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What is an ETO (Engineer to Order) visual configurator and does my company need one?

Engineer to order is a type of manufacturing process in which a product is designed, engineered and finished after an order has been received. The product is engineered to meet specifications desired by the received order.

The typical ETO environment usually deals with the design and build of unique custom engineered complex machinery and industrial equipment. By leveraging ETO, enable your customers to develop new products that satisfy their customer’s unique requirements and specifications.

Traditionally, manufacturing sales teams have relied heavily upon CRM solution configure, price quote (CPQ) software to connect dealers, distributors and manufacturing sales teams through solutions that have historically produced a slow turn around on quotes. Manufacturing sales technology should help your inside and outside sales beat your competitors by improving speed and accuracy.

CPQ technology has evolved to develop the ability to produce image based 2D visualizations of the final quoted product, however many manufacturers were still providing hand drawn visuals to customers along with the line item quotes.

3D product configuration has emerged which adds a new level of visual attraction to quotes offering a 3D rendering at the output of the CPQ. The added power of the 3D visual enhancement is extremely valuable, putting your customer a step ahead of their competitor who comes with a hand-drawing in tow.

Even though the 3D product configuration is a huge enhancement overall, it did not improve the speed or accuracy of the CPQ solution. This quickly became the more complicated issue in the quoting process for manufacturers, those who service Engineer to Order (ETO) quotes, rather than the simpler configure to order solution. ETO adds a complexity that has shown to create an added bottleneck in the process of turning around a quote, therefor costing CPQ time, accuracy, and money in the process.

How can you avoid that bottleneck? Visual configuration provides the goal of enabling engineering, manufacturing and sales to be collaborators in creating accurate products. In turn, visual configuration delivers overall improved efficiencies across the board, specifically:

  • Improved sales
  • Closing product configuration gaps and improving fulfillment speeds
  • Automatic propagation of product and design changes
  • Improving product quality
  • Generation of an updated BOM in real time
  • 3D CAD Model generation
  • 2D Drawing generation
  • Augmented Reality experiences
  • Improving the balance for revenue across configurable products to sell higher margin models based on real-time collaboration between PLM, ERP, CRM and CPQ systems
  • Shorter sale cycle times

All in all, allowing for greater visibility into the entire sales process, from quote to distribution in one integrated solution, increasing speed and accuracy throughout the process. Thus, by leveraging ETO with visual configuration, your company can improve accuracy, boost sales and increase margins in your sales process. 

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