Does your ERP Software System Include a Product Configurator? Here's Why it Should

By Johnny Nugent

One of the purposes of moving to a single ERP software system is to increase efficiencies by bridging the gaps between sales, engineering, and production. When we engage with a prospective or current customer, we invest time in studying their current processes through discovery sessions to fully understand how they move from quote to cash today. We also want to understand their motivations for seeking a new or upgraded ERP software system. Some companies are driven by improving their manufacturing, others are focused on gaining visibility over their operations and financials, some seek an ERP system in preparation for anticipated growth.

Whatever motivations the business has and processes that exist today, each business we encounter is seeking a better quote to cash process. The importance of the "quoting" step in this process cannot go overlooked. Quoting is where a deal or product is sold, expectations are set, and money is made or lost. An inaccurate quote can potentially ruin a relationship with a valued customer or cause the manufacturer to lose money if they are not capturing labor, materials, timing, and progress accurately.

The solution to bridging the gaps between sales, engineering, and production is often found in a "product configurator." At VISIBILITY, our standard VISIBILITY ERP software solution includes a product configurator that provides powerful, rule-based generation of product structures, costs, and pricing in a flexible guided user interface.

In practice, it enables members of your sales team to engage with customers to accurately define the exact options your customer is seeking in your product. The product configurator is fully integrated with quoting, order entry, and engineering, delivering efficient data entry and reliable generation of simple to complex configure-to-order items. As selections are made, validations are performed to ensure that invalid selections cannot be made by your sales team. Configuration templates, with inter-dependent selections and linked graphic elements are easily and economically set up without the need for custom programming. 

Here are a few features of our product configurator that are worth noting:

  • Validation and Notifications – Inter-dependent validations are performed in real-time. All selections are immediately displayed in the configurator workbench, with graphic icons to provide notification of the current validity. Selections may be nested within categories to hide invalid selections and to emphasize items necessary to support earlier selections.
  • Part and Process Structures – Both bills of materials (BOM) and routing steps are generated from the configurator selection set. Based on flexible formulas, new part numbers can be specified on the fly.
  • Costs and Pricing – Costs and pricing are developed from flexible formulas at the lowest level and then rolled up to generate quote pricing.

So why should you make sure that your ERP software system has a robust product configurator? Because if you are a manufacturer of configure-to-order products, a product configurator will make your sales team more efficient and accurate in creating quotes; BOMs, routings, costs, and pricing can be automated based on prior data which ensures accuracy and profitability; and you will increase customer satisfaction by providing more accurate quotes with realistic delivery timelines.

Make sure in your ERP software selection process to ask vendors whether their standard ERP software solution includes a product configurator. VISIBILITY ERP software includes a product configurator in our standard solution. Click below to learn about how VISIBILITY ERP software and our product configurator can help your business.

Topics: ERP

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