What is a Product Configurator and its advantages?

Posted by Jonathan Davies on 10 Jun


A product configurator is a digital manufacturing tool that allows customers to build their bespoke product. It enables them to create custom orders to change a product’s colour, materials, features, accessories, etc.

It is used across different industries and helps companies avoid costly errors during manufacturing. Instead of manually creating quotes and specifications, this tool translates the sales order automatically into a production BoM, using one centralised system. There are many different types in the market, it is crucial the one selected fit your company needs, so here is everything you need to know about this important tool.

Types of product configurator software

Most products are customisable, but when picking a product configurator for your company, you must consider the functionality of your products plus their technical feasibility. Here are the most popular types of product configurators available in the market today.

Knowledge-based engineering solutions (KBE)

KBE solutions tend to be used by engineering companies that design and build large, complex equipment. They handle engineer-to-order (ETO), assembly-to-order (ATO) and configure-to-order (CTO) rules. They are suitable for companies that want to address the engineering part of their process.

ERP configurator modules 

These product configurator modules provide manufacturers with valuable data that can be used to improve downstream processes. Some have limited rule-capture capabilities and can only handle CTO and ATO rules, making them only suitable for a certain level of product complexity. When you're choosing between which product configurators, ask the provider to demonstrate how it would work with your product.

Product visualisation solutions 

Visual product configuration is quickly becoming a baseline expectation when selling to consumers. It allows buyers to select options and get immediate results as they build out a 2D or 3D space product. Often this is linked to an eCommerce site, where customers can make their customisations and then order.

Benefits of a product configurator 

Reduced lead time 

A product configurator automates the quote-to-production process, reducing the time taken by customers to create quotes and the production process itself. Since all the information required to process an order is captured, it will reduce the risk of having to go back to your sales representatives to track down information.

Increased efficiency

A product configurator enables customers to be more self-sufficient, therefore, allowing your support personnel to focus on much more complex problems. Instead of spending their time on paperwork, your salespersons can spend more time talking to potential customers. Accurate quotations lead to fewer queries, and this helps reduce your customer service departments workload.

Eliminates reworks 

Complex products have complex pricing and complex configurations, therefore increasing the risk for human errors. Product configuration software significantly reduces the potential for these errors by pre-defining rules that create accurate pricing and valid combinations. This will help you save money and time by ensuring customers get the right products.

Integrates with third-party software 

If you are already using other software in your manufacturing and sales process, much standalone product configurator software integrates easily with other third-party software and even an eCommerce platform. An added benefit of adding a configurator into your eCommerce platform is that it also allows you to manage your inventory and stock lines.

However, many manufacturing ERP systems now have a built-in product configurator to create sales orders that can be converted to a BoM for your production department with a few clicks.

Higher visitor engagement 

If you are selling to the consumer market, configurable products have a higher engagement compared to static products if buyers can customise items on the website. Showing customers the different ways they can tweak a product is a powerful psychological incentive because it gives them ideas of how it will fit into their specific needs.

For more information about product configurability, contact WinMan ERP software today.

>> Learn more about WinMan ERP Software

Topics: Manufacturing, Product Configurator, Production Management, Furniture Manufacturing

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