CPQ has gone retail. It is not enough that Amazon is offering shoppers same day delivery for a hundreds of thousands of items. Shoppers today expect companies to meet their every need and request in real-time. For most companies this poses a challenge.
Every option, every choice adds to the burden on both the retailer and the manufacturer. Traditionally, more choices lead to more inventory. More inventory leads to more parts and more variability in what has to be manufactured. More variability equals more mistakes, more errors and more dissatisfaction from the customers you are trying to please.
Mass Customization to the Rescue
Visual Configuration is not limited to sheds though, and I doubt you will find a Caterpillar D6 Bulldozer at Home Depot anytime soon. That said, Caterpillar has launched a marketing campaign around a new electric drive dozer (YES! Tesla meets dirt moving) leveraging visual Configuration. While Caterpillar is not going to be selling bulldozers with flames and racing stripes anytime soon, it will let you walk through a self-guided configuration and tour to build out your own personalized Dream Dozer.
The same tools and technology that allow a user to build out the shed of their choosing, allow them to select and configure real options on a newly launched D6 Bulldozer platform. Dealers and customers both have the opportunity to learn about a brand new technology, configure options to their liking and have fun doing it.
These are just two examples of how CPQ and mass customization are combining to change the marketplace. Traditional CPQ (Configure Price Quote) tools are built for business… more attune to cash registers and order forms than personalized, guided selling. Traditional CPQ systems also stop at the sales BOM (the list of items that a sales rep puts on an order form). This has always been the dream of mass customization. The simple, easy, and flawless custom production of a unit of 1.