For over 15 years now, encoway has had one of the most powerful configurators on the market. The product configuration software is based on concepts drawn from AI (Artificial Intelligence) research, and can help the user to find the right variants interactively, quickly and securely.
Media-neutral dependencies – sustainable knowledge management
The encoway approach is “modelling instead of programming”. Instead of elaborately programming the dependencies of complex products, factual connections are modelled. In this way, the variant knowledge of a company is sustainably secured and made available to all those involved.
In an interactive dialogue with the user, the appropriate variant is then configured based on a set of questions. The advantage of the encoway approach is that the dependencies are modelled on a media-neutral basis. You are thus able to respond to individual users and differing prerequisites. Users with prior knowledge and experts are provided with, for example, more design flexibility and a higher degree of freedom in configuration. Inexperienced users are guided more thoroughly through the configuration process.
Super BOM or class-based product configuration
For the mapping of complex, configurable products, there are two strategies. The first, the use of Super BOMs, is widely used. This strategy has continually proven itself in practical use. There are, however, many tasks where a mere BOM configuration is not enough. One practical example: a conveying track in the field of intralogistics cannot be mapped as a BOM, because in theory, the number of required modules can be infinite. And the variance per module cannot easily be mapped in the form of a BOM.
In cases like these, encoway uses AI research methods to realise class-based, multi-level models. Here, a modular approach is employed that is also used in object-oriented software design. Large-scale, difficult-to-maintain models are thus avoided. Instead, smaller and reusable modules that build on one another are created. Using intelligent inheritance hierarchies, the maintenance effort for these models can also be significantly reduced.
Product – system – application
Configurators are there to help people find the right products quickly and securely. There are hardly any users who are experts on the entire portfolio. But every user is an expert when it comes to their own requirements. So this is the best starting point. The modularisation of knowledge makes it possible to describe complete systems, i.e. viable combinations of several products or applications based on the product models. Put yourself in your user’s shoes, and create application models based on their issues. No longer ask “what do you want?”, but instead ask “what do you want to be able to do?”. The configurator will thus become your relationship manager and your client will thank you!