Smart Customisation in the manufacturing industry: the best of different worlds

Operations
IT
SAP
Discrete Manufacturing
Apr 07, 2021

As a manufacturer, how do you deal with product personalisation in a smart way? In a previous blog, we discussed a configure-to-order (CTO) approach as part of the solution, but the holy grail should be the transition to smart customisation.

More and more manufacturing companies are now opting for the transition to a configure-to-order (CTO) process. This enables customers to personalise products by choosing from configurable standard building blocks. The end goal is the ability to standardise customisation for all customers..

But that is not always enough to satisfy all specific customer requirements; customers often expect more. So, how do you ensure that customer-specific work really becomes part of your integral business process? With smart customisation, you go a step further by aligning the management of your product, the related processes, and automation.

Optimise building blocks through parameterisation

Parameterisation helps you to set up product management intelligently and is inextricably linked to process design and your IT automation.

In a CTO process,  customers build products from predefined configurable blocks. By adding parameters to these, they can make additional specific adjustments. For example, customers can adjust the length, width and height of a component themselves, so that they can configure a product that perfectly meets their specific needs within the standard possibilities.

Save on development with automation

When you make parametric adjustments possible within your configuration model, it is important that you can implement these automatically without product development. Fortunately, by applying smart customisation principles, this is made possible. For example, you can ensure that your 3D CAD model is automatically adjusted to the specified parameters so that product drawings immediately change along with them, within the possibilities you have specified.

A major advantage of this is that you do not have to add an item to your master data for each option. This means that you do not have to set up a new underlying process in your ERP system every time. The article data therefore remains the same, but changes along with the parametric values that even penetrate into the 3D CAD model and the drawings. As mentioned before, this high level of optimisation is only achieved through the combination of your product management, related processes and IT automation.

The best of different worlds

By standardising products and the related processes by at least ninety per cent, your customers and also your own organisation benefit from the advantages of standardisation. At the same time, you still have room to include very specific customer requirements automatically in the product via adjustable parameters. With smart customisation, you achieve enormous time savings, a high degree of automation and outstrip the competition.

The transition to smart customisation may be a big step for your organisation, and it is not something you can achieve within a few months. But we think this is the future of modern manufacturing. To learn how to steer this transition in the right direction, we will describe the process in detail in the next blog in this series.

This is the second blog in the three-part blog series: Smart customisation in manufacturing - how manufacturing companies survive and thrive in a rapidly changing market. 

Want to know more about how we help our manufacturing customers achieve smart customisation processes? Click below to download the whitepaper.

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