More and more companies are now going for Electronic Product Catalogs and are making necessary CAD data about their products available to their customers and prospects.
There are many benefits of electronic product catalogs, they,
- Help your prospects take quicker decision about your product
- Help you showcase your product changes quickly and effectively
- Avoid last minute surprises and installation nightmares
- Give you an edge over your competition
So if you are thinking of making your product information online, here are the few decisions that you need to make.
- The Product: You may have dozens or even hundreds of products in your portfolio. You could apply the 80-20 rule and decide a set of products that gives you maximum coverage.
- The Platform: Most obvious choice is to make it available on your website. However you could choose to make a Phone App or you could create a DVD (in case you have very large number of products).
- The Data format: You need to decide what data you wish to make available, some of the points to be decided here are 2D data vs 3D data, GA or schematic vs to the scale drawings, dumb 3D models vs parametric models etc.
- The Technology: At a high level there are two main approaches to solving this, “Pre-Cooked” and “On-The-Fly”. In the Pre Cooked method, data for all configurations of your products is as the name suggests, are kept in repository, and is delivered on demand. This option is good if the number of unique configurations of your products are on a lower side say up to few hundreds. The “On-The-Fly” method generates the necessary data in real time using certain master models. It can very easily handle any number of unique product configurations that you may have
To summarize, Electronic Product Catalogs can greatly help your business and give you an edge over the competition.
With every individual looking for a custom product designed especially for him/her, more and more companies are now offering Mass Customization to satisfy the needs of their customers.
At a high level Mass Customization can be categorized into two broad areas,
B2B Mass Customization
B2C Mass Customization
Mass Customization essentially means offering customers what they want, rather than what the organization has to offer them. It creates a huge differentiator in the minds of customers, both B2B and B2C.
Mass Customization is achieved by using web based tools like Product Configurators which achieves Customization yet resulting in savings in cost.
This is how it works.
Configure: The Product Configurators present a simple user interface to the customers to try out various options by changing parameters and selecting different options, to suit their specific requirements. Once they are satisfied, they can often preview their selections in the form of a 3D model.
Instant Quote: The quote generation system is linked to the Product Configurator helping customers with instant quotes for the selections that they make.
Ready to Manufacture: The Product Configurator can generate all the details like manufacturing drawings required by the manufacturing/assembly team without manual intervention
Level of automation at each step depends on the complexity of the product and the nature of the sales cycle. For simple products (typically B2C) it can be completely automatic and for complex products (typically B2B) it can be semi-automatic. Even for B2B products, the semi-automatic process greatly improves the productivity of the sales team and the design team.
At a B2B level Product Configurator are seen in many diverse industries ranging from Cranes & Hoists, Material Handling and Storage, Pumps, Valves, Bearings, etc. The benefits it offers are,
- Shorter Sales Cycle because of quicker and accurate quotes to prospects
- Shorter Delivery Cycle because of quicker and accurate data to manufacturing team
- Convert more prospects into customers, with quicker response and sharing relevant CAD data
- Improve the efficiency of Sales and Design team
- Better understanding of customer’s needs
At a B2C level use of Product Configurator is seen in variety of sectors like laptops, apparels, shoes, jewellery, houses, furniture etc. The advantages for a B2C model are,
- Differentiation through personalization
- Satisfying the needs of the customers by delivering what they want
- Reduced capital because of reduced inventory
- Customer loyalty