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Thursday, 21 September 2017 08:35
Published in Customer interviews

"A picture is worth a thousand words"

Written by
Mark van MierloMark van Mierlo is REC Manager at the machine manufacturer GEA in Den Bosch, and he sees many advantages to the specific application of Sofon's Concept Designer at GEA to make quotes.

Concept Designer in practice

"Say you want to see the installation of central heating in a house, where the radiators are and how the pipes are run. You can only do that well in a graphical way. And the Concept Designer from Sofon does that well."

"Sofon has now made us an entire workable Concept Designer, and from there we can also start up the Sofon Quote Configurator. But there is still some development work to do." We discussed Mark's presentation about Sofon's Concept Designer on Customer Day of last year.

Visualize a client-specific system and quote it with a system configurator

"We have already worked with Sofon for a long time. In 2004, we were already looking for another system configurator, and we ended up with Sofon in 2006. We had a pretty tough list of requirements, but with Sofon we were guaranteed that all our wishes would be fulfilled. A system configurator is different from a product configurator; different machines must be configured together. At GEA we always sell a customer-specific solution, in contrast to many other Sofon customers who often offer a certain type of product in various versions."

"In my presentation on Customer Day, I tried to give a very visual picture of the solutions we offer. I used colored boxes for independent parts and machines that come together in a complete solution in which quantities and connections can differ, depending on what the customer wants. And that all comes together in our system configurator." And that's different for each customer? "You have entirely different systems for another customer, and that looks entirely different in Sofon. After the necessary years of development with Sofon it now operates correctly, and we can now configure complete solutions for customers. But it's still a big job for a user to make a calculation, even up to a day's work. We're working together with Sofon to see how that can be made faster and simpler."

Visual concept says more than a thousand words

"In my presentation I also showed why we need a system configurator: it's important that there be conceptual thought about the solution. Previously, our salespeople sat with the customer and made sketches on paper to come up with possible solutions. During the process it was easy for the customer and for the salesperson. We have now automated that process, but in such a way that the customer is still clear about what's going to happen. We also use Sofon's Concept Designer for this, to see which components are necessary to get it working."

"You can also use the concepts from the Concept Designer to clearly demonstrate to the customer what is in the solution. Normally the elements are there on paper, but a picture is worth a thousand words. The Concept Designer also offers a variety of possibilities for asking the user questions that can be answered by selecting pictures or answers. Suppose you've built an entire production line to make a car. You also have to capture the movement between the machines, depending on the type of car. You can only explain that with a Concept Designer."

Enthusiasm about solution

"The presentation on Sofon's Customer Day may have yielded some new potential customers for Sofon. Many people who saw it said: 'That's also interesting for us.' It was nice to see how I could spread my enthusiasm to other people."

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