The KBMax team met up for three days of meetings in November on the cliffs of Dillon Beach, California. The weather was chilly but the discussions were brisk. We were excited to examine our strong growth in customers, headcount, and overall revenues in 2013. However, the bulk of the time was spent on defining our core as we look towards the future. (and eating some exceptional Parmigiano-Reggiano our Italian colleagues brought)
We are proud to announce that Oldcastle Enclosure Solutions (OES) has selected KBMax to implement configurators for their trench product lines. KBMax will improve the accuracy and speed of the design/quote process for these highly custom products.
We are proud to announce that Dynamic Closures (DC) has selected KBMax to implement configurators for their side folding, rolling, and roll & fold product lines. DC has been building innovative and easy to use security grilles and closures since 1975. Customers get DC products built to exact specifications. KBMax will improve the accuracy and speed of the design/quote process for these highly custom products.
KBMax recommends Mass Customization by David Gardner for any company interested in implementing a configurator. The book does a terrific job of explaining why businesses want to empower customers. The goal being to treat them as insiders that can select from an array of choices to purchase products that match their individualized needs. While this strategy can provide tremendous competitive advantage, it can wreak havoc on workflows.
We are proud to announce that Rodney Hunt-Fontaine (RHF) has selected KBMax to implement configurators for their engineer to order gates and valves. RHF has pioneered safe and reliable flow control systems throughout the world since 1840. KBMax will improve the accuracy and speed of the design/quote process for RHF sales and engineering users around the world.
Comparing business to real war can be silly, but the analogy can make sense. Manufacturers are locked in a battle with competitors to defeat them in market share, product quality, and profitability. While the stakes are never life and death, they can mean the end of careers and companies.Agility and innovation are crucial to winning, but it can be tough to evolve during battle. The best manufacturers instill a culture that constantly searches for improvement in products and processes. To quote management guru Peter Drucker, "The best way to predict the future is to create it."
All vendors agree the defined product rules are the core of any CPQ & configurator solution. Without this logic there is no configuration validation or accurate product designs. Where vendors differ greatly is on how those rules are programmed into their offerings. There is a troubling trend towards proprietary syntax that are marketed as user-friendly visual tools (like Visio-style charts). Betting on these rule builders is a dangerous game that can turn your configurator into an expensive pair of handcuffs.
Around half of our customers previously used some kind of in-house configurator before coming to KBMax. Those solutions range from simple excel macros to multi-year custom development projects. Some provide short term value before becoming unmanageable, while many never reach deployment. Building your own may seem like a faster and cheaper method than going with a configurator vendor, but the horror stories we tell a scarier tale that can cripple your business.
The Dallas Convention Center put on a Texas sized trade show for the Heating, Ventilation, A/C & Refrigeration (HVACR) industry. The KBMax team walked the floor to learn more about the industry and visit some current customers like Super Radiator Coils & Watts Water. There were about 2000 booths showing off a wide range of products from ceiling fans to giant compressor chillers. We gathered some significant takeaways from speaking with folks there.
You want the best CPQ & product configurator solution at the best price, but the evaluation process can be overwhelming and slow. Most vendors show you flashy demos and promise all the functionality you need (and plenty you don’t need.) How can you differentiate based on checking all those boxes in your scorecard? We have learned some valuable DO's and DON'Ts from our clients and especially potential customers we lost during their selection process. No two configurator projects are ever the same, but hopefully these tips can guide you towards making an informed and efficient choice.