By Scott Heide, Founder and CEO, Engineering Intent
ETO automation success starts with clear communication of a customer’s requirements. Proposed solutions must meet those requirements. Automating engineering and design steps means simplified management of modifications and nuances to documents.
The automation must similarly extend to the customer. Disputes and disagreements arise when prospects fail to understand fully what is being proposed.
After a configuration is fully (and automatically) configured based on customer inputs, a realistically rendered 3D model, ready for inclusion in detailed proposal documents, eliminates costly mistakes attributable to poor communication.
When the back-and-forth communications are reduced, the time required to capture a signed purchase order is expedited.
Many questions regarding sales of custom-engineered products require highly technical answers. Most can be answered automatically with the right rules-based system.
Simplifying RFQ modifications
Modifying RFQs becomes quite simple allowing prospects’ inputs which include a fully engineered, accurately costed, graphically communicative quote.
Sales engineering for the custom configuration of complex products presents unique challenges. The solution is to capture and automate configuration and engineering rules and deploy a comprehensive sales automation system.
Doing so enables the widest possible range of team members (salespeople, partners, and customers) creating accurate, valid quotes without overloading application engineers.
Engineers are highly paid professionals who suffer when performing repetitive functions such as back-and-forth massaging and frequent manual design adjustments.
Only with a good marriage of engineering and sales automation can ETO (Engineer to Order) manufacturers provide rapid responses and compelling quotes to customers; quotes include custom documents, 2D drawings, 3D models, renderings, and more.
Automating tailored quotes
Reducing quote overhead while speeding quote delivery is vital in the custom manufacturing space. Automatically providing tailored quotes results in more proposals, delivered more rapidly. By the law of averages, this means more revenue.
Every ETO manufacturer using traditional manual modes of quoting has worried about the time and costs involved in generating proposals. Prospective customers demand detailed, customized proposals, drawings, and other engineered product information. Most are Amazon Prime users at home; they expect RFQs to be answered with a similar rapid delivery modality.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to capture cloud-based engineering knowledge is a requirement, not a luxury. No longer are engineers traveling to the point of sale at a high travel expense.
Automating accurate, fast, and correct configurations
Engineering knowledge is key in managing complex products, eliminating guesswork, and delivering accurate proposals. As ETO manufacturers understand, customers have precise product demands with very particular requirements.
Best-in-class rules-driven, cloud-based software must automate and unify configuration, engineering, geometry, user interface, and business rules. The results are smart, visually interactive systems that are easy to use; they ensure that a proposed product meets customers’ highly specialized and unique needs.
Most importantly, ETO manufacturers who automate are able to eliminate sales engineering backlogs. The next RFQ can be addressed days (even weeks) sooner since time-consuming manual methods no longer hamper sales automation.
Automating and delivering targeted, visually compelling proposals
With built-in 3D graphics, as well as integration with CAD systems, prospective customers view a proposed product in advance.
From rendered 3D models to detailed drawings, the automation of sales and engineering delivers a distinct competitive advantage.
These solutions convert more proposals to sales without expensive and time-consuming repetitive engineering.
About the author: Scott Heide is the Founder and CEO of Engineering Intent. With more than 30 years of experience in knowledge-based engineering software, Heide has long been a key source for industry understanding of and application strategies for engineering and sales automation. Heide drove the development of Knowledge Bridge, a cloud-based comprehensive EPQ (Engineer Price Quote) and visual configuration platform. It offers tools and methods to automate custom engineering, technical sales, and business processes – the “To Order” in “Engineer To Order”. Heide holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Wichita State University and a Master of Science in Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Connect on LinkedIn.