Compressed air is the fuel for countless industrial processes. Therefore, it is all the more important that the plant producing it is perfectly designed for the process, size and required performance. Otherwise energy may be wasted or the reserve capacity not fully utilised, leading to an inefficient and unreliable operation. In this complex area, the sales representatives at BOGE KOMPRESSOREN are now in a position to tailor quotations on the spot to fit each of these requirements perfectly. We spoke with Thorsten Meier, CEO at BOGE KOMPRESSOREN, who told us about what has changed in comparison to the previous quotation process, and the advantages of the optimised process.
Customer benefits at a glance:
- Quick and individual quotations
- Availability overview and access to up-to-date prices and payment terms
- Attractive and uniform quotation design worldwide
- Intuitive operation and user interface in BOGE corporate design
- Quick access to suitable configurable material (KMAT)
- SAP-compliant configuration
- Offline use, availability for in-house and field staff
- Extensive data exchange with SalesAssistant (Lotus Notes)
- Automatic updating
BOGE KOMPRESSOREN has made a name for itself around the globe with its system solutions for compressed air supply. In Germany, this innovative family company is a market leader in the industry; International customers are served locally by numerous BOGE sales offices and subsidiaries. They supply products and systems to more than 120 countries worldwide. The international business places high demands on its IT landscape. “Today, reliable and economical compressed air generation and supply can be configured to precisely meet individual needs “says Meier. To meet these requirements the company wanted to provide the sales staff with an easy-to-use software that allowed a new, integrated sales approach: data maintenance, product configuration, and the preparation of tailor-made, clearly structured quotations with SAP R/3 as the main system. As head of Controlling and Information Management, Meier decided to invest in new software and was particularly interested in a high return on investment (ROI).
This international family-owned company has almost 630 employees, around 400 of them at its head office in Bielefeld. The company is headed by Wolf D. Meier-Scheuven and Thorsten Meier. International customers are served locally by numerous BOGE sales offices and subsidiaries. They supply products and systems to more than 120 countries worldwide.
Thorsten Meier worked closely with encoway to successfully implement the project. Encoway specialises in the optimisation of marketing, sales and engineering processes in industrial companies that produce and supply complex, multi-variant products. “The new system for quotation preparation contains three main elements: sellAIR, developed together with encoway, SAP and Lotus Notes”, says Meier. The object dependencies of the products and system solutions from BOGE are maintained centrally in SAP R/3. Product data and logic are imported from SAP R/3 and used in sellAIR for the preparation of individual customer quotations. The application sellAIR makes a quick search for suitable configurable material (KMAT) possible and ensures a reliable configuration of products and solutions. “The Sales staff can manage day-to-day business via the catalogue, search with the product configurator, and also generate special products and complete systems” says Meier.
“Today, reliable and economical compressed air generation and supply can be configured to precisely meet individual needs”
BOGE had been using a self-programmed JAVA-based configurator as a tool for quotation preparation since the middle of the 1990s. With this tool, sales staff at BOGE were able to select standard products from the catalogue and transfer the data into a quotation document. This work flow ended, however, as soon as special products and plants were involved. The configurator did not recognize them and could therefore not offer them as a solution. In addition to this, the data had to be maintained twice: All technical data input, part lists and commodity prices had to be entered into both the quotation tool and SAP. “The double bookkeeping involved excessive personnel effort for data maintenance” explains Meier. “The individually programmed configurator was used by the BOGE salesforce for 11 years. It took us a long time to decide to transfer the existing functions of our old quotation tool into a new system that only accesses one data source and provides additional applications” says Meier.
One important requirement was the central maintenance of the object dependencies of the products and system solutions in SAP. The software had to make easy access for the configurable material (KMAT) possible and guarantee a secure configuration. “As a rule, the employees use the quotation tool offline on their laptops before and after the customer meeting. They need quick and secure access to the products and system solutions” says Meier. Ergonomic handling was another important criterion. BOGE wanted optimum user guidance. “The generation of quotation documents also had to be improved. The goal was to prepare quotations with a clear structure with a visually appealing layout.”
“The new system for quotation preparation contains three main elements: SellAir, developed together with encoway, SAP and Lotus Notes”
Customer data and discounts are transferred by an interface from Lotus Notes SalesAssistant. The sales staff at BOGE can use the quotation tool sellAIR offline on their laptops. The sellAIR user interface has been adapted to match the BOGE KOMPRESSOREN corporate design and is available in German and English. As regards product maintenance, the configurator’s performance has now been expanded. Is it not only possible to select machines and their components from the catalogue, but also services (for example commissioning) and complementary products (such as SIM cards for remote monitoring smartphones). The catalogue currently contains over 600 products.
sellAIR, the application developed for BOGE, is based on encoway standard modules and supports the generation of attractively designed quotation documents combined with automated data transfer. And in addition, encoway’s software links the proven functionality of Microsoft Word with the corresponding systems.
Templates for various document types can be easily set up and made available. BOGE can import the corresponding quotation data to Word from SAP R/3 at the touch of a button. On this basis the sales department can prepare clear, consistent comprehensive quotation documents, or process them further. Product images, technical drawings and additional boilerplates can also be integrated. At BOGE, the user accesses a text database to prepare a suitable quotation. For short quotes, a shorter text is available, and