This post shows how Sage Enterprise Management helps manufacturers to streamline operations to make customisation a competitive strategy and reduce the time from order to delivery.

The meteoric rise of digital sales and retail channels are challenging many established economies of scale in global markets. It’s easier for new businesses to grow online without traditional overheads. It’s easier to differentiate and charge a premium through unique or exclusive offerings.

Customers want greater choice and control, more personalisation and better experiences. A Deloitte Consumer Review that focused on the growth of personalisation found that consumers are not just interested in personalised products and services—they’ll pay more for the privilege.

Personalisation and customisation in Manufacturing processes

The Deloitte Consumer Review. Made-To-Order: The Rise of Mass Personalisation

Consumers are also re-evaluating low-value, commoditised goods due to concerns about ethical and sustainable materials, production, packaging and shipping methods.

What does it all mean for manufacturers trying to anticipate and satisfy retail demand?

Producing more with fewer inputs and at speed is still a competitive driver, but disruptive models are gaining greater traction. One such model is mass customisation—producing goods on a ‘made-to-order’ basis, tailored to match a customer’s specific preferences.

Configurable product lines are a great way for manufacturers to co-create value in partnership with customers. Continually streamlining how you manage components and production processes is important if configuration is, or will be, a key part of your business strategy.

Sage Enterprise Management is the ideal Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution for Configure to Order manufacturing excellence.

 

Why Sage Enterprise Management is ideal to manage customisable products

Custom manufacturing is certainly not new. However, doing so at a high volume and with high levels of consistency has only become more viable with the advent of more sophisticated machinery, processes, and software.

In particular, an integrated ERP solution is central to running a leaner operation where volume customisation is a smooth and profitable process. Sage Business Cloud Enterprise Management is a complete business process management solution made with manufacturers in mind.

Sage Enterprise Management helps you manage the timely flow of materials, the optimal use of labour and machinery, and a more accurate bill of materials for configurable products, to ensure production happens faster and you can cut your customer lead time.

A standout aspect of the solution is the powerful product configurator function.

The configurator module improves your ability to let customers choose from an extraordinary range of options in order to customise a base unit (adding components to an existing BOM).

Setting up the configurator within Sage Enterprise Management does take time and effort because you need to create the framework of options, restrictions and rules for each product. But once you do, it can drastically slash the time it takes to develop accurate quotes, BOMs and production orders for unique orders.

Your customer service or sales teams can then simply open the configurator interface during a discussion with a customer and configure the product step-by-step based on available options.

 

How does the Sage Enterprise Management configurator module work?

Configure to Order involves different combinations of stock that a manufacturer generally already has on hand, assembled in a particular way or to specific dimensions. The types of products configure to order manufacturers make can include automobiles, bicycles, computers, furniture, fencing, and sheds.

The rise of ‘mass customisation’ means that manufacturers looking to remain competitive will seek to enable customers to configure an even greater range of products. It becomes complicated to coordinate both inventory and multiple, unique orders.

Achieving scale in configure to order manufacturing depends on automation and precision. The Sage Enterprise Management configurator module makes a big difference.

Let’s use the example of an Australian company that manufactures customisable motor homes that they also export to New Zealand.

Within the configurator:

  • The operator is prompted to select if the product is for Australia or New Zealand. Depending on the selection, different rules are triggered:
    • If the product is for Australia, it comes standard with air-conditioning.
    • If the product is for New Zealand, it comes with a diesel heater and makes some other options unavailable.  
  • Next, the operator can see various upgrades and add-on components that the customer can choose from. For example, the customer might decide they want a more powerful air-conditioning unit, and also an additional tow bar.
  • Pre-set rules in the configurator mean that when a tow bar is selected, the additional labour costs to install the tow bar are also accounted for.
  • The configurator uses the information from each step to automate the creation of a Bill of Materials that factors in all components, labour and operational requirements.
  • The company has a clear picture of the costs involved and can provide an accurate quote to the customer for their configured product.

You can define dimensions of products, and costs of materials by each supplier, so that the configurator can calculate the cost of variations chosen, such as fence length, couch fabric, or vehicle paint colour. If a certain type of material is only available from one supplier in a limited range of colours, the if/then rules kick-in once that material is chosen to ensure only the relevant colour options are then selectable.

A well-implemented configurator module means any team member can easily guide a customer through the personalisation process, based on accurate information about available modifications and costs.

It automates the creation of a more complete BOM, allowing the production manager to quickly approve it so a work order can be produced and hit the production floor in a much shorter timespan. That means a faster turnaround and happier customers.

 

Can you afford not to get better at meeting customer demand?

Wouldn’t it be nice to increase your capacity to offer a high-value product and expand your customer base by meeting niche demand? Being able to customise both individual products and the complete buying experience is difficult without integrated technologies that underpin the way you operate, helping to automate and streamline interactions and processes.

Sage Enterprise Management allows you to skillfully handle the entire process from sales, purchasing, Material Requirements Planning (MRP), scheduling and control of the shop floor, through to inventory and distribution management, plus your overarching financial management and customer care.

Allowing for personalised options that add value to your bottom line, while continuing to maximise uptime and use of resources is within reach with Sage Enterprise Management.

Curious about how Sage Enterprise Management could help you improve the manufacture of goods on demand? Call 1300 045 046 or email info@leveragetech.com.au.

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