A quotation is the way to answer a customer's questions. Obviously, a customer wants to minimise any risks involved in making a purchase. That applies even more in the case of a customised product or service, such as software-based solutions or machinery. The customer will then have a number of concerns:
Up till now in my professional career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with many interesting companies and industries, for which I am very grateful. Over the years, however, I’ve found that my sales and project management successes are increasingly driven by modern work processes and digital tools which, as an employee, I cannot always influence. For example, I more or less had to learn that companies can lose sales potential and jeopardise market share by taking wrong decisions and investing in processes late.
Have you seen the diagrams illustrating the actual size of an iceberg? Most of it is hidden below the water. Misjudgements can then be catastrophic - as we all know since watching the film about the Titanic or learning about the misfortune involved in the original event. In the following discussion, I would like to clarify the reason why I see parallels to quotation preparation in this respect.
The solution used as a link between customers, sales and production is called CPQ (Configure Price Quote). Particularly in mechanical and plant engineering, this solution makes it possible to digitally map the business processes, substantially shorten the quotation process, and create ‘clean orders’ by means of error-free configurations.
An oft-heard misunderstanding is that Configure To Order (CTO) leads to a less diverse range of products on the market than Engineering To Order (ETO). The truth is quite the contrary: CTO leads to less internal diversity – fewer different article flows, fewer different engineering activities, and therefore lower costs and shorter delivery times – but to more external diversity. That has everything to do with the working of the human mind; in this case, the mind of sales.