Sustainability is a topic that has been relevant for many years now, and it will continue to be increasingly important for manufacturing companies in the future. The political climate, changing customer behaviour and new demands on suppliers are forcing companies to respond to this issue. One possible response is to make sales more sustainable as well, with green configuration.
What exactly is green configuration?
Up to now, sales departments have offered their customers the most suitable product for their requirements. Today, this process is already supported in many companies with a product configurator.
Green configuration is a product configuration system that has been expanded to include sustainability. With green configuration, the various aspects of sustainability are made visible for the first time. In addition, a configuration can be optimised with regard to sustainability criteria, thus saving resources in production and during operation. This makes it easy to find the most sustainable variants of your products and offer them to the customer.
Sustainability has become an important social issue. From a business perspective, the term Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is particularly relevant. After all, companies themselves also want to – and indeed must – assume responsibility for today’s society and the society of the future. Not only are their customers increasingly demanding it, but ecological production with a view to saving resources is often already one of the goals of many companies. Not only are their customers increasingly demanding it, but ecological production with a view to saving resources is often already one of the goals of many companies.
Companies are also increasingly being held to account by current legislation. CSR reporting requirements have been in place for some companies since 2017. “The aim of the directive is in particular to increase transparency about environmental and social aspects of companies in the EU. This involves information on environmental, social and employee issues as well as respect for human rights and the fight against corruption and bribery,” writes the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (BMAS).
In addition, there are increasing obligations for energy efficiency labels that take into account entire systems instead of individual components, for example for heating systems and DIN EN 61800-9 for drive systems and power electronics. It is obvious that legislation is becoming more and more stringent. These regulations can often only be adhered to with time-consuming individual calculations or with the help of a configurator.
Employees also want sustainability
It is, however, not only external pressure that is increasing. Employees as well are placing more and more value on working for a company that operates sustainably. For example, 56 percent of schoolchildren and apprentices consider the issue of climate protection to be very important. In addition, more than 47 percent say that they look for climate and environmental protection in an employer (according to the “Azubi-Recruiting Trends 2020”* study).
Especially with regard to the shortage of skilled workers in plant and mechanical engineering (and also in general), it becomes clear that the topic of sustainability should be taken seriously not only because of political pressure. Sustainability is also becoming an increasingly relevant aspect when it comes to attracting young talent to your company.
What can green configuration do for sustainability?
The first step in committing to sustainability is making the sustainability data visible. For example, the water consumption of a particular piece of machinery and the energy efficiency classes of individual components must be shown. In the second step, this data often needs to be aggregated. The figures must therefore be added together for systems, for example, or compared with each other. This is the only way that you can comply with legal requirements.
Especially when it comes to making sustainability aspects visible right from the start of the sales process, CPQ software (Configure – Price – Quote) can make an important contribution. However, with CPQ, you can do much more than simply show sustainability data: you are also able to work with the data. Through green configuration, you can select the most sustainable product and compare the different alternatives based on sustainability aspects.
What can encoway CPQ do for you?
Below are some examples to give you an idea of how encoway CPQ can support you in the field of sustainability.
Resource-saving product configuration
With the help of a product configurator, only what your customers really need is sold and produced. You can assemble individual products and do not need to keep unnecessary products in stock – (“batch size 1”). In addition, our product configurator can only be used to assemble buildable products, the functionality of which is ensured. As a result, no faulty products will be manufactured and the sales department will not be constantly bombarding production with enquiries. This saves you time, energy and resources in the production process.
Presentation of sustainability data
With encoway CPQ, you can, for example, configure a machine. The configuration system will then not only provide a quotation and a parts list, but the energy consumption of the machine can also be displayed. So you and your customers will know at a glance how much water, electricity and other resources the machine consumes during operation.
Comparison of sustainability data
In addition to simply presenting the individual sustainability data, the figures can, of course, also be compared with each other. Does your customer want to know how much more efficient the new drive is compared to the old one? Then a comparison using the configuration is no problem. This means that you and your customers know at a glance, for example, which engine is more efficient – without having to spend a great deal of time searching for data in the documentation. For example, you can quickly find the most sustainable variant of a product.
Products optimised for sustainability
With encoway CPQ, you can not only compare the individual sustainability aspects with each other, but also select the most sustainable aspects right from the configuration stage. Guided Selling guides you step by step through the configuration. You can enter your requirements in the configurator and automatically optimise the configuration to take into account sustainability aspects. In this way, you are able to easily configure the ideal and most sustainable solution for your requirements.
Configuration of energy efficiency labels
Do you know the energy efficiency values for your individual components, but not those of a system configuration based on them? Ultimately, your customers want an energy efficiency label for the entire system or machine and not just for the individual components. In addition, in many areas there is also an obligation to issue energy efficiency labels for entire systems (for example interconnected heating systems). With our configuration software, you can simultaneously configure the required energy efficiency labels with ease.
Standing out from the competition – the sustainability score
With encoway CPQ you not only offer your own employees the option of displaying sustainability data and working together with you. You can also present the sustainability aspects to your customers in a fully transparent way. With a web configurator on your website, your customers are able to easily configure products themselves and also to optimise them with regard to sustainability. Or you can provide your customers with their own sustainability score. This allows your clients to, for example, assess for themselves on your website without the need for support or expertise whether machine A or B is more sustainable.
Designing sustainable configuration flexibly – everything depends on the data basis
In addition to the above examples, encoway CPQ can also help you to present and use sustainability data in other areas. Everything always depends on the available data, which is often highly industry-specific. This can usually be seamlessly integrated into encoway CPQ.
For our environment, for your customers and employees, and to comply with current legislation, it is becoming increasingly important that you not only act sustainably, but also actively demonstrate sustainability. This is the only way that companies will be able to prevail over their competitors in the future.
Want to learn more about sustainability and CPQ?
Then feel free to contact us. You know your requirements and we know the