When is a Configurator appropriate?

Posted on: March 30, 2010 | By: SuperUser Account | QAD Business Process

The QAD Configurator offers clients with rich functionality to configure product based on complex rules. However, before embarking on a configurator implementation, it is important to understand when this tool is valuable, as it doesn’t fit in all instances. The following are some key areas to consider before assuming you are a configure to order environment.

1. Do new confiugurations require engineering intelligence (e.g. testing, updated drawings, etc.), before the configuration can be considered approved? If yes, then you are likely to be an engineered to order environment, and a rules-based configurator may not serve to shorten the cycle between customer configuration and shipping and cash. If that is the case, you may not extract full value from a configurator.
2. Are all purchased components required to support configurations defined and sourced? If not, then Purchasing or Sourcing will need to be involved in new configurations, and again, you may not shorten the cycle on delivery new product to Customers.
3. Are there extensive rules as to how configuration options interact? If there are no rules, then non-rules-based, and less complex, Configured Products may be a better solution.
4. How many possible configuration permutations are possible. If the number is not intensive, then defining them all ahead of time may save time and overhead in managing the configurator.

This is just a short list, but it is important to note that such an analysis is important before making this decision. Other areas to consider are (1) value of exposing the Conifgurator to salespersons, customers, etc. (2) ability to empower Customer Service to configure without Engineering involvement.

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