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Solution design

Your situation

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.

The solution

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.

The advantages for you

  • You will always deliver products that meet your customers’ expectations.
  • Your production personnel will not need to check the facts or make the calculations. They will always know what they should be manufacturing and that will enable you to make your production process repeatable.
  • You have a greater chance of succeeding because you can cancel out the risks for the customer with a complete solution definition. You can explain why your product meets the customer’s demands and substantiate your reasons. That will inspire confidence in you. Customers are inclined to be persuaded by that than by a sum of all the product parts. In the latter case, the customers should judge for themselves and assume the responsibility for deciding whether the product will suffice.
  • Clear quotes that cover everything will mean that you can avoid excessive costs due to claims, the costs of remedying the situations, and unhappy customers or prospects taking their business elsewhere.
  • Your sales staff can produce high-quality, complete, and reliable quotes without much effort, which will save them a lot of time and enable them to help more customers.
  • You will have a stronger position in negotiations because you can explain why the customer needs the more expensive product and why a cheaper version will not do what the customer thinks it will. All of this will generate greater turnover and you will also have an advantage over your competition that try to lure your customer away with cheaper solutions.
  • By using the knowledge model you have recorded, you can ensure that your quotes will be as lucrative as possible and stay that way.

This may also interest you

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.