Sofon Blog

Is a configurator suitable for Engineer-To-Order (ETO) companies?

27 April 2012

By: Marijn Schouten

If you have experience with a classical product configurator, then you will most likely respond ‘no’ to the question above. After all, a configurator is intended to correctly configure products, and to generate bills of materials and routings based on rules and limitations.

Configurator and Guided Selling

Strictly speaking, you are right. But actually the question above is the wrong question. A better question is: “Can configurator technology be used by ETO companies?” Sofon uses configurator technology as a basis for Guided Selling. Guided Selling software can indeed offer a great deal of added value to the sales process of ETO companies. But how?

What does an ETO company do?

An ETO company produces solutions based on customer specification. The solutions are often unpredictable and unique. On product level you can hardly begin to determine in advance the rules regarding the product configuration. But is that the real problem from a sales perspective? No, that is not the real question. During the sale, it is not the product specification that is important, but the answering of two other questions. First, can and will I deliver what the customer requests? Second, at what price will I do that?

Guided Selling for ETO processes

Guided Selling enables you to ask the right questions and leads to the right answers. Moreover Guided Selling offers the ability to make a quotation or order at a profitable price. In that way the major risks and opportunities are addressed: avoiding the sale of infeasible solutions or loss-making orders, and increasing the opportunity of a profitable order.

Production specification

Does Sofon Guided Selling deliver the right production specification in that way? Usually not at ETO companies. But it does deliver the product specification with which Engineering can make the translation to the production specification. Can this not be automated? Possibly. But that question requires starting a standardization process. Many ETO companies have preceded you in that without cheating the customer. Want to know more? Just let us know!
Marijn Schouten is Director Business Development at Sofon - supplier of sales support software. As Marijn has a lot of contact with clients, he has a clear insight into how companies that deliver customer-specific products and services can realize improvements within their sales and quotation process. 


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