"I have 100% confidence in the Experlogix team and their CPQ solution. They understand the manufacturing industry, they have deep CPQ functionality, and have hundreds of Dynamics customers to prove it."
The Experlogix Configurator supports hundreds of Husky users across the globe, providing consistent, accurate quote-to-cash processes every time, providing management reliable forecasts.
Founded in 1953 in a Toronto garage, Husky started out as a small machine shop. It quickly found its niche specializing in the making of quality injection molds for thin wall plastic containers. Husky Injection Molding Systems is now one of the world’s largest suppliers of injection molding equipment to the plastics industry with more than forty service and sales offices supporting customers in more than 100 countries.
As the company expanded to include five major business units with manufacturing plants in Canada, the United States, Luxemburg, and China, so did the complexity and demands of its quote/order processes. By 2010, Husky personnel were using seven different standalone systems to build customer quotes for its broad array of products.
“A quote for a new system typically include machine, molds, axillaries, startup services, freight and then there are options, specials and spares totaling up to 200 products per one quote,” says Sergiy Fomenko, Sales Effectiveness Project Manager.
“Getting one unified quote was hard because the outputs were different for all seven systems,” says Terry Solomon, Sales Support Manager. “Keeping price and product data current was a major challenge.” The cumbersome process caused errors and delayed delivery of quotes to customers.
Successfully pushing price quotes to the field was an onerous task. “It involved coordinating teams in over 100 countries worldwide,” says Fomenko. “Once a quote is accepted by a customer, it’s too late to update to the most current pricing.”
The process was cumbersome and riddled with errors which delayed deliveries of customer quotes. And corporate management had no visibility to global quoting in terms of how many quotes had been made, and how many were accepted.
“The system is very flexible, easy to use, and reliable for our global sales teams - and has already returned more than a 100 percent return on investment.”
With the release of Windows 7, the company lost support – and essentially access – to massive amounts of data in two of its core systems: Access and Microsoft Excel. Management decided it was time to move to a new, totally integrated, technology platform. The platform was to be Microsoft based, critically relying on Share Point, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
After an intensive review of several configurator vendors, Husky selected Experlogix to a critical component of its new global pricing technology platform. The configurator is model-based with rules, component definitions, and pricing centrally maintained. User access is available directly within Dynamics CRM to everyone across the company’s extended global network.
“Experlogix is quite flexible and user friendly,” Solomon says. “There are many ways to go about consolidating information you need, and the speed and ease of that, and the confidence it provides management is a significant improvement over what we had before.” Quotes and reports can be built by multiple methods or by using a combination of functions, including formulas, tables, pricing properties, and more.
“Overall, Experlogix personnel were very supportive, helping us through the initial launch,” says Fomenko. “The lead Experlogix repimplementation engineer was extremely knowledgeable about all business requirements, and how the technology could be used to achieve what we needed.”
One of the biggest benefits to date is the visibility provided to senior management to the whole quote and order process. And the confidence they have that all quote information is consistent and accurate and universally applied.
“The system is also very flexible, easy to use, and reliable for our global sales teams,” says Fomenko. He states that the comprehensive new pricing platform has already returned more than 100 percent ROI.
The number of people using the system has more than doubled, touching the jobs of over 1,000 individuals as more departments have been drawn to use it, Including people in sales, sales support, marketing communications, marketing products, operations/manufacturing, material planning, services and logistics teams.
Husky is looking to improve forecasts that will lead to shorter lead times and smaller inventory costs – all which will contribute to its greater competitiveness, and provide improved benefits to its customers.
“Now that the implementation has been completed, the company is planning how to gain greater return from the solution. We are already thinking about how to enhance sales forecast accuracy, order entry validity, material planning and warehouse management, logistics and incoterms, custom products quotes, product specification forms and checklists," he says. "More accurate and centrally controlled quote data saves many thousands of dollars of unnecessary expenses, increases company revenue and provides greater business intelligence to make more informed decisions."
