Tilbox: "The first steps in production are made in the office"

“What characterizes Tilbox? … To think just a bit differently, and fix our gaze at growth. Customers know to find us for commissions that other manufacturers would shy away from. We achieve this by working smarter. And not necessarily working more.”, Willem Swinkels (R&D Engineer / System designer at Tilbox) explains. And working smarter is especially important these days. Where you can eliminate long-term contact, to run through the entire business process as fast as possible, from prospect to after sales. This is what manufacturing businesses require today, and what the market urgently asks for. And within Tilbox’s walls ‘smarter working’ has existed for years: “The idea of a product configurator has been around for a long time. Previously we even used to use Excel as internal calculation tool, also a kind of configurator. Excel, however, has reasonable limitations and does not link business processes. And that is what today’s market asks for.” After an intensive comparison trajectory the implementation of Elfsquad Product Configurator started. And after more than a year of utilizing the product configurator it is time to look back at a successful collaboration.

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Where in the past we would get stuck in lengthy sales trajectories, we now go through them in mere minutes after implementing Elfsquad. Customers used to order complex calculations or complicated pricelists. This requires both waiting- and labor time. Which are reduced enormously through a product configurator that integrates directly with your infrastructure.
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Willem Swinkels
Design Engineer

With its extraordinary approach, Tilbox is positively an odd duck in the bodywork market. Tilbox is completely involved with its delivery of trucks and trailers, from A to Z. From sales, engineering, production, delivery, to after sales. Tilbox offers a total solution, and has been doing so for over 25 years. From one-man jobs in an old shed, to a big fish within the national- and international market. Tilbox has experienced the dream history of many businesses. We talked to Willem Swinkels to take a look at how and where Elfsquad Product Configurator unburdens Tilbox’s processes.

Many of our international clients can now configure our product remotely. This is quickly checked and then the follow up of production can begin. The reins are handed to the customer, they make the decision. The only thing left to do then is to check it.

Tilbox’s search

“What was of utmost importance to Tilbox, is moving towards more internal professionality and expansion of external possibilities. In other words, expanding upon the use of a configurator. And in turn offering this to customers and dealers, among other things.”, Swinkels explains. And looking at promising configuration software was not the only affair going on. There was also the search for licensing structure: “We cannot expect all of our customers to buy a configurator, this does not weigh out against the costs of the toolboxes themselves. Which is why we looked for a party using a licensing structure. Through which we can provide customers with their own licenses to use our configurator.” And after a new ERP implementation, integrating with the current company software was of high priority. After checking all boxes implementation of Elfsquad Product Configurator began.

What Tilbox ran into

Tilbox’s product range consists of two extremes and everything in between. Swinkels: “Besides customization, we also offer standardized products. However, our customers very often ask for additional functions. This means that nearly everything within our product range must be possible.” For Tilbox, this resulted in their product range being extremely complex: “It may seem simple to produce containers, until you really begin creating them. Sales in the enormous product range, the engineering wherein everything must be possible, the bigger picture consists of much more than building a container. And in our market every minute counts.”

The customer’s demands do not only show in the possibilities in the catalog:
Tilbox, too, notices that customers often have a wish, but do not actually know what they need. This causes ambiguity and long-term back and forth contact about pending quotations. Because customers often do not really have an idea about the price: “Only when the truck is produced, storage boxes appear in the picture. At the end of the list. You would not want to wait weeks for the remaining parts. As such, everything must be delivered as soon as possible and the price still has not been brought up.”

Working with Elfsquad Configure-to-order

By working configure-to-order, Tilbox has eliminated all of the aforementioned obstacles. By zooming out on the product range, identifying the modules and building this product logic within Elfsquad, Tilbox has shifted to working configure-to-order. And all obstacles have become Tilbox’s most important USP’s. “We have standardized modules within our products. So in fact, we work configure-to-order. Where we can give standard products personalized functions. And where customized production has pretty much become standard production.” By constructing the product range from fixed building blocks, the range is solid as a rock. It is impossible to make errors during composition. As such, Tilbox can grant its customers a lot of space, with a direct price calculation and guaranteed quick delivery.

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Additionally, Tilbox’s large (international) dealer network is supported by the configurator. This way it becomes increasingly easier to reach international customers. And the personal striving for innovation goes hand in hand with international growth.

The first steps in production are made in the office

Swinkels: “What used to be long sales trajectories in the past have become a matter of minutes after implementing Elfsquad. Customers used to ask for complex calculations or complicated price lists. This makes for both increased labor time and wait time. This is reduced enormously by a product configurator.” Tilbox allows customers to make their own orders and quotations, since the chance of error is eliminated. This saves a lot of contact with customers, both personally and telephonically.

By using a configurator Tilbox’s primary processes are closely linked: “First of all our outside sales employees can work closely with the in-house sales employees. Because remote sales are possible, as proven by our international customers being able to configure our product by themselves. This is quickly checked, and then production follow-up can begin. The reins are handed to the customer, they make the decision. The only thing left to do then is to check it.” By integrating Elfsquad and ERP, the bill of materials is directly synchronized. As such the planning in the production department also gets a move on. Additionally, a connection to CAD makes for a drastic reduction in engineering’s run time. By automating all of these activities within the pre-production process Tilbox practically sets production in motion from the office.

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Elfsquad in the world of Tilbox

Aside from sales and production Tilbox is also utilizing the product configurator in the marketing area. Through the possibility within Elfsquad’s configurator to create a custom interface, giving it their own flair, Tilbox has made the software their own. The ‘Elfsquad Product Configurator has been made into the ‘Tilsmart configurator’. And this is happily put to use: “We consider the Tilsmart configurator as a big distinction on the market. And the outside world is very welcome to observe our innovation drive.”, Swinkels explains.

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No more pre-production nightmares

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.

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