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Friday, 17 April 2009 11:06
Published in Customer interviews

“If you know how to read, you know how to make a quotation with Sofon too”

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velopaVelopA provides street furniture, playground equipment and coverings for public open spaces. VelopA seeks to make sure that people feel encouraged to exercise, cycle and play in this shared environment. They also bring a splash of green into an otherwise built-up outdoor environment.

What is VelopA using Sofon for?

velopa people“We use Sofon to configure the coverings. I have integrated our quotation models into Sofon together with a colleague. We both had the product knowledge we needed, so we had a firm base to create these models, though I myself didn’t have an IT-background. I was, however, highly interested in learning how to model. And it seems that this has been bearing fruit since we heard from our colleagues that the question-and-answer design of Sofon is built up logically. We also hear from our customers regularly that our quotations are clear, well-specified and have a professional look and feel.”

What was the situation like before Sofon?

“Prior to Sofon we were using Excel sheets which were made up of as much as twenty pages. On them we could fill in lots of data: length, width, height, sort of material, type of base… Then we had to convert these data to a text file. We used a standard text block in Word in which we could fill in prices and calculations. So you really had to know what you were doing because an error could be easily made. Apart from this, the making of a bill of materials turned out to be a bottleneck. We had to do it manually and one can see that there were many possibilities for errors in such a situation.”

What is the situation like with Sofon?

“Nowadays we use the question-and-answer set-up of Sofon to configure products and generate quotations. Internally we say to each other: ‘If you know how to read, you know how to make a quotation with Sofon’. Indeed, it’s that simple: thanks to Sofon everybody knows what questions have to be answered and what the possibilities and impossibilities are. This stretches so far that a new employee is already able to make a standard quotation after just a day or two. This doesn’t mean that he or she is auto- matically a product expert, but rather because of the way Sofon guides the user through the configuration, they can effortlessly build a quotation as if they were. The passing of product knowledge happens much faster as well. With Sofon a new co-worker has a training period of about one month to get to know our products, whereas in the past this took 12 to 18 months.”

What more did VelopA gain by using Sofon?

“Besides the shorter training period, Sofon allowed us to respond better to the changes our customers are asking for. Changing things in Sofon is quite simple. We also greatly improved on our quotation cycle time. In the past it took us thirty to forty five minutes to generate a quotation and now we have a new one in less than a few minutes. Quotations are complete, error-free, contain a cover sheet, specification sheet, delivery conditions and an assembly checklist the buyer has to fill in. Best of all, we don’t have to create the bill of materials by hand anymore when a quotation becomes an order. Because the bill of materials is created during the quote configuration, it is automa- tically transferred to our ERP system Microsoft Dynamics AX when it becomes an order.”

What will the future bring to VelopA and Sofon?

“Sofon has been successfully used at our coverings department for four years now. That’s why we intend to roll Sofon out to the playground equipment and street furniture departments. When these departments start working with Sofon as well, we expect to see decreasing errors and an easier process to make combined quotations. We would also like to introduce Sofon to our Field Sales Department and eventually have Sofon be able to do the visualization of the products during the configuration.”

Results

  • Everybody knows the possibilities and impossibilities of a product
  • Shortened training period new staff; from 12-18 months to 1 month
  • Shortened quotation cycle time
  • Better response to changes that customers ask for
  • Quotations and bills of materials are complete, error-free and have a professional look and feel

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