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The technology of product configuration is used in many ways to point out and correctly select and evaluate product variations. Product configuration is used in web applications, e.g. in online shops in the B2C sector, on B2B online portals of companies, but also in offline and online sales applications in the CPQ process.
Different approaches to solutions have different performance characteristics, some of which have different suitability profiles and are often associated with media discontinuities.
When it comes to preparing quotations for more complex products, such as a machinery and plant systems that need to be offered based on a factory-specific layout and in combination with a production process, sales teams want a powerful application that is more than just a product configurator.
Existing solutions lack visual real-time interaction based on ERP and CAD data. 3D visualization options are usually rigid visualizations that are simply stored individually for special variations. I contrast, Virtual Reality configuration and supply systems are the next-generation applications that will dominate the market within a few years.
More than product configurators
In and of itself, many product configurators belong more into the category of process-integrated technical configurators plus finder. These support the development of a product finder in ERP systems of industrial plants and offer significantly better possibilities to meet sales requirements than process-integrated technical configurators without product finder.
Purely process-integrated technology configurators use only the object dependencies that are stored in ERP systems such as ERP/ECC 6.0 or S/4. They can also offer simple process integration in CRM or PIM (Process Integration Management) or the possibility of offering products tested for feasibility. They furthermore allow orders to be placed immediately at the industrial site. Sales configurators on the other hand, which generally use price lists as a basis for creating a configurator, offer different but limited options.
More than sales configurators
Although sales configurators can be implemented relatively quickly and can sometimes be an inexpensive solution, they function completely independently of production sites. Construction feasibility or plausibility checks (with ERP recourse/connection) are hardly doable.
Characteristics evaluations directly on a 3D CAD model cannot be carried out either. SAE Sales including the SAE Interactive Motion Engine is assigned to a new category of process-integrated virtual and interactive product configurators with VR use, enabling simulations directly on the 3D model. They bring Virtual Reality into the sales process and ensure significant increases in efficiency in production plants while simultaneously increasing sales. At the same time, they are designed to reduce complexity and still offer, for example, quotation processes with ERP integration. Furthermore, they complement CRM systems well.