Engineer-to-order projects are intricate and elaborate, involving extensive time and expertise in order to create a sales quotation. Manufacturers need to find methods to efficiently decrease the cost of execution, but still ensure that quotes are accurate and tailored correctly for tenders and projects. This is something that off-the-shelf Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) solutions cannot manage; it requires a complete manufacturing sales platform tailored for the manufacturers..
What features of a manufacturing sales platform would sales engineers require, then, to tender quickly and efficiently?
Ability To Collaborate With Other Departments
Many sales engineers are used to communicating with multiple departments; after all, in order to offer an engineering solution, it is usually necessary to include the input of other departments. From product designers, to purchasing departments, to tender managers and production teams, sales engineers have to be the glue that coordinates the entire tender process. If not, the tender submission will be either inaccurate or delayed, causing low customer satisfaction (which, as we have covered before, is decidedly not something to be desired).
Seamless collaboration is not easy to configure, though, as it requires automated routing that guarantee the step-by-step input and interplay between departments. These trigger-based workflows will need to streamline internal processes, with approval notifications sent to ensure feasibility. To guarantee that managers and sales engineers alike can keep track of the tender status, a visual status overview is important, with different versions of the platform available to other parties.
Updated Production Data and Material Creation
Of course, this collaboration would not work without up-to-date data that can be used for the tender itself. One of the main features of an engineer-to-order tender is the massive amount of data that is incorporated into creating an accurate quote. If that data is not updated and made available for the internal parties, it can result in inaccuracy or errors.
This means that a manufacturing sales platform would need to do three things:
- centralise that data in one place,
- ensure that data is always updated from front end to the back end, and
- make it available to those who need it
To do this, backend and production data from the ERP need to be integrated with your frontend for an end-to-end system. This establishes the one accurate source of data that all internal parties can refer to, since that will include pricing data that will update with time and product life cycle.
In engineering sales, a good solution would not only estimate and simulate costs, but also be able to propagate that information into the ERP. This avoids double data creation, and helps streamline the quote-to-production cycle using accurate engineering data from beginning to end.
A good manufacturing sales platform would hence be able to automatically sync new BOMs or new data created within its solution into the backend ERP system.
Efficient Tender Composition
After the collaborative process is set up and the data is integrated, the last step in configuring a tender is the actual composition. When it comes to consolidating the requirements for the tender, there’s a need to include a variety of different documents and drawings, such as CADs, Excel sheets, raw data, and more. A manufacturing sales platform has to be able to handle different types of uploads and combine them in the most efficient way.
Modelling is crucial, and in addition to using accurate data, the modelling process itself has to be streamlined and maintained within the solution itself. The manufacturing sales solution will also need to allow for the import of configuration Excels, Bills of Material (BOMs), and other documents to simplify the configuration and costing process.
A standout solution would also be able to store, embed and generate technical drawings such as CAD files within the project configuration itself, to reduce the amount of collaboration needed to make changes to a CAD drawing.
In the end, engineer-to-order companies have a different set of requirements than other manufacturers, and should be looking for a tailored solution that allows them to create a tender as efficiently as possible. That includes features such as trigger-based workflows, tender composition tools, and an integration from end-to-end.