Blog Courtesy of CINCOM | April 2, 2019
Price-and-quote software helps manufacturers and distributors address many challenges including product complexity, regulatory requirements, global competition, supply-chain volatility and skilled labor shortages.
Not only are these challenges mitigated, in many instances, the best Configure Price Quote software delivers a decided competitive edge to the using enterprise. This edge is evidenced by increased selling velocity, decreased time to market, a better customer experience and, ultimately, higher customer satisfaction.
Additional features commonly found in many of the best pricing and quoting systems raise the level of benefit realized by several orders of magnitude. These include automated proposal generation, estimating software, configuration technology and quotation-management software.
All of this functionality requires more than a nice front end or operational shell in order to successfully deliver the many benefits promised. Two key ingredients are a guided-selling-driven architecture and interactive connectivity with the appropriate back-office systems within the enterprise.
Guided-selling quoting and ordering software drives the customer input process to ensure that the effective configuration of a product solution aligns with that customer’s needs. Back-office connectivity ensures that all data and information across the enterprise is secure, current and accurate.
The impact of configuration pricing and quoting software (CPQ) varies by vertical market. All manufacturers benefit from accurate inventory status and increased supply-chain visibility. But today, let’s take a quick look at how some specific CPQ benefits address the challenges felt by a few specific industries.
Mass customization, while maintaining the economics of mass production found in repetitive manufacturing shops, is the ongoing goal of almost any advanced manufacturing operation. Industries like HVAC operate in not only the repetitive home-based marketplace but also in the near-custom or contract market of large residential and commercial centralized HVAC systems.
HVAC sales reps can benefit from robust mechanical-estimating capabilities that are available through HVAC-R sales quote software during the configuration of climate control systems for larger homes and commercial buildings.
Industrial equipment, medical and electronics, specialty vehicle and HVAC-R sales proposal software ensure that the complex product and requirements addressed within those industries are properly represented during sales presentations and formal proposals.
The ability to operate globally is critical to manufacturers of high-tech, complex products. Localization in terms of pricing, product content and regulatory requirements are universal challenges for HVAC, industrial equipment, electronics, specialty vehicles and power-generation manufacturers.
Buyers will expect and demand accurate, comprehensive quotes that demonstrate compliance and conformance by documenting the responsive consideration of any local requirements within any quotation or proposal generated.
For the seller, a business-rules-driven configuration process ensures that the product being configured will meet all localized requirements in terms of product content, regulatory controls and pricing.
Medical and high-tech manufacturers especially, as well as industrial-equipment makers are sensitive to rapid development and productization of new solutions. Obsolescence is inevitable for almost any product, and the ability to stay ahead of the market and deliver tomorrow’s solution today is how success is realized.
Price and quote software products offer faster time to market for new products by speeding up sales training and sharing expert knowledge during the product-development and rollout phase.
Much of the rapid rollout burden rests on the effectiveness of the sales force involved. CPQ technology mitigates this by embedding much of the expert knowledge requirement and complex pricing within the guided-selling elements of the solution. Rote memorization of product specs and complex pricing are handled within the AI-driven configuration and pricing elements of the cost-estimating software.
For complex product manufacturers, the ability to extend the application of a product across multiple markets delivers economies of scale, boosts the market scope and increases the revenue potential of the product by eliminating the need to build out totally unique solutions for each niche.
Complex products are frequently adapted to many variable end-usage scenarios. These will employ many common parts, sub-assemblies and assemblies that are tweaked in response to the specific usage requirement cited by the customer.
By example, high prices and low volumes are the challenges found within the specialty-vehicle market. The industry and its customers benefit from the ability to utilize common vehicle chassis and drivetrain components for a wide variety of end uses. Sanitation trucks, firetrucks and construction vehicles may be built around the same basic product.
Quoting software for manufacturing supports and enables the use of common parts and assemblies within the configured content of multiple products.
Quote management systems help companies maintain historical records of specifics related to previous configurations, products sold or proposals made. These can serve as a record of how specific challenges were answered and how successful the solution was relative to the problem addressed.
Additionally, quotation records are useful when revisiting previous quotes and proposals with returning customers and prospects. It is human nature to remember the lowest price quoted, and it is helpful to be able to establish exactly what the “lowest” price covered.
This also applies in areas that involve rapid technological development such as electronics, high-tech and medical devices or even in the industrial-equipment space. Last year’s lower price quote may have been based on now obsolete technology. Bigger, faster, better almost always justifies a higher price.
Large, complex products are frequently purchased as a part of a large project. Commercial HVAC, industrial equipment, power generation and electronics products may be acquired to complete the build-out of newly constructed production facilities, hospitals, laboratories and similar projects.
Quoting and estimating projects in this market involve more than tossing out a number. Specifics related to the technologies involved, the regulatory considerations at the time and other rapidly changing elements must be easy to establish for any quotation or proposal offered.
For instance, commercial HVAC is typically more customized and tailored to the specific building design, location and ambient climatic conditions involved. Commercial HVAC leans toward the contract-manufacturing end of the spectrum. A building constructed for Minneapolis may be identical to a building going up in Tucson. However, the HVAC requirements for each will be different due to the different local climatic conditions.
Regardless of what market you are addressing within your enterprise, price and quote solutions can help you achieve success faster and serve your customers better.
VIRTUAL CONFERENCE: FEBRUARY 23RD | 11AM - 12PM PST