..."Client specific, standardized as much as possible"
"I was recently at a company that supplies valves for power plants. They normally receive a request from a power plant and then make a quotation. Creating such a proposal sometimes takes them days, which results in significant costs." Klaas Jan Riezebos is a Senior Consultant at Sofon, and he likes to see customers being helped well: "Due to Sofon, they can now create those proposals quicker and easier: usually there's an action plan ready within 15 minutes, and one that's better than before. This company also had a clear goal for what they wanted to achieve with Sofon. And that goal remained clear throughout the project."
Quotation software: guiding the implementation
"With a new client, I'll see why they have decided to work with Sofon. Usually they have also already decided which products to use. I start with the project intake: I pick up a lot of information and look at which problem they want to solve. I'll also work with the customer to determine the scope: what we're going to do. I do that with a 'Solution Architect'. This results in a project plan."
"Shortly thereafter I begin training the model builders and construction of the prototype. If that goes well, we do the rest of the scope, which of course is different for each company. If they have multiple products, we develop a prototype for a product. If there is only one product, we use a subset for variants."
"I'm always involved from the beginning: not only with the project intake, but with the training of the customer's employees and with writing the project plan. I guide the project: both its content and the project management, sometimes one more than the other. I'm located the furthest north of the consultants, so I find that my customers are often located in the northern half of the country. But I've also done a project in Brussels, so there's no defined regional division."
Quotation processes can always be optimized
"A nice case was a company that sold cardboard packaging for meat, fish, flowers and so forth. Here too we started with a prototype for their main product. It didn't have to be able to do everything, but it needed to show calculations related to the paper mill. Much more was added later, such as transporting or putting things on pallets, and cutting or printing to size."
And how did it go in reality? "The project went very smoothly. The project leader was the Head of Sales, and he had a clear and realistic picture of what he wanted to achieve. The company wanted to distinguish themselves with customization: whatever you want, we can make. They were proud of this, but we discovered that there could still be a lot of standardization with non-standard boxes. If you optimize that, you're much more effective. My contact wanted to lead the salespeople to move more towards standard formats, or at least to understand the costs of customization. Then, if there were questions about customization during the sales process, the salesperson could at least provide insight."
"I studied molecular sciences in Wageningen, a background that combines chemistry and physics applied to biology. My studies were very focused on conducting research. I enjoyed that, but at the end of the day I still wanted to see results, and you don't get that in basic research. I wanted something more concrete, so I got into IT. I started as a Software Engineer and through internal training grew into a management position. Then I moved to Sofon."
"I really enjoy my work, which is greatly related to appreciation from two sides: there's a lot of appreciation from Sofon and from customers. Customers appreciate the Sofon products and solutions: Sofon has real added value; customers enjoy it every day, even after we leave. When the project is complete, the customer can keep everything running on their own. They sometimes contact us for changes or upgrades, but sometimes you don't hear from them for six months or a year. And that's usually a good sign."
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