Author: Rick Roberts
What are Variant and Advanced Variant Configurators?
Variant Configurator (VC), and Advanced Variant Configurator (AVC), are powerful tools that are most typically used when manufacturing complex products. Think about all the parts that go into making a jet engine. Every nut, bolt, and inch of wire needs to be accounted for, compatible with each other, and meet specific needs like stress or heat tolerance. Prior to Variant Configuration, it was some poor souls’ job to suffer flipping through a thick manual, looking up part numbers, and cross referencing each in order to be sure the complex product would be built to the correct specifications. We’ve all taken much longer to build a dresser or piece of exercise equipment than we’d like to admit; Imagine how frustrating it would be if you had to flip through that manual to build the jet engine mentioned before. Variant Configuration is able to dramatically increase a manufacturer’s productivity by greatly simplifying and expediting this process.
You may be wondering how VC and AVC differ from each other. Think of AVC as VC 2.0. The irony of VC and AVC is that, while these back-office solutions are able to greatly simplify the manufacturing process of complex products, they are by nature complex themselves, and therefore not user friendly. It goes without saying, you want your sales reps to spend most of their time selling, and as little time learning the ins-and outs of a new software as possible. The more quotes out versus scrolling through a software, the more chances of closing deals.
How do you bridge the User-Interface/Experience Gap?
The answer is Configure, Price, and Quote software, better known as CPQ. This software is nothing new, and is used much more extensively than you might think. Have you ever gone online and ordered a pizza? You may not have realized it, but when you selected your toppings and were given a quote in real-time, you were using CPQ software. CPQ is a user friendly front-end solution, and in the case of manufacturing, is often integrated to a back-end solution like VC. CPQ allows for reps to talk to prospects and understand their needs in a more visually appealing way while CPQ talks to VC and understands what will be necessary to create a complex product. Then, CPQ produces a quote for the rep to send over to their prospective customer. It shaves hours off of the entire process, and the rep moves on to the next sale.
Watch this video to learn how SAP CPQ increased a company’s revenue 40% and met the needs of multiple stakeholders. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwV9y5pf9tw]
What does this key integration mean for stakeholders?
While many manufacturers are leveraging and befitting from a VC solution, they are not addressing the UI gap without a CPQ solution. In today’s world, the buying process revolves entirely around the customer experience, and while tech has been able to eliminate the ten pound manual for reps, organizations must prioritize the collective experiences along their customer journey - and replicate the most positive ones. Waiting days for a quote is a deal breaker, literally. Reps will lose sales if a comparable manufacturer is able to move more quickly. Manufacturers have multiple stakeholders; sales reps and customers are only a couple. Together VC and CPQ are able to create a much more seamless sales process, as well as uplift the customer experience. If you’d like to learn more about VC and CPQ, visit www.canidium.com, or click the button below!
Canidium has implemented and completed integrations between SAP CPQ and SAP VC, as well as with multiple ERP solutions.