ERP best practices for engineer-to-order and complex manufacturers

November 6, 2018

During a recent webinar, experts from Infor and Ultra Consultants convened to discuss the challenges facing today’s engineer-to-order and configure-to-order businesses and strategies to address those challenges with an integrated configure price quote (CPQ) solution.

Presenters shared some of the typical pain points companies in this segment are experiencing, including:

  • Coordinating the efforts of multiple departments – In many enterprises, components of the configuration, pricing, and quoting processes occur in different departments with little coordination to ensure a smooth and seamless experience for the customer.
  • Process bottlenecks – To ensure the production viability of a particular product configuration, sales and marketing often need to involve the engineering team, which adds to the time required to generate a quote.
  • Slow response rates – Customers can grow frustrated at the extended periods between requesting a quote and receiving the result.

While CPQ technology is specifically designed with these challenges in mind, the lack of integration between CPQ and key ERP systems compounds the problems companies are facing. Because CPQ and ERP systems are often separate, companies tend to duplicate effort related to quote generation, especially in scenarios of change requests and special orders.

The lack of integration can lead to a tremendously complex environment and inefficient workarounds to ensure accurate quote generation. This complexity can grow when a company collaborates with external partners on design. Disparities between systems become barriers to the inter-company communications needed for updates and approvals. Also, when multiple, disparate systems are involved in quote generation, the work required to maintain the environment and ensure the timely exchange of information can lead to escalating costs.

Showcasing an integrated approach to CPQ

The session also showcased Infor’s integrated CPQ solution, which is designed and purpose-built to help companies overcome these challenges.

Infor’s integrated approach results in a solution that coordinates all of the disciplines and specializations within the enterprise that are involved in quote generation, including sales, marketing, engineering, and manufacturing. By breaking down organizational silos as the quoting process crosses departmental boundaries, Infor’s solution improves collaboration (including with external partners) and delivers a more seamless experience for the customer.

Infor CPQ alleviates the difficulties that can occur when customers request changes midstream in the quoting process. Manufacturers and dealers can access the same system to collaborate on orders and changes. The system automatically updates pricing, manufacturing specifications, and the associated bills of materials required to fulfill an order. If an order requires review by engineering, customer service, or manufacturing personnel, the predefined workflow ensures that the right people are notified and that the review process doesn’t impede the timely production of the quote. Not only does this help deliver the quote to the customer sooner, it also catches any configuration errors that could affect the quality of the order and ultimately hurt customer satisfaction.

Finally, the discussion touched on how Infor CPQ is designed to work with other systems recognizing that creating a smoother quoting experience for the customer requires collaborating with companies that use other platforms. Infor built its CPQ solution to work with systems from Microsoft, Salesforce, Autodesk, SAP, Oracle, and many others. This technology agnostic approach to integration helps ensure that companies have the flexibility they need to collaborate with partners and other companies in making their configure-price-quote process a competitive differentiator and a driver of long-term customer satisfaction — regardless of the different platforms that those companies rely on.

Take the first step to close complex sales faster and watch the on-demand replay of the webinar and demo here.

  • Distribution
  • Industrial Manufacturing
  • CloudSuite Automotive
  • Infor CPQ
  • Customer Experience Suite
  • EMEA
  • North America
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