Why Manufacturers Need to Replace Excel With a Product Configurator

Contrary to the name, Excel is only good at one thing: organizing information. As a spreadsheet tool, it’s not ideal for anything other than creating a database and running basic calculations, yet too many manufacturers still rely on it as their product configurator.

Excel is a nightmare to maintain and it often results in costly errors from mis-keyed entries or incompatible product options. But despite these drawbacks, many manufacturers have relied on the software for decades, and may be hesitant to change.

Technology has come a long way since the advent of Excel, and it’s time for sales teams to realize what they’re missing out on by sticking to manual processes. Configure, price, quote (CPQ) software is designed to eliminate errors and accelerate the time it takes to generate a quote, even with highly complex configurations.

If you’re still taking customer orders using an Excel spreadsheet, it’s time to consider what CPQ software can do for your business.

The Downside of Excel As a Product Configurator

Excel gets the job done for product configuration — especially in comparison to physical catalogs — but it still creates many challenges:
Excel doesn’t integrate directly with your customer relationship management (CRM) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, so it doesn’t have visibility into your inventory and distribution chain. This means you need to manually upload or re-enter everything for a simple task, like building a bill of materials (BOM).
When customers submit orders, sales has to run them past engineering for approval, and production managers have to check inventory to guarantee fulfillment. When manufacturers run into issues, a new set of specs has to be approved by the customer. Every time a change is made, the order has to be manually updated in the spreadsheet, increasing the likelihood of errors. These processes can take an incredible amount of time, cutting into profit.
When using Excel for product configuration, the main file only lives on a single computer, so companies usually assign just one “Excel Master” who knows everything about the configuration process, but what happens when they leave the company?

Plus, the way the spreadsheet is set up may only make sense to the person who designed it, which means if someone else has to take over, it can be a nightmare for them to try and understand how the interconnected formulas work together.

Why CPQ Is a Better Choice

Manufacturers are turning to CPQ software to replace their old Excel systems. CPQ provides an intuitive interface for selecting product options that is far more efficient than Excel. Here are some of the specific qualities that make CPQ the better choice:
Excel may have been a decent product configurator 20 years ago, but CPQ software has far surpassed it in every aspect. With the advent of newer technologies that can integrate with other programs, it’s time to replace your old Excel spreadsheets with CPQ software.

Configure One by Revalize is one of the most trusted solutions in the industry for streamlining the configuration process. If you’re ready to improve your productivity, schedule a free demo of the platform.

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