J.D. Edwards has released its latest Advanced Order Configurator, a CRM application that allows sales reps and customers to visualize different variations of a specific product before an order is placed.
Key features in this new release include a point-and-click Rules Manager, enhanced support for AutoCAD software and the ability to work disconnected from the network.
“J.D. Edwards has sensed the configuration market well,” AMR Research senior analyst Louis Columbus told CRM Buyer Magazine.
Product configurators, which can be used for any number of manufacturing strategies from mass customization to assemble-to-order to design-to-order, have become a key application in most supply chain strategies and — as these applications develop tighter links to the point of sale — increasingly in customer service operations. AMR Research figures show that configuration can streamline order workflows by 30 percent and can increase order accuracy by 50 percent on average.
Players in Configuration
Pure-play providers in this space include Unigraphics and Enovia. ERP vendors also offer this functionality, including SAP and its product lifecycle management (PLM) module; Baan, which recently extended its PLM application into its CRM suite; and, of course, J.D. Edwards.
In previous versions of its configurator product, J.D. Edwards offered integration with AutoCAD from vendor AutoDesk. In this version, it has expanded the AutoCAD compatibility to include file size compression, new support for multi-document generation and double-click editing, and new support for end-user customization.
Other new features include a point-and-click Rules Manager — which lets users manage, subtract, delete and edit combination rules with a table instead of a complex code-based configuration — and automated catalog translation capabilities, which allow remote users, such as sales reps in the field, to review images and verify product configurations from desktops and laptops outside of a network
Spurred by Dell
Product configurators first made their appearance in the 1980s, mainly in homegrown applications. By the 1990s, they had become commonplace, in large part spurred by Dell Computer’s build-to-order business model.
For the most part, configurators came into play in the supply chain after a product was designed. New iterations of these applications, though, are meant to be used throughout a product’s lifecycle — especially at the point of sale.