Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Engineer-to-Order Manufacturing Experiencing Visual Sales Revolution

By Thomas R. Cutler

The most immediate and critical impact on the bottom-line can be found in the sales process. Over the past decade more manufacturers have become understandably enamored with the margins which exists in the ETO (engineer-to-order) space. Sadly, until now poor job quoting processes have consumed the competitive margins, even generating an unprofitable manufacturing project.

Nearly two-thirds of global manufacturers are now ETO. Due to customer demand for customization there has been a significant increase in demand for custom manufacturing versus repetitive manufacturing.

New best practice technologies have finally allowed the quoting process to capture every permutation and cost consideration prior to submitting a proposal or request for quote (RFQ). 

ATLATL’s QuoteBooks VCPQ platform provides the more efficient way to configure and sell manufactured products.

Quote Generation Made Easy for ETOs

Due to the complex engineering schematics, numerous client iterations, and project changes, ETO quoting has often taken months. Costly and no guarantee of a PO, customer acquisition costs consume time and erode margins (even if the quote is accepted). Purchasing managers, IT professionals, and engineering sales executives have longed for a shortcut. Fast and easy quotes have been impossible until now.

Thanks to an open API (Application Programming Interface) with mobile-friendly access, unlimited storage per user, and a secure cloud-based platform, these new technologies are reducing project quoting time by 90 percent. Enterprise-wide manufacturers are now able to interact with vendors, suppliers, engineers, and purchasing managers to construct complex project quotes in real-time.

Whether using a rules-based 2D configurator with pre-rendered drawings or a 3D product configurator with dynamic drawings, there are no products nor engineering rules too complex for the best-in-class patented rules engines.

Since this sales quoting process can easily integrate with most CRM (Customer Relationship Management) and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), there is no need for double data entry (saving time and eliminating the introduction of new error introductions). Integration with CAD solutions is part of these new quoting technologies.

Intuitive Quoting Platforms

The number one reason manufacturing and industrial engineers leave their positions is the frustration in the sales quote process. New technology uses rules-based and step-guided processes to speed past the bottlenecks of ETO quotes, eliminating frustration.

These easy-to-use quoting platforms are agile because all data can be accessed using a simple, intuitive mobile app. When all involved in a project quote are able to visualize the product they are buying real-time in 3D on mobile devices, the idea of waiting for hand-drawings is simply unacceptable. The time saved in real-time quotes creates a very rapid ROI for these solutions.

The visual sales revolution is now the industry standard in ETO manufacturing. Atlatl’s QuoteBooks Cloud is the only platform capable of meeting the complex rules-based needs of manufacturing sales. In fact, a Forrester survey revealed that the Visual CPQ leader had customers reduce annual cost of order mistakes by more than a million dollars. The average return on investment per customer was 304 percent in one year.

To learn more about Atlatl Software Visual CPQ, go to

Author profile: Thomas R. Cutler is the President & CEO of Fort Lauderdale, Florida-based, TR Cutler, Inc., ( Cutler is the founder of the Manufacturing Media Consortium including more than 6000 journalists, editors, and economists writing about trends in manufacturing, industry, material handling, and process improvement. Cutler authors more than 500 feature articles annually regarding the manufacturing sector and is the most published freelance industrial journalist worldwide. Cutler can be contacted at and followed on Twitter @ThomasRCutler.