Our customer specializes in custom cabinets and countertop design, including installation of those products, and is a regional distributor that operates in both new residential and commercial construction, as well as custom remodeling projects.
Providing quotes to customers for highly customizable products proves to be very challenging. An application must support variable product attributes that are selectable; limit subsequent selections based on hierarchical relationships; deliver accurate item-level pricing based on these selections and ensure the resulting item number (SKU) is 100% accurate for procuring the products, calculating taxes, and managing fuel sur-charges and installation costs; and interface to SAP’s Business One ERP system.
Our customer initially developed an Excel-based template to support their configure-price-quote (CPQ) needs. Although the spreadsheet worked reasonably well for providing a quote to customers, it was fraught with other challenges. Version management of the Excel template proved to be very challenging, incorrect SKU’s were common, resulting in dirty data created in SAP Business One, and pricing was generally close but seldom 100% correct. As a result, every spreadsheet submitted had to be reviewed by the sending location’s administrative personnel. They were also printing out and manually managing the process through a series of folders for each step of the process. Additionally, every sales order created in SAP Business One from the spreadsheets had to be reviewed by the accounting department to correct pricing errors and add additional information the spreadsheet was unable to supply. The manual processes consumed approximately 40 hours per week of non-value-added manpower. The supplying manufacturer also had to manually review the resulting purchase orders sent from SAP Business One and interpret and correct the SKU’s based on the product description, and then hand-key the purchase orders into their system. This manual translation carried the risk of incorrect SKU selection and the delivery of incorrect items to the job site.
In addition to the costs related to the manual reviews and processing, the Excel-based solution was not scalable. It was only being used by a single location and could not be rolled out company wide. There was no visibility or access into the CPQ process as a whole. The current design did not ensure accuracy, repeatability, and could not support the business growth rate.
Approach and Discovery
Our customer needed a software platform that would deliver numerous application and business process improvement opportunities. The technology needed to have business rules, workflow, reporting and dashboarding, and the ability to interface with multiple systems for data synthetization. The software also needed be a rapid-delivery product that did not require programming skills for design. Our customer ultimately selected Configurable Management’s (CM) Decisions for SAP Solutions™ business process management (BPM) software to design a best of breed CPQ application to replace the Excel template with a state-of-the-art, web-based solution that would ensure accuracy, consistency, visibility, and scalability. Leveraging Decisions for SAP Solutions™, our customer now has a web-delivered application that can be accessed by their sales team and executive management via any browser and platform (PC, tablet, smart phone) and can quickly create a customer quotation with 100% SKU and pricing accuracy. Upon notification of being awarded the business, the quotation is automatically sent to SAP Business One and a sales order is created. Subsequently, SAP Business One creates a purchase order(s) for the respective products and vendors.
The new CPQ application powered by Decisions for SAP Solutions™ has reduced the keystrokes required by the sales team to create a new quotation, streamlined communication with the customers, eliminated the manual processes and reviews, improved data quality and integrity with 100% accuracy for SKUS’s, pricing, taxes, etc., and ensures process consistency, provides visibility [including key performance indicator (KPI) measurements], can be utilized by every company location, and will support exponential business growth. The design, testing, and implementation was completed within a few months with a single Configurable Management consultant. The ease of use of the application resulted in it being readily accepted by the sales team, making change management a minimal component of the project.
Return on Investment
It is estimated the project will have full ROI in eighteen-months based on labor savings alone.
Based on the success of the CPQ process, our customer is expanding the use case into the service order process. Configurable Management will simply enhance the CPQ design powered by Decisions for SAP Solutions™ to include service order processing. The project is estimated to take six to eight weeks including design, testing, and implementation. This investment is estimated to result in a 40-day ROI after implementation.