Can ERP configurators also benefit sales?A traditional ERP configurator does not only produce the ordered version of a product for a company. This ERP functionality also generates parts lists and production routings. The configuration is exclusively based on the items, parts lists and routings created in the ERP system.
But how can you offer your customers and interested parties corresponding, maybe even newly developed versions? Does the system allow the sales department to create quotes that comply with sales-specific requirements or would Word and Excel be better suited for this purpose?
Sales configuration supports salesA sales-based configurator not only monitors the process starting from the order of a product, but gets involved in the process at a much earlier stage. Quote configurators enable the sales staff to configure and/or calculate complex and multi-variant products and even custom-made products quickly and easily.
Unlike the ERP configurator, a quote configurator inquires after the customer's demand and configures a corresponding solution. Although the quote is prepared based on data from the ERP system, the quote configurator has many additional features. For instance, new constellations are configured and calculated, entire projects including the related services and service contracts, if applicable, are covered, as well as complex Engineer-to-Order (ETO) processes for highly customized products. With an ERP configurator all this could only be accomplished with great difficulty.
The result is a quote that is correct both in terms of visual design and content and that describes the solution to the customer including prices, payment and delivery terms. The configurator can change and check the quote several times in the course of the sales process until the order is placed. When it concerns new constellations the order may need to be approved again, which is enabled by the integrated approval workflow. This guarantees that all changes are correct in terms of content and price and that they have been approved.
As soon as the order has been placed, the parts list and routing can be directly generated by the configurator and converted into a production order within the ERP system. Alternatively, configuration data and parameter values can be transferred to the ERP system for further processing within the ERP configurator. In this way, the entire process is supported, accelerated and secured by standard software.
FunctionalitiesThe sales staff is supported by a range of functions that an ERP configurator is, by nature, unable to offer or can only offer with great difficulty. For instance, quotes can be prepared online, offline and via web access. The integration of partners and customers is also easily realized. The embedding of CAD drawings and images is accomplished as perfectly as the visually appealing design of a quote report.
Sofon Guided Solutions goes one step furtherWith Sofon Guided Solutions the staff can also start the configuration in the form of a concept sketch. Thus, together with the customer the sales staff can create a digital concept sketch that serves as the starting point for a further quote configuration and individualization of components.
In addition, Sofon offers the Guided Selling principle, meaning the technical and commercial models of a configuration can be separated from each other so that configuration issues can be handled in a sales-oriented, demand-based and simple manner.
Read more at http://www.sofon.com/de/solutions.html.
Michael Rohn is Sales Executive at Sofon – supplier of sales support software. Due to his close contact with the customers he knows the exact areas of improvements in the sales and quote processes of companies that offer customer-specific products and services.
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