There are currently over 250,000 manufacturing companies in the United States employing over 12 million employees. The fact is that manufacturing is a highly competitive field and those manufacturers need to do everything they can to stand apart from the competition.

CPQ top 10 guide download buttonOne way to do this is by offering customization options for your products.

Today, a one-size-fits-all product isn’t going to bring in as much business as those companies which allow customers to tweak the products to fit their needs.

If you’re looking to add a product configurator to your manufacturing line, here are five features you absolutely must have:

Clear Bill of Materials
No matter how simple your product is, there will still be a bill of materials (BOM) generated. These are the individual parts which go into making up the finished product. Each item is listed, and unit prices are used to calculate a final cost for these units. This is important for a few reasons.

First, you’ll want to know exactly what each customized product is costing you so you can set a reasonable price for your customers with your profit figured in. Secondly, you’ll need to ensure all the parts are included in your BOM so everything is accounted for and there are no hidden costs cropping up at the end. A good product configurator will generate a complete BOM that can be customized further to use as you sell your product.

Visual Models
A powerful configurator will allow the customer to see a model of their customized product before making any final decisions. Truly powerful configurators will enable the customer to see a 2D or even a 3D model of the product with each of the customizable features visible for their inspection. This will reduce your headaches when it comes to making the product and ensures the customer is happy as well.

CPQ Solutions White Paper Download imageCAD Models
Beyond the basic computer model of the product, some configurators can also integrate with CAD systems to print a fully realized 3D mock-up of the product. This to-scale model can be used for production or to ensure customers approve of the product being built for them. Your customer can inspect the product from all angles, as if they were holding it in their hands.

Safeguards are vitally important in the customization process. Some customers have very specific wishes when it comes to what they want. Unfortunately, these wishes aren’t always possible for different reasons. The configurator can have safeguards in place to prevent customers from requesting products which you can’t deliver on. You don’t want to promise them an item you can’t provide, and these safeguards can flag such requests early in the process.

Easy, Professional Quote Generation
In the past, it could take days to create a quote and many times these were either hand-written or simply typed on a quote sheet. A configurator allows you to generate a quote in just a matter of hours or minutes by maintaining a price book with all the customization options. Then, you simply input the customer’s request and let the computer generate the quote. The configurator can even create a professional looking quote document to give the customer.

Compete in the Marketplace with a Robust Product Configurator

In order to stay competitive in today’s crowded manufacturing market, you need something to set you apart from the rest. Customization can be the first step in establishing yourself in your niche. In order to make this successful, you need a powerful configurator with all of these features to ensure your customers have the best experience possible in choosing their customizable products.