the capability to create a drawing, process orders, manage customers’ expectations, and keep customers informed on day-to-day activities.

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In 2019, Amazon surpassed Google and Apple to become the world’s most valuable brand. Now at 280.5 billion in revenue, Amazon is leading the market. But it’s still quicker to pick something up at the mall. Why do an increasing number of people choose Amazon? 

For starters, Amazon is simple to use and more convenient. Plus, they make it easier to find what you want, read product information, see prices, and order it conveniently from your computer, tablet, or phone. So, why not use some of their strategies in your manufacturing firm? It’s possible. But if your products are complex and configurable, you solve that problem first. A solution for this is Configure, Price, Quote software, known as CPQ.

5 Tips for Evaluating CPQ Software

Getting results similar to Amazon’s sounds like a wonderful idea. But CPQ software is not the right fit for every manufacturer. A smart CEO would ask some tough questions before adding it to their wheelhouse. Here are five ways to examine whether CPQ software should be part of your technology roadmap.

  • Why should I care about CPQ?
  • What happens if I wait to adopt?
  • What are my competitors doing?
  • Who’s involved?
  • Can we build it ourselves?

Why Should I Care About CPQ?

Consider what would happen if you lost a key sales leader in your organization like your VP of Sales. It could be a crushing blow. If you had CPQ, your salespeople could almost manage themselves while delivering quotes 70% faster with accurate pricing and discounts. You’d have done your job as CEO. 

CPQ would also eliminate your need for spreadsheet pricing. Excel may get the quote done, but it gives you limited visibility over your pipeline and causes errors because sellers may not be using the most up-to-date spreadsheet. Instead, CPQ would give you real-time information about sales activities, opportunities, quotes, and upcoming orders. And you’d be able to roll out price changes instantly across your sales channels.

What Happens if We Wait to Adopt?

Configuration engines used in CPQ software originated from AI experiments back in the 1960s. Why adopt it now? One reason is that sales quoting is fast becoming a competitive advantage separating the winners from the losers. 

True, pricing spreadsheets may solve your immediate needs. But you may also end up duplicating your efforts, resulting in higher costs down the road. Adopting CPQ could give your customers a seamless omnichannel experience. Wait too long and you might fall so far behind the curve you can’t catch up.

What Are Our Competitors Doing?

Whether you like it, CPQ software is becoming an essential tool for many firms. Gartner reported that in 2018 the CPQ market grew by 12.4% to an estimated $1.2 billion. Some of your competitors probably already made the switch.

Once implemented, CPQ lets your channel partners gain a competitive advantage because they can quote faster to meet customer demands. You can build stronger relationships while optimizing your resources. It’s the ultimate tool for increasing customer satisfaction, tracking performance and reaching your goals.

Who’s Involved?

Your choice of technology has implications. You must know how CPQ will impact your entire sales team. The right CPQ software can enable you to interact with your data. 

Your VP of Sales can create sales forecasts with greater accuracy in less time. Sales Managers can onboard and ramp up salespeople better. Customer service will be able to work with sales reps on quotes and orders faster and easier.  Further, engineering and IT can play a key role in improving your customer experience. They’ll be able to review, adjust and approve quotes to decrease turnaround time.  

Can’t We Just Do It Ourselves?

Doing it yourself is a route many companies try. Often, salespeople get frustrated with the current quoting process and create their own spreadsheet.  They waste several hundred hours adding capabilities to the spreadsheet until they need advanced features like reporting and forecasting across the channel.  That is where spreadsheets really fail. 

Or the busy IT department is asked to develop an in-house solution.  Most of these solutions have time and cost overruns, were not designed properly, and they can’t meet all the demands of the sales teams.

At that point, you may realize you’ve wasted time and effort you can’t get back. While in-house solutions may work in the beginning, most firms end up replacing them with a professional CPQ solution in the long run.

