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Customization with CAD Automation and CPQ

Product customization is a critical selling point for many manufacturers to attract new prospects and increase the final deal size. Offering custom products is important, but is it possible that customization can take too many resources and in the end cost manufacturers money?  That being said many manufacturers have started looking into CAD automation and CPQ to solve these challenges and create new opportunities.

What is CAD automation and CPQ?

Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ Software) is a sales tool that helps companies produce 100% accurate pricing and quotes for highly configurable products. CPQ helps drive revenue growth by making it simpler, and faster to sell complex products. Improve efficiency with CPQ by automating processes and eliminating errors.  

Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Automation is the use of tools and technology to automate manual, administrative tasks. This adds value by promoting innovation for your engineers while helping your sales team provide accurate product drawings.  

What are common challenges for customization without CAD automation and CPQ?

Generating and providing CAD files early in the sales process for highly customizable eliminates costly errors, ensuring reliability to the customer and promoting trust. But generating CAD files for every product requires costly engineering hours, stalling your sales process, and increasing your cost.

Addressing these challenges

Extending Tacton CPQ capabilities with CAD automation will streamline your sales process. Empower customers, partners, and sales reps to generate accurate 2D and 3D CAD files instantly for product variants – even during the early phases of the buying journey.

Check out how other manufacturers are dealing with automation goals in 2021 in our latest survey

What are some key use cases? 

  • Maximize your CAD investment, by connecting it to configure-to-order work processes
  • Create customer confidence early in the sales process while translating customer requirements into a technically viable product
  • Share a wide range of commonly used CAD file formats, both 2D and 3D, with your customer, sales partner, or other parties that need to verify your configured product’s compatibility

A quick history of manufacturing customization 

In the not-so-distant past manufacturing products were limited offered in a catalog that had a few options that could be mass-produced quickly. If someone wanted to purchase something custom their hopes were usually dashed quickly and replaced with a base model of the product. Without custom demands, manufacturers were able to balance costs quickly and easily.  

Those demands have quickly changed, customers want every product to be custom and they want it fast. Amazon, Nike, and other retailers have made it necessary to create a custom order for almost any product. Manufacturers must find strategies for mass customization while maintaining costs but also creating some control of the customization. With CPQ and CAD Automation it’s possible to do that. Let’s look at how.  

Engineer to Order Manufacturing  

Engineer to Order (ETO) manufacturing is the process of creating a product, or part of a product, that is completely custom with input from customers. ETO has helped breed innovation and collaboration but is also a daunting task that requires a lot of work for your sales and engineering teams.  

ETO requires significant lead time to acquire parts that may not be provided by the manufacturer or the partner selling the product. How companies use their machine configurations can even impact the bottom line when creating custom products. This one-of-a-kind process can become truly cumbersome without some help. Utilizing CPQ and CAD automation can help simplify this process. 

Defining customization  

Simply put, what is custom? It’s a feeling your customers get when they put the product together right in front of their eyes, one feature may be custom to you, but not to them. Your sales team is the first to interact with a prospect, creating a custom experience is important. But overpromising can lead to misconfigurations or products that can’t be made by your engineering team.  

With CPQ it’s easier than ever to provide that feeling without leading to misconfigurations. With the flexibility to customize the product within a given spectrum, can let the customer get a custom, a tailored solution without jeopardizing the functionality.  This can be done without adding every possible variation of the product as part of the configuration.  

With CPQ to gather the requirements and CAD automation to generating the CAD model, the customer will get the feeling of a custom product while it’s controlled by the configuration. The customer feels their needs are met, and you know that you can promise a solution that is possible to manufacture. 

Where to next? 

With customization at an all-time high, it’s important to find solutions that enable you to create customized products, while also not dedicating all your employees’ hours to it. CAD automation and CPQ are two ways to let manufacturers create custom products but with a level of control. Read more on our CAD automation product page or schedule your personalized demo today!

Author: Michael Brassea