5 Most Common Challenges When Configuring Complex Products

configuring complex products

With all of the competition out there, how do you make your company stand apart?

Competitive differentiation is one of the top three pressures facing manufacturers today. Offering higher quality products, faster, is one of the best ways to differentiate. Yet, as we discussed previously, simply manufacturing great products, digitizing production lines, and investing in better technologies isn’t enough in today’s digital world.

What’s more, over half of respondents to a study by the Aberdeen Group reported running into challenges trying to get an edge over the competition this way, citing numerous operational inefficiencies when designing, configuring, and fielding products (e.g., waste, delays, false starts, rework) that slowed down their organizations.

In the Age of the Customer, customers want exactly the right product at the right time to meet their unique requirements. And even though demands have become more complicated—and shift more frequently—customers want solutions even faster.

Complex Product Configuration Challenges

The difficulty of supplying more personalized products faster is compounded when your products are highly complex, especially when it comes to configuring, pricing, and quoting those products through varied, highly distributed channels.

Here are five of the most common challenges experienced by businesses that offer these types of products.

1. Misconfigurations

Existing sales and order fulfillment processes are error-prone, with miscalculations and misconfigurations that result in lost revenue and dissatisfied customers.

2. Costly Errors

Outdated systems for configuring, pricing, discounting, and quoting inevitably lead to pernicious errors that affect all participants, from sales and fulfillment to finance—and frequently flow right to the bottom line.

3. Hindered Sales

Complex product catalogs and potential configurations challenge sales teams and channel partners to stay informed and up-to-date. This can be time away from uncovering and landing new opportunities.

4. Blocked Transformation

Siloed CRM, SFA, and ERP systems and practices, or just outdated technologies (e.g. fax, calculators, and spreadsheets or aging, homegrown, and/or legacy systems), create countless inefficiencies and can block forward progress.

5. Stifled Data-Based Decisions

Lack of visibility across all departments when timely product and configuration information is tied to successful sales means business, product, price, and sales decisions may be ill-informed.

These are significant challenges. But when manufacturers have the means of controlling the “devil in the details” when selling the complex products customers demand, they are well positioned to seize new opportunities faster than the competition.

Enter CPQ Solutions

Thankfully, modern CPQ for manufacturing applications can simplify the selling process and add value by:

  • Accommodating changing enterprise applications and infrastructure
  • Harnessing today’s manufacturing product complexity
  • Using a platform-agnostic engine that sources, manages, and harmonizes data from any front and back end system
  • Delivering great omnichannel experiences to both buyers and sellers
  • Increasing the accuracy of proposals, quotes, and delivered configurations
  • Being easy to install, update, and maintain

Ready to learn more about how the right CPQ solution can help you better configure complex products and differentiate from the competition? Check out our new eBook below.

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Matt Noyes

Matt Noyes

Matt is the Director of Product Marketing at FPX. He focuses on the evolution of CPQ from a traditional sales tool to one that delivers value across the enterprise.

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