Once you’ve chosen Elfsquad, the real work begins. You have already thought about how to make products modular, but another important step is to think about how to put the product structure in Elfsquad. This is not difficult, but does require some preparation. In this blog, you can read which steps we take together to get your product structure in our CPQ software. We prefer to do this product by product, so that you encounter all the challenges first, which allows the whole process to go much faster afterwards.
You may wonder why you should think about your product structure before we set up Elfsquad. The answer is simple: you save a lot of time. At Ufkes Greentec they had already built their products modularly and the product structure had already been thought out. This allowed them to build their models in just two weeks.
It took us two weeks to build our products in Elfsquad. After two weeks, the software was ready to use for our dealers and our sales team, so that quotations can even be done on the road.Piet Yntema, C.E.O. at Ufkes Greentec
Determining the product structure often involves a lot of internal discussions, which can be done without our help. Moreover, the responsibility of decision-making usually does not lie with the person who is internally involved in the design of Elfsquad. Therefore, if you already think about the product structure before implementation, then the implementation will go much faster and you will reap the benefits sooner.
If your products have a modular structure, you know which parts they consist of. In principle, all options end up in your product structure, but not everything has to be included in your model. Ultimately, you only include what is relevant for the customer or what influences the price. If we take the configuration of a car as an example, then your customer would like to be able to choose the rims, but it does not matter much to him which nuts and bolts you use to attach them.
When you are determining your product structure, one first needs to think about which products should be in the configurator and which choices should be made in the configuration. What is extremely important here is the coherence between the different options. For example, if your customer opts for a conveyor belt of more than 5 meters, then at least 3 legs must be fitted underneath. By capturing these dependencies, we ensure that customers cannot create configurations that cannot be built. If you also need calculations when configuring your products, you should already be thinking about it. If you want to make things really fun in addition to normal Excel formulas, you can even add the most complex calculations from external tools to Elfsquad. Here you will find more about this topic.
In practically all cases, your configurator should ensure more sales. The flat product structure as you have it so far is not yet suitable for this: we have to commercialize everything and make it more user-friendly. This can be done in many ways.
For example, we can add texts to explain an option, or you can add a PDF with product specifications in which you can go into further detail. But one of the best ways to sell more is by adding images. This means also adding enlarged images of the chosen options instead of just showing pictures of the product as a whole. This not only appeals to the imagination but also ensures that you do not have to endlessly email back and forth with a customer about all kinds of options. The ultimate goal, of course, is that Elfsquad users can configure their product without assistance.
Ultimately, your configurator must also be able to show the price of a configuration. That is why it is important that you also think about the price structure. If you’re lucky, the price of an option is very clear, as you see with cars, for example, the cruise control just costs a few hundred euros extra. This is often slightly more complex in the manufacturing industry, but basically no different.
Make sure that you ask your customer the right questions in the configurator. Simply put: ask him only about the things that influence the price, and do it in a way that it is understandable. Even if complicated price calculations are required, your customer does not need to see this, we do that in the background.
Once you’ve thought about the topics above, the structure is in place and you can think about what’s next. An important topic is what role Elfsquad plays within your business processes. On the one hand, this is important because in Elfsquad you can immediately take into account links that can be added later. On top of that it is also important because the right people will soon have to start working with it, who are currently working in all different kinds of systems.
This also brings us to the next point: an extensive internal test phase. By first testing the CPQ software internally, you will find out in time whether there are errors in the formulas, or whether the output is not what you expected. From our experience we are able to conclude that the fastest way to achieve error-free configurations is by testing product by product. By going down this path you always go through the complete process and you quickly discover where things might go wrong.
Speaking of the output of your configurator, that is also not unimportant. Do you want Elfsquad to make a quotation document, an order confirmation, a brochure or product specification documents? Everything is possible, but obviously it must be well designed. The addition of 2D or 3D visualizations is also a matter to be reviewed.
Finally, you are talking about the way of unlocking. We see that many of our customers use the CPQ software internally for a few months first, and then start looking to connect the dealer channel or end-users. A different order is possible too, but it just depends on what your exact goal is.
Implementing and configuring Elfsquad is of course not something you have to do yourself, we are happy to help you with that. Do you have questions about how to arrive at a product structure or price structure, or do you want to ask other questions? Please feel free to contact us, we will be happy to tell you more about it!
Elfsquad removes all worries from your pre-production process. With Elfsquad as backbone, we realize the digital factory that smart industries have been trying to find for so long. We do this through a product configurator, with integrated solutions for marketing, sales, and operations.
Let us know what you think.