Malibu Boats is the world’s largest manufacturer of recreational watersports towboats with more than 450 employees and manufacturing facilities in California, Tennessee and Australia.
Every Malibu Boat is uniquely configured based on customer specific preferences. They have to get the details right the first time or face delays, rework and ultimately, an unhappy customer. The company has 16 base models in its two model lines and no two boats come off the production line the same.
“We cater to the customer,” says Greg Casteel, Senior Business Systems and Process Analyst. “We’re known for the quality of our relationships with our customers and our dealers – and the fact that customers always get the boats customized the way they want them.”
Meeting that commitment was a challenge. Malibu Boats relies on its extensive dealer network to promote and sell its high-end line of customized boats. But previously, Malibu didn’t make it easy for dealers to configure and place orders via its online portal. Dealers had to sign on to two different systems to order models in Malibu’s two different product lines. This, plus a lack of any rules-based system intelligence, increased the potential for errors. As in any business, errors can increase costs and delay deliveries.
Compounding the problem, the boat builder had a standalone order entry system, “but all it did was track orders,” says Casteel. “It produced a piece of paper with specs for a boat, but we then had to go into our Microsoft Dynamics GP ERP system and manually create a manufacturing order, the bills-of-materials, and pick list.”
“Our wake-board boat line, for example, is family oriented. The smallest carries 10 to 12 people,” Casteel says. “You can take everybody up to the lake for the weekend. But when ordering, you can’t order two engines for this line. And if you order a shower, you have to have an engine that is compatible.”
“Our dealers could be sitting on the showroom floor with a laptop, or at a boat show with a tablet and configure a complex order with Experlogix CPQ.”
Malibu Boats began looking for a better solution in early 2013. After a thorough evaluation of leading CPQ solutions, they chose Experlogix CPQ. Right from the start, Experlogix resolved a critical issue that was the cause of considerable problems: it integrated seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and through CRM, with Microsoft Dynamics GP. “It connects everything together,” he says. “Configuring an order automatically creates a manufacturing order, bills-of-materials, and the pick list. There’s no opportunity for errors.”
Another major problem area was also eliminated. Experlogix CPQ’s powerful, flexible rules engine makes it possible to create rules that will only permit a configuration where everything works faultlessly together. This helps accurately guide dealers using the online portal to get the order right – the first time. This resulted in eliminating rework from misaligned boat models and options, which removed delays in getting orders to their dealers – and dealers getting the boats to their customers.
Experlogix CPQ also removed the need for two separate order entry systems – one for each major product line. The system handles both lines from a single sign on, eliminating the need for dealers to manually navigate between two systems to place orders.
Casteel maintains three different Experlogix environments. One is for development, one for test, and one for production. Experlogix CPQ was first set up in the development environment before being released to test, where he could conduct dealer training. System documentation was available via the customer portal, along with FAQs. Dealers were then allowed to “play around” with the system themselves, creating orders, getting used to the new system before the system went live.
“It sounds minor, but one of the biggest benefits of the system was that dealers could access Experlogix CPQ using any browser,” Casteel says. “They could be sitting on the showroom floor with a laptop, or at a boat show with a tablet and configure an order. That was not the case with the previous system – but in the real world, that flexibility is huge,” he says.
The Experlogix solution also easily mastered the complexity of configuring highly intricate orders. “The complexity of our boats changes from model to model – and order to order,” he says. “The Experlogix rules engine makes it possible to create rules where only permissible order configurations can be developed. And I can write a rule once, and apply it to as many other models as necessary. I don’t have touch the code. All I need to do is check a box.”
Experlogix CPQ is winning praise from dealers. “We have dealers with all levels of computer skills in their operations. Some are still running their businesses with pencil and paper. But everyone likes Experlogix because it so greatly simplifies things. The rules take care of so much – where our dealers no longer have to remember everything. Experlogix is extremely user friendly – and it takes the complexity out of configuring orders for our production lines.”