Related Post: How to Decide Whether to Build In-House or Buy a CPQ Software

CPQ Software: Your Bridge to a More Profitable Future

A technology roadmap should reduce your costs while increasing results. But the systems you select must also serve as a bridge to the future. Done right, CPQ software can fill this role. It can improve your leadership by streamlining sales quoting and create a collaborative selling environment where everyone wins.

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Are you a B2B manufacturer with configurable products sold through partner channels? That’s where eRep CPQ software shines. Click here to learn about eRep capabilities or contact us for a free confidential consultation to discuss your requirements.

What Can a CPQ Solution Do for Your Company?
Here are 7 Things

Innovation is at the core of many businesses, especially those in specialty manufacturing. Failing to identify and adapt to new technologies impacts all areas of the business, from new sales to customer retention and satisfaction. The industry even has a slogan for it: innovate or die.

Certainly, this maxim fits perfectly in the manufacturing industry. CPQ (configure, price, quote) software solutions help manufacturers bring the sales side of their business up to meet the level of sophistication already in place on the physical production side of things.

CPQ software is one of the most flexible innovations that a manufacturing company can implement to stay current or even pull ahead of its competitors in the modern economy.

Modern manufacturing companies adopt a CPQ solution for many reasons. A few of the most common are:

INCREASE
SALES VELOCITY:

CPQ software supercharges your sales team by automating the tedious and time-consuming quoting process for customized products. It gets rid of the back-and-forth with customers where specifications need to be approved by engineers and specialized pricing has to be calculated for each quote. What could once take days or even weeks to get a product into production now takes only a few minutes.

IMPROVES
CONSISTENCY:

Another positive change you’ll notice with CPQ is that it allows for more consistency. Say goodbye to using complex spreadsheets and human error that could cause misquoted or use of outdated pricing. The consistency of CPQ ensures everyone is always using the most up-to-date pricing information, giving you confidence that your profit margins are set properly.

MORE
EFFICIENT WORKFLOWS:

You can get the most out of your specialized workforce using CPQ software. Engineers don’t have to waste their expertise going over each customer quote, and the sales team doesn’t have to wait around for approvals before taking an order. This lets your engineers spend their time designing new products and innovating on existing product lines, which makes your business more competitive.

REDUCED
ORDER ERRORS:

By automating the quoting process, businesses can produce professional, formal quotes that can give your business a level of service that it might have been lacking before. Additionally, because the computer is able to be programmed to handle realistic dimension specifications, you don’t have to worry about a product being ordered that you cannot realistically build.

Give your customers a buying experience that reduces canceled orders and miscommunications. CPQ software can work with a visual configurator to give a customer a real-time 3D model of the product so they know exactly what they’re ordering. This will prevent later hassles if a customer claims that the finished product is not what they wanted.

STANDARDIZED
SELL PROCESSES:

One powerful aspect of CPQ software is in standardizing your sales processes through guided selling. A guided selling interface can be built into the quoting tool and uses a set of questions to figure out which product best suits the customer’s needs. Instead of relying on the salesperson’s experience, which can come with blind spots and biases, you can be sure that customers are getting the best possible experience every time.

POWERFUL
DATA AND ANALYTICS:

CPQ software can provide you with an abundance of sales data to aid in your processes. A sales department can easily look at historical sales data to determine how best to upsell or cross-sell to a particular customer. With clients who have ordered in the past, you can determine when it’s best to reconnect with them to set up a new order. Additionally, Asset-Based Ordering” or subscription ordering is easier as you can readily see when they need to place another order. This is done from one convenient interface.

DEEP
INTEGRATIONS:

CPQ solutions can integrate with other software options such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems. This can give you numerous advantages, including the ability to streamline your order taking, production, and billing into one network. You can easily track your materials and determine what is in stock, what you need to manufacture, and what you need to order so you can complete every customized order.

With a CPQ solution, many of the problems that come with trying to configure a customized product are eliminated. Automating processes and orders allows for a more streamlined business flow which lets you maximize your time and profits.