Searching for the optimal solution
There are always different ways of solving a problem and even though a problem has been solved, there is always room for improvement. Still, we often think of a problem as ”solved” and move on without thinking of it further, because we have other things to do.
Let me tell you a interesting example of this that has been circulating our lunch room for years. The story has been around for so long that it has been probably been ”improved” along the years but it goes something like this:
A salesman at Tacton calls a prospective customer in the med tech-industry in order to discuss our CPQ solution. As you know by now, our CPQ solution aims at reducing order error rates so our salesman wanted to know if they were interested in our solution. The discussion went something like this.
Salesman: I understand you do not have any CPQ solution in place at the moment. Do you have any issues with order errors?
Customer: No, none at all actually. We are proud to have a near zero order error rate our last year.
Salesman (curiously): Wow, that is excellent, how are you solving this difﬁcult issue?
Customer: Well, we realized order errors was costing us a lot of money, in production and at the claims department, so the company put together a Order Quality Assurance team who solved the problem with order errors.
Salesman: Great, so how did the team solve the problem?
Customer (proudly): The Order Quality Assurance team is a group of 15 people who go through each order manually. They have a system in place to make sure each order is reviewed by two different people - this way we make sure we deliver every time without any order errors. So, I am sorry, I don’t think your solution is suitable for us as we don’t have any order error issues.
Salesman: I understand, how much does the Order Quality Assurance team cost the company each year?
Customer: I am not sure, it falls under our service budget!
There are many ways to solve a problem and I guess this particular customer had found a way worked for them. They were probably even saving money compared to delivering faulty products. Not being aware of any other solution, they were trying to perfect the solution they had in place without seeing the need for any other solution.
As the salesman later convinced the customer, the Tacton CPQ solution does not only reduce error rates but also do this without any manual interference. Another major beneﬁt here, outside of reducing the cost for 15 people, is that order processing could be done much faster as it did not have to go through this manual reviewing.
Companies that are used to manually review their orders are sometimes suspicious of handing this job over ”to computers” assuming there is a need for a person with know-how and experience to solve this problem. It is usually a very revolutionizing experience for them when they ﬁnd out there is, in fact, a logical system in this know-how that can be translated into computerized CPQ-models if you just dig deep enough.