MCFA is the leading manufacturer of three distinct brands: Mitsubishi and CAT forklift trucks and Jungheinrich warehouse products, distributing through a vast dealer network throughout North and South America.
Forklifts are one of the most highly customized products serving the manufacturing and distribution industries. Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America, Inc. (MCFA) offers numerous product families across three brands: Mitsubishi forklift trucks, Cat® lift trucks, and Jungheinrich®. Within families – each with as many as 10 different models - there is always a need to specially configure orders to address unique customer needs, typically involving hundreds of feature and function decisions.
MCFA previously handled order entry using a product configurator embedded in its legacy ERP system. The legacy ERP configurator required numerous manual steps that took an inordinate amount of time - greatly escalating the period required to ensure a configuration was accurate.
“It took a lot of time to do things that shouldn’t have been difficult,” says Jose Clark, Manager of Business Analytics at MCFA. “Adding part numbers, pricing, and setting-up product configurations on all products had to be done manually. There was no easy way to copy and modify an existing configuration. We were forced to start from scratch every time,” he says. “Changing a part number or a rule took time. Even adding a single new option to a category took weeks.”
“Day-to-day, all those things were very frustrating from a business perspective,” continues Clark.” Senior management could not understand why it took so long to configure an order.”
The challenge became dramatically more complicated in 2010 when MCFA signed an agreement with Jungheinrich AG, the European leader in electric-power warehouse material handling systems, to add its products to the company portfolio. That partnership nearly doubled the number of products MCFA offered to its dealer network.
“It was clear at that point that we needed a solution to bring new products to market in a timelier, user-friendly fashion,” Clark says.
“Experlogix also makes it easy to build workflows,” Clark says. “If certain features or options are especially complex, Experlogix can launch a notice to product specialists to review the order.”
MCFA needed an easy-to-use, flexible product configurator that could streamline and accelerate order entry processes and respond rapidly as their business needs changed.
After a thorough review of several product configurators for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, MCFA selected Experlogix. Experlogix clearly caught MCFA’s attention during its search for a solution. “The user-friendliness of Experlogix really stood out,” Clark says. “Managers were impressed, commenting ‘even I could do that.’” Other elements were equally noteworthy. “It’s extremely fast and flexible,” comments Clark. “We gave the Experlogix team some of our rules and data, and they came back within a day or two to demonstrate our logic within their solution. That was really impressive.”
Experlogix’s power and flexibility provided a major gain in productivity. “MCFA’s partnership with Jungheinrich AG extended the number of MCFA product families to more than 50,” Clark explains. “Experlogix provides an easy way to copy and then modify an existing configuration. In addition, we’re now able to create rules once and apply them across multiple families and products.” As a result, the time it takes to build a complete family of products has been slashed from two months to two weeks.
Internal users use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to initiate the configuration process, while dealership sales personnel access it via a portal. Though some dealers have third-party configuration systems of their own, MCFA worked with Experlogix to link those systems with Experlogix in a seamless fashion to ensure that everyone in the network has the most current, accurate product information from a single database. Completed configurations are passed back to Dynamics CRM which in turn links with MCFA’s ERP system to provide accurate delivery dates. For the first time, MCFA can now use orders to forecast production capacity.
“Experlogix also makes it easy to build workflows,” Clark says. “If certain features or options are especially complex, Experlogix can launch a notice to product specialists to review the order. Top-dollar features and options can also be specially handled. Rules in Experlogix enable lock down on orders, permitting dealers to still review the configuration, but restricting them from making further changes. They can, however, still change and manage their own margins and other details.”
A completely unanticipated benefit is that Experlogix has fostered strong growth in sales of product options. “We’re able to offer options a la carte, making it easier for dealers to suggest additional features to their customers.” This is facilitated in part with Experlogix being available on an iPad. A sales person visiting a customer can pull up Experlogix and go over an order in real time. “They can configure or change it right there, and then email a copy of the changes to the customer.”
