CPQ and the new industry standards
You’ve heard the buzz. You’ve read the blogs. And you know that Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things are going to fast-track industrial manufacturing to a new level. But what do these new paradigms have to do with CPQ software?
The big strategic partners and system integrators like McKinsey, PwC, CapGemini and others are now all talking about transforming business processes to leverage the new technologies and increase speed, efficiency, reliability and flexibility, not only to benefit the company but to meet the customer’s ever-changing needs.
Adapting to mass customization
Technology is not the answer to all questions. It’s what technology can enable and enhance that should support technology investment decisions. Today, technology can help us understand and map customer requirements, from the early design stages of the product to the offering and through to delivery – throughout the entire lifecycle. This is made possible by the Internet of Things.
Monitoring throughout the factory to the installation, together with big data processing, not only offer a way to understand customer and application requirements better. They offer a way to better understand what to develop and how the customer and business segment requirements change over time. The digitization of the economy and presentation of alternatives is changing, and companies must adapt. Your company must adapt, too.
Complex configurations, simple selling
With this new paradigm, as machines get smarter you’ll need a smarter way to sell them. Presenting the product is not about showing the technical requirements in detail. Products simply must fit specific customer needs, and the customer must be able to quickly grasp and see that its needs are being met. So, the entire company must understand the benefits – and work towards this goal. This is what the bigger system integrators are talking about when they encourage companies to transform. Successful companies will reap what they sow: streamlined business and production to meet the new market criteria. For example, customers have got to know whether what they are being offered is a standard off-the-shelf product or custom built for specific needs. Companies must assess their customers’ requirements and see how they fit into the context of the business. This isn’t new. Just take IKEA: the customer need for flat packages developed into an entire business model.
Now the focus is on using computers to achieve a more in-depth understanding. Evaluating the available technologies and how they can be used to further broaden product development is a must. All this streamlining of the organization must be concentrated and presented in the best possible way to the customer.
If you’re using a product configurator that lets users consistently work in an environment that they can’t fail in, offering only valid solutions for the choices they make, in an optimized solution space, then you’ve built a solid foundation for customer satisfaction. Combine this with a platform available to support dynamic document generation, price management and quotation workflow, and you possess the tools to change your business offering and increase opportunities.