Your quoting expenses per order are high because your quoting procedure is time-consuming. Putting a quote together requires lots of coordination between sales, engineering, finance, logistics, and production. And once the quotes are confirmed as orders, you still have to coordinate everything. Most of your margin is eaten away by the mounting hours required for coordination. And let’s not forget the costs caused by errors: a transport that was not arranged correctly, a lack of clarity about insurance costs which meant that you ended up paying for it, the delivery of an incorrect product, or a delay during the installation, production conditions that needed sorting which meant that you needed to find storage quickly. Expenses, delays, and bickering with customers about who pays for extra man-hours: none of this is conducive to good relationships. But some customers seem to be less worried about their relationship with you. You have had a number of claims related to the performance of your products. Customers had expected more from them – and had built their business case on that. And that hurt. Everything seemed to get out of hand. It’s not easy to get a grip on matters such as this if you are a company that works to customers’ orders.
With Sofon, you can create professional, convincing, and comprehensible quotes without any problems, providing customers with an overall solution that is 100% reliable and meets all of their wishes and requirements. And you can do it quickly too! It means that a quote can be generated in minutes or hours rather than days and weeks.
The solution describes all the product options, customer requirements, technical and financial calculations, the price (breakdown), and any other relevant aspects. What about the method used for implementation, the means of delivery, the delivery date, who is responsible for the transport, the necessary production conditions, arrangements about insurance, guarantee stipulations, payment instalments, the method of payment, and so on?
In addition, the solution will automatically be applied to the specifications for your plant. And you won’t need extensive talks between Sales and the underlying divisions to arrange it.
Your source is the knowledge model that you have drawn up in Sofon (configuration management). In that model, you describe a coherent visualization of all your product options, together with their specifications, the applicable legislation and regulations, prices, and relevant stipulations. That knowledge can be accessed at a central point, which means it is available to your sales people – including your partners’ and resellers’ sales staff – who can use that knowledge to prepare quotes and contracts using the smart questions you have also recorded in Sofon. Those questions are formulated to include all possible applications of your product because you know your market.
Every choice generates a piece of the text for the quote. As a result, quotes are always structured so that the customer can understand it and judge whether the solution meets their needs.
By introducing smart processes, you can improve all the other aspects of solution definition, as well as your solution design: needs analysis, requirements management, calculations, special request definition, and visualization.