Another important benefit became clear during the Experlogix training. “Experlogix allows users to create rules in a visual or text-based format. The visual format really aids the learning process,” says Clark.
Experlogix has brought big change to the way things are done at MCFA. “Experlogix has made everyone’s job easier,” Clark says.
TASS provides advanced software solutions to enhance human safety in the automotive, aviation and other transport industries.
To enable sales reps to provide fast, accurate software quotations for customers in regions throughout the world, TASS needed to transition from their Excel-based quoting solution a sales configurator with integration to their Microsoft Dynamics CRM system.
“We were in need of a highly customizable configurator for our global sales team to address the local price quote requirements of each customer,” says Ralf Ramackers, E-Business Manager, TASS. “We decided that our previous Excel-based tools required too much maintenance to keep up with our changing business environment. These tools also demanded extensive monitoring to ensure an acceptable level of quote and order accuracy.”
Building quotes in Excel also meant duplicate data entry. TASS products and prices entered for a proposal would have to be rekeyed into an order management system, providing opportunities for costly data entry mistakes.
“We selected Experlogix for its ability to easily implement new or changed business rules in the sales system without the need for outsourcing,” says Ramackers. “With Experlogix Configurator, we found a highly flexible pricing and quoting solution with a tight integration to Microsoft Dynamics CRM.”
Providing TASS’ traveling sales team with tools to be productive while on the road is an important competitive advantage – including the ability to create accurate software quotes in a disconnected mode. Prior to Experlogix, TASS reps were challenged with staying current with the latest pricing and product updates when they traveled as their Excel-based quoting system needed to be manually distributed to the field each time a change to pricing or products was made. Today, TASS reps simply take Experlogix Configurator and Dynamics CRM offline and the most current pricing and product information syncs to their respective laptops. Changes to business rules or prices to reps outside the office are published to them automatically.
“With the help of a local experienced Experlogix partner (@work Management Associates), it took us 10 days to implement Experlogix based on our design and specifications,” says Ramackers. “The end-user interface of the Configurator is intuitive and easy to learn, and if you’re familiar with Excel, you can start right away with the Formula Designer of Experlogix as it supports all of our pricing rules, exceptions, discount policies and schemes.”
TASS has experienced several benefits since going live with Experlogix Configurator. Their time to offer new products to market has drastically decreased. And, through three way integration of Experlogix, Dynamics CRM and their license encryption tools, they have deployed a very user friendly, single-point-of-access tool that supports their complete software licensing lifecycle.
With approximately 1800 employees and sales and service operations in more than 50 countries around the world, FEI is a leading diversified scientific instruments company.
FEI is a leader in a field that is extremely price and market conscious. In an effort to streamline business both internally and externally, FEI selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM to improve sales and customer service operations. To help realize the benefits of the new CRM solution, FEI needed an integrated product configurator to:
FEI had an existing quote and order system but the process had limitations, including:
“FEI runs an international business with various factories around the globe. We needed a highly flexible, scalable configurator that would help streamline our financial management and allow us to control our configurations very precisely. Moreover, we wanted a tool that would easily support the use of discount approvals as well as the processing of non-standard requests”, says Guido van Mier, Configuration Manager for FEI Worldwide.
After investigating several product configurator packages, FEI selected Experlogix for its integration to Dynamics CRM and its scalable architecture. “We evaluated other solutions but in the end there was no decision; Experlogix was the logical choice for us as it is such a versatile tool,” says van Mier. “Experlogix could handle all that we initially required and more. Just recently we incorporated logic that handles installation, warranty, additional warranty, and freight and duty. None of the other tools we considered came even close to the power of Experlogix.”
“One additional very important consideration for choosing Experlogix was for its capabilities of managing our administrative pains," continues van Mier. "Multiple administrators operating in various time zones were putting quite a bit of stress on the system. Now our administrative departments work seamlessly around the world.”
