Posts Tagged ‘Manufacturer’

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How can you manage multiple Vendors and your entire Channel more efficiently?

November 30, 2016

email2_09Configuring, Pricing, and Quoting products from multiple Vendors can be a challenge for any Distributor or Reseller. Now you can manage them with a single tool and shorten your quote-to-order cycle, ensure quote accuracy and align your go-to-market strategies.

Multi-Vendor Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Software can manage all of your product data feeds, configuration rules, pricing and stock for all of your chosen Vendors’ product lines.

With Multi-Channel capability it can be used by your internal sales/technical/product teams, your customers and even your customers’ own customers!

Freebird CPQ Software, developed by channelcentral.net is a service which offers Multi-Vendor, Multi-Channel and multiple product types too.  Watch our latest video to learn more about Freebird.

To discuss Freebird, contact us today. CPQ solutions from channelcentral will save your company money on IT expenditure, whilst increasing the efficiency of your sales teams and your eCommerce reach with your customers.

Visit http://www.channelcentral.net/freebird.asp

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You want to show stock in your Configurator. That must be easy right?

October 24, 2016

shutterstock_17837185For ex-stock sales showing stock (inventory) in a Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) tool offers a better chance of a “right first time” quotation. In Sales, how often has a solution been created but has to be re-worked and re-worked at great expense because it can’t be shipped in time?

Customer expectations are high and in some geographies same or next day deliveries are considered normal. One of the reasons factory configuration (aka configure to order) business models that were popular at the start of the millennium in the IT Channel are not as common anymore.

Surfacing stock should be easy. With our experience we know it’s not as easy as you’d think.

CPQ: a separate system
It’s very rare for an ERP system to be able to offer CPQ capabilities that exactly match the business or technical complexity. So stock has to be “fed” to the CPQ system. Today that almost certainly means a web service as even hourly text files can be out of date. A business turning over stock every two weeks in volume or value terms is shipping a lot of products per hour and it only takes 1 part from 10 to be sold to invalidate a configuration.

Web services are real-time and with the best programming techniques stock figures can cascade in once a page has loaded, to improve performance and handle complex configurations that have hundreds or even thousands of parts.

Pulling stock through in tandem with price makes sense so this is often a single process.

Stock is Stock
Well surprisingly not. At any stage a Manufacturer or Distributor may have orders placed on their suppliers so there’s what is in stock, plus what is on order. Then add in expected due dates so the user can accurately forecast when a configuration can be shipped. Sometimes products in constraint have “back orders” or “forward due date orders”. So the due quantity isn’t the amount on order it’s the amount after back/forward orders.

Imagine losing a sales opportunity today for 50 units when you have 5000 units arriving in the warehouse tomorrow.

Bundles
The concept of bundles is usually associated with promotional discounts so buy these 5 products together and get a better price. In addition, bundles also exist where “large deal” price lists are in place where all products must be ordered from one supplier on a single invoice. It doesn’t stop there though: for large geographies stock exists in multiple warehouses so to build a configuration, all the items have to be in the same location otherwise the shipping is a) more expensive b) slower. Lastly, some countries have complex tax laws and to pay the “correct” tax, products have to ship from specific locations.

Virtual Stock & Electronic Licenses
If you are a Reseller that carries some stock but can buy from multiple sources, you have the advantage of being able to show “aggregate” stock numbers but be careful not to fall foul to the Bundle rules that may be in play. Also some products are ALWAYS in stock as they are basically licenses or services delivered via an email. So your user interface needs to make it clear that they are ALWAYS available not ALWAYS out of stock.

Visual Aids
New word for the dictionary: shippability. Show products in the basket that can ship now in green and those that can’t in red. OK that makes sense. Especially if the “electronically” delivered parts are also green. The user can instantly see the entire configuration is shippable. You will also want your CPQ tool to update shippabillity in a quote that was created 2 weeks ago. If a product can’t be stock refreshed warn the user.

Still think showing stock is easy? Well it’s not impossible. All of channelcentral’s CPQ tools cope well with ALL of the complexities laid out here. If you are having issues managing stock for your Channel contact us to hear about the different CPQ tools that we can offer.

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Why work with channelcentral?

February 24, 2016

New Video Release.

There is an increasing amount of ‘noise’ about CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote)Software as industries start to appreciate the value of such powerful tools. When there is so much noise it can be difficult to decide which software provider will work best for your needs.

channelcentral has made the decision a little bit easier since we are 100% focussed on the IT Channel. So if you have complex products to sell that you want to sell more of and your business either Manufactures or Distributes IT products you should read on!

Understanding your business needs by specialising in one industry is great but there are lots of other reasons to both consider CPQ Software and channelcentral. We have created this short video to efficiently explain why you should work with us – there are many more services on offer than you may think…

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If you think that channelcentral has a service you may be looking for then get in touch by email at interested@channelcentral.net for an informal discussion.

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What is a Configurator?

September 4, 2015

Configurators can be used in many different industries in a B2B or B2C context. They are probably most commonly known in the car industry for buyers to customize their purchase with tinted windows, sports seats, low profile tyres etc. Essentially, a configurator is a piece of software that acts as a design tool to build a desired solution. Configurators are being used throughout the sales cycle whether that be the Manufacturer, Reseller or End User. Here are just a few reasons why:

  • Organizations become more efficient as the sales cycle becomes shorter due to fewer touch points, reducing the strain on resources.
  • Reduces order errors. Built in validation rules means the configurator gets solutions right, every time.
  • Faster Product Life-Cycles with a rapid route to market.
  • Invaluable reporting – Learn everything about how a customer shops and measure trends.
  • Increase Revenue – Upsell potential is greater as the software can provide prompts during the configuration and a larger number of sales will be made as sales teams will have more time.
  • Provide a more personal service to your customers by treating them as individuals who want a bespoke solution.

Increasingly, configurators are being used in the IT Channel. They are the perfect solution to upgrade system components, swap out an Operating System, select optional upgrades and add in additional warranty for example. A configurator doesn’t need to just end there however. Imagine a software package that also gives you Real-Time pricing/stock and not only allows you to produce a quotation but also make a purchase to place an order. This is now possible and is known as Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ) Software.

Here at channelcentral, we have built our business developing Configure, Price, Quote Software for the IT Channel. We are experts in our field and can provide ‘off the shelf’ CPQ Software which can be customized or we can develop you your very own solution. Better still, our CPQ software can be fully integrated into your ecommerce or CRM systems.

Consider how a Configurator could help your business grow … it could be more valuable than you think.

For further information on Configurators visit: http://www.channelcentral.net/system-configurators.asp