Revalize Expands Foodservice Equipment & Supplies Portfolio with Latest Acquisition Learn More

Has Your Manufacturing Company Outgrown Excel and Homegrown Configurators?

The specialty manufacturing industry has come a long way from the days of physical product catalogs and giant price books. Sales teams have been able to
go digital thanks to Microsoft Excel, database software, and in some cases, configurator solutions they’ve built in-house. Unfortunately, sales teams are destined to outgrow these solutions as well.

If you’re using one of these solutions, you’re probably already held back by its limitations, whether you know it or not. In this blog, we’ll explore the solution that can really help: configure, price, quote (CPQ) software.

Where Excel Databases And Homegrown Configurators Worked

Excel spreadsheets are the most versatile solution to come out of the ’90s office technology revolution. Homegrown configurator programs have even more advanced features than Excel databases, limited only by the technical abilities of the employees who created them. Sales teams that use either of these solutions enjoy:
In the days of physical catalogs and price books, configuring a product was like navigating a choose-your-own-adventure novel. With spreadsheets and homegrown solutions, all workflows are digital, and users simply enter data and click selections for ultra-fast processing. Those with advanced knowledge of Excel formulas can even automate price calculations based on specific configuration choices.
With Excel databases and homegrown software, users can build solutions exactly how they want. Users in industries with incredibly specific configuration needs, like fluid handling or medical equipment, can customize their configurators to encompass all of the necessary attributes and nuances.

With any solution built in-house, users aren’t beholden to third-party software developers. That means no subscription fees, no contracts, and no waiting around for unresponsive support if something goes wrong. Users have total control over their configurator.

Where Excel Database And Homegrown Configurators Failed

While Excel databases and in-house configurators have some definite perks compared to fully manual processes, the cons far outweigh the pros in today’s market. The biggest problems users will run into with their homegrown CPQ solutions are:

No Support

If you’re not using a vendor’s CPQ solution, then you’re on your own if something goes wrong. By their very nature, specialty manufacturers are better at manufacturing than they are at coding, so it’s almost guaranteed that something will go wrong with your in-house solution. When the inevitable happens, you either have to do extensive research to find a fix or workaround, or call in a specialist to clean up your mess.

High Costs for Fixing Errors

The money you save from building a homegrown solution will eventually be lost to the high cost of repairing it over time. Manufacturers aren’t trained to code or develop software, so any workflows built with Excel or other solutions will be incredibly brittle and prone to breakdown. If you can’t figure out how to fix it, you’ll have to call in expensive specialists at an hourly rate, with no cap on how much repairs could cost. Even worse, you’ll miss out on revenue the entire time your system is down.

Difficult to Scale

In addition to being hard to fix, homegrown configurators are also hard to scale. Inevitably, products and processes will become more complicated over time. In order to keep up, users with limited technology will have to add more capabilities to their solutions, which may not have been built properly to begin with. Every addition or change creates another opportunity for a complete system failure. As a result, many companies would rather suffer with limited capabilities than risk breaking their solution.

CPQ to the Rescue

Even though Excel and homegrown configurators are lightyears ahead of old-school pricing books, they don’t come close to the capabilities of CPQ software. CPQ automates most data entry and routine database management, making customer, product, and quote information available in one cloud-based platform. Since they’re built by professional software developers, they’re designed according to industry standards, are easy to scale, and have almost no chance of breakdown. But if users run into any problems, there’s technical support.

Leading solutions like Revalize even offer purpose-built CPQs designed specifically for the needs of niche industries, so users don’t have to make any sacrifices. Ready right out of the box, manufacturers can set up and start selling from their configurator in a fraction of the time it takes to build a homegrown solution.

Schedule a demo with one of our experts to see for yourself.

Interested in Learning More?

Connect With Us

Ready to drive business transformation?