Product-Configuration Tools Boost Best-in-Class Manufacturers, Aberdeen Reports

20 Apr, 2008

Solutions reportedly can lead to 80% improvement in product margins.

The Aberdeen Group has released a new report, Tailoring Products to Customer Preferences: Configuring Profits to Order, which is available free through May 27, 2008, to site users who register. The report was announced by RuleStream, a provider of standards-based engineering solutions. RuleStream sponsored the study after it was under way, but did not commission it, the company reports.

The Aberdeen report highlights how best-in-class technologies are helping custom-product manufacturers succeed in the marketplace. Companies using integrated sales, product, and manufacturing configurators report a "stunning average product-margin difference of up to 21%, or an improvement of 80%," when compared with their peers who do not use configurator solutions, the report states.

The report also found that manufacturers continue to turn to customization as a way to grow business. However, capturing and validating exactly what customers want while still delivering accurately quoted orders on time remains a challenge. Companies that are successfully addressing these complexities are reaping the benefits of higher revenues and improved product margins.

"Integrated design-automation technologies can generate new designs and downstream deliverables based on design rules and configurations," said Michelle Boucher, research analyst for Aberdeen Group's Product Innovation and Engineering practice. "The use of integrated design automation is an undeniable differentiator for best-in-class performance; 75% of the best-in-class engineer-to-order companies have design automation, compared to only 17% of industry average and 0% of laggards."

Robert Nierman, CEO of RuleStream, added, "RuleStream's enterprise-level solutions for product configuration and design automation are best of class in addressing the issues and challenges confronting assemble-to-order and engineer-to-order manufacturers. Our customers have experienced the referenced increased speed, accuracy, and profitability of both sales and order operations, as well as reduced operating expenses and lead times for custom products."