Configure-to-Order Manufacturing



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In the Configure-to-Order process, products are assembled and configured based on customer requirements.  Usually a configure to order manufacturer has a “catalog” and for the different products they sell often have “options” that can be selected by the customer.  The most important part of Configure-to-Order revolves around the idea of configurations.  A configuration is the combination of the catalog parts with all the options, and there can literally be millions or even billions of valid configurations that could be selected.

Sabre are experts in Configure-to-Order implementations.

If you’re a Configure-to-Order manufacturer some of these are probably true in your business:

  1. It is often impossible to stock finished goods
  2. You often will stock semi-finished assemblies
  3. Your lead time components set the speed of delivering a finished product
  4. You may keep popular long lead time items in stock to off-set the possible delays
  5. Order entry, quoting and order processing is tedious and error prone
  6. You have a lot of double and triple checks in your business

Benefits of Sabre Manufacturing for YOUR Business

  1. You can use an optional Product Configurator module to streamline quoting and estimating
    • You can capture your engineering and product experts knowledge in the system
    • You can (eventually) provide self-service ordering for dealers or customers
    • You can use more junior people to execute these kinds of tasks
    • You can reduce quoting and order processing lead time substantially, and reduce errors
  2. Dynamics NAV built in inventory control and purchasing control can really help streamline special order items and stock management
  3. You can reduce manufacturing errors with better bills of materials
  4. You can collect job cost information on a configuration by configuration basis
  5. You can run analysis of your order history including what configurations have been selected by customers over time
  6. You can bring up historical orders and configurations and use those to generate new orders or quotes

Product Configurator

Configure-to-Order companies are all about their product configurations.  For that reason they need to look at Product Configurators.

A Product Configurator is a critical add-on for Manufacturing ERP solutions, designed specifically for a Configure-to-Order business.   This is a module that has various versions available from different vendors, each of which has different features and value.  Not all Configure-to-Order businesses are the same, and so a one-size-fits-all solution doesn’t necessarily make sense.

A product configurator allows a company to enter their engineering, design, pricing and other “rules” into the system.  In fact the entire module is built around the idea of “rules”, which are the really complicated part of a configuration.  Rules are those things your senior managers, sales staff, order entry clerks and engineers know without knowing how.  Taking those out of their heads, writing them in a logical manner and entering them into the software is the goal.

Learn More

Robert Jolliffe has written extensively on these technologies.  You can find his blog “Product Configurator Roundup”  at the ERP Software Blog.  You can also find 5 Benefits of Product Configurators which also explains many of the reasons you should consider this technology.