The Importance of Purpose-Built Configurators for Mechanical Equipment Manufacturers

In the “Our Experts Answer” series, our experts chime in on both the common and tough questions people want answers to regarding Selectors, CPQ tools and the lead-to-order process.

When it comes to the configuration part of the SCPQ process, it’s important that the solution provider you choose understands your industry, the equipment you manufacture and sell, and how you sell to the market. Here are some things to look for when assessing if a CPQ solution caters to the needs of your mechanical equipment manufacturing business.

Industry-Specific Requirements Baked In

The CPQ solutions that will best serve you will have your industry-specific requirements, rules options, and relationships baked into the configurator itself. This means that once you’ve gone through the selection process, you’ll be able to take the selected product and fit it into a broader solution.

In other words, the configurator should have all or many of the presets and rules baked in, offering you a templated structure to get you up and running faster. For example, let’s say you’re a pump manufacturer. The configurator you choose should have the standard ~700 types of fluid possibilities built into its platform’s configuration settings. And if it doesn’t have the specific fluid types you need in its presets, it should be able to easily accommodate them with minimal customization.

A Tightly Integrated Selector and Configurator

Speaking of selection, the selector and configurator need to be tightly integrated. In fact, it’s best if they’re a part of the same solution, not separate ones that have been stitched together. This will save you an enormous headache down the line. That’s because most vendors sell a Selector or a Configurator, but not both, meaning the burden is on you—the customer—to integrate those two solutions, equaling more time and more money, not to mention pieces of a puzzle that don’t fit together as perfectly as they should.

Enabling Collaborative Solution Configuration

The configurator itself should accommodate the various user types (resellers, direct sales, distributors, customers, etc.) and also be very easy to use. All users should be able to select and configure quickly and easily using the guidance from the tool, without having to worry about configuring something that’s unbuildable because the rules and logic are already baked in.

This allows everyone the ability to configure quickly while staying within the guardrails, generating price sheets and other documents and data sets easily without having to create these assets themselves. They can also generate quotes, because pricing is managed and updated as they configure with approval flows built-in as part of the process.

Changes Reflected in Real Time

When you’re configuring something, all changes should be reflected across the bill of materials. That’s because one small change can, and often does, have implications for the rest of the configuration. When using spreadsheets or other tools to build and price a solution, data entry errors that compromise the order often go unnoticed until much further along in the process, resulting in delays and additional costs to make it right. With rules and relationships built-in—and updates reflected automatically in real time—you can be confident that when you go to execute, everything will still work as it should.

Ultimately, the solution you choose should meet most of your requirements right off the shelf and be able to accommodate any customizations relatively easily by following a templated and prescriptive approach.

At FPX, this is our promise.

Not only can we help you improve your Select-Configure-Price-Quote process with our out-of-the-box offering, we’ll partner with you as we continuously enhance and improve our solution to meet the demands of the industry. That’s because with decades of experience and a team of professionals, we keep our finger on the pulse of where the industry is going, continuously evolving alongside it by prioritizing advancements in our visual renderings capabilities and more.

Trygve Dahl, Ph.D. P.E.

Trygve Dahl, Ph.D. P.E.

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