Experlogix helps FEI consolidate product and service options, rules and pricing into a single intelligent system, eliminating the need for paper catalogs and cumbersome-to-maintain spreadsheets. The configurator ensures the entire proposal or order is 100 percent accurate, guaranteeing a seamless quote-to-order process and higher customer satisfaction.
FEI’s customers across a range of scientific industries require microscopes to fit their specific needs. An instrument used in a biology lab will include particular cameras and pieces of equipment while an instrument used for semi-conductor fabrication will include others. FEI’s sales reps no longer quote and configure each instrument by consulting a spreadsheet and a diagram tree to match up parts that can and cannot co-exist on the same instrument. All this information is now accessible via the Experlogix Configurator from Dynamics CRM. They also get immediate feedback if an individual part is compatible with the overall microscope as planned. As a result, FEI has dramatically reduced quote times for even its most complex instruments and is certain that all quotes contain accurate configurations.
“Experlogix enables FEI to produce orders in just a fraction of the time previously required. We no longer have to deal with complex systems involving multiple software tools and hordes of Excel spreadsheets,” says van Mier.
FEI also appreciates the tight integration with Dynamics CRM. According to van Mier “Experlogix works harmoniously with Dynamics CRM and the combination of the two is quite powerful. We have tossed our old system overboard and have managed to get rid of at least 20 different programs and Excel sheets on the fly. As the multi-currency functionality is easy to set up in Experlogix, we were able to build a uniform solution that serves our global sales team so we now speak one common language in the company. In fact, we have even started training our agents and distributors to use Experlogix for quoting.”
Experlogix enables FEI to control which users have access to which information, supports automation of internal processes such as requests for quoting non-standard products and discount approval workflows. “Simply stated, our business is running much more smoothly than before,” says van Mier.
Konica Minolta NZ has been working with New Zealand businesses for more than 35 years, differentiating through the quality technology brands as well as customer service excellence. “As we have grown as an organization, product configuration information was being maintained in multiple departments, making it difficult to ensure everyone was using the most current data,” says Brendon Avery, Konica Minolta NZ general manager of IT. “We wanted a quote and order solution that was database driven so that a single version of the truth existed rather than many copies as we originally had. By removing the need for any paper based systems, and automating as much of the sales order process as possible with order configuration data in a single database, we wanted to eliminate the chance of error, either in rework or incomplete orders.”
“Experlogix ensures our orders are configured with 100% accuracy, streamlines our processes, and ultimately saves on costs.”
Konica Minolta chose Microsoft Dynamics™ CRM and Experlogix Product Configurator as an integrated, easy to use solution. According to Avery, “it was important that we could make the product configuration process as easy as possible, so that the tasks could be completed in a timely manner. It was absolutely critical that the task could be done once and done right, to eliminate the amount of rework that we were burdened with in using our old system.”
With Experlogix, “our product configuration process completely integrates with the sales order process and ensures that our quotes contain all of the components and costs associated with the solution being presented to the customer,” says Avery. “This has improved our profitability and has strengthened our customer satisfaction levels. Further down the road, I am expecting to see enhanced product pipeline reporting, which should result in improvements in our stock keeping levels. It is expected that we will see time saved in configuring a product and accuracy improved to 100% on all orders.“
“During the training and implementation phases, the Experlogix staff were professional and very accommodating to all of our needs,” says Avery. “Without exception, everyone we dealt with at Experlogix has been a pleasure to deal with. They were helpful, friendly, and went the extra mile to ensure that our needs were met wherever they could.”
Unicom creates products and business solutions that solve a variety of deployment challenges, accelerate time to market, reduce ownership costs and increase business efficiencies.
As a manufacturer that designs and builds server appliances and network equipment products, UNICOM had been successfully using Microsoft Dynamics™ GP as its ERP system for about 10 years in a model requiring little variation in product. As time has progressed, UNICOM has adapted to changing customer needs and now offers more configure-to-order sales with a higher degree of product and services complexity. “Dynamics GP did have a basic configuration tool, but it did not have the flexibility we needed, or the ability to handle the kind of complexity we were starting to experience in our orders,” says David Klubock, UNICOM’s Dynamics GP Administrator. “The Dynamics GP configurator was also not available to our non-GP users in the sales department, who were working primarily out of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM application.”
“Wherever our sales people are in the field, they are able to access the Experlogix Configurator running inside Dynamics CRM. Experlogix is tied directly into the costs in Dynamics GP, so when they are in front of a customer outside of the office, they using the real-time costs straight from Dynamics GP.”
“Previously, our sales staff was using a myriad of tools, such as Microsoft Excel spreadsheets, and everyone was working from individual cost sheets that were not necessarily linked to the most up-to-date source,” says Rob Sheriff, Vice President, Sales Operations. “So when new sales opportunities were submitted for approval, it took extra time to validate and correct costs associated with an order. And as a result, we were faced with both an impediment to the speed with which we could process orders, as well as the consistency in which orders were being presented to the pricing committee for approval.”
After a thorough review of configurator vendors, UNICOM chose the Experlogix Product Configurator for Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Dynamics GP as an integrated, easy to use solution that can consistently support both its order desk users and well as its sales staff users. “Today we may get an order for a dozen of a given product that is a straight line SKU that we can build from a standard configuration, while others will be an order for a single item that will be built from a selection of a long laundry list of components and offerings that will result in a single configuration,” says Sheriff. “We needed a configurator that could support all of our users no matter the Dynamics application they were working out of. While our Dynamics GP order desk users only need to use the Experlogix Configurator for a small number of orders that have complexity, our sales staff, working out of Dynamics CRM, use it extensively.”
The sales staff can now use the Experlogix Configurator, combined with Dynamics CRM, to fully support their sales quoting process. Once a quote has been generated, a quote report is generated out of Dynamics CRM, and a business case report is created from the Dynamics CRM opportunity, and together form the necessary input needed for the pricing committee to approve the order. In addition, because Experlogix is web-based, the sales staff can work with their customer on-site and can create a quote with the assurance that they are connected to the current price list.
“Wherever our sales people are in the field, they are able to access the Experlogix Configurator running inside Dynamics CRM. Experlogix is tied directly into the costs in Dynamics GP, so when they are in front of a customer outside of the office, they using the real-time costs straight from Dynamics GP,” according to Sheriff. The Experlogix Configurator has brought benefits to other departments outside of sales within UNICOM as well. “Our engineering department is keenly interested in making sure the sales staff isn’t quoting something that can’t be built,” says Sheriff. “When engineering creates new limits or constraints, we can use Experlogix to input those real-life rules and ensure our sales quotes represent a realistic and buildable product to our clients. In addition, we found Experlogix to be unique in its ability to handle our professional and technical services elements. It’s not a simple calculation, or just a list or parts and cost of materials that we need to quote. Experlogix enables us to incorporate the business rules and formulas associated with the services we provide and at the same time provides consistency in how those services are quoted across all of our sales associates. It also has provided us with a single point of maintenance, since we maintain these rules and costs in Experlogix.”
“Experlogix has made it easier to quote” continues Sheriff. ” It has given us more confidence in the accuracy and consistency of our quotes; it has expanded our ability to generate accurate quotes from anywhere our sales people are.
"During the implementation process, we asked Experlogix to do some really complicated things, because we have some very intricate quoting requirements,” according to Mike Garrels , CRM Administrator\Developer. “The Experlogix technical support team has been awesome. They have a good understanding of best business practices which has been helpful to us. And we’ve been able to email or call them anytime, including weekends or at night and they’ve always had a solution for us. We’ve been very pleased working with Experlogix."