One of our key software partners in a recent post reminds us of the long-standing value of a “product configurator.” Because we work so much with manufacturers and distributors (almost exclusively actually) we see the value in these products every day, and find our own manufacturing software solutions well-equipped, either intrinsically or via third-party add-ons, for them.
As our partners at Insight Works https://www.dmsiworks.com/products/configurator/ (formerly DMS – Dynamics Manufacturing Systems) explains theirs…
A Product Configurator significantly simplifies the creation of production Bills of Material (BOMs) and Routings, or assembly BOMs, to make quote and order generation more efficient.
In the Insights product, new features include:
- Easily Configurable Rules: Set combination rules for specific products. For example, when building a bicycle, if a specific style of handlebars is selected then a specific lamp will be included while the bell will be excluded.
- Apply Multipliers: When it comes to bulk material usage, multipliers can be used to ensure automatically generated BOMs include waste and trim material. For example, a window frame may require an additional 10% of frame material for production purposes which will be cut and trimmed for the final product.
- Build Sophisticated Rules: For anyone who may require more sophisticated rules not supported by the user interface, Product Configurator includes an API… so that rules can be done without a developer license, allowing end-users to create “scripts” for rules.
It all adds up to the ability configure a bill of materials so that end products can be built according to the rules that you specify.
These are ideal for companies that make to order or who build assemblies. They typically support thousands of functions. Whereas early configurators of the 1980s and ‘90s in large scale systems once ran in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, today’s solutions are a tiny fraction of the cost, with far-ranging capabilities available on PC-based systems.
Using pre-configured items saves lots of time… eliminates countless data entry and keyboarding mistakes… greatly simplifies order-taking for the sales team… and ensures product accuracy by ensuring that build-rules are always followed.
If you build to assemblies or make to order, you owe it to yourself to look into the world of product configurators. They frequently pay for themselves quickly, and many times over, while increasing your competitive edge in terms of improved order accuracy, reduced order and build times, and greatly simplified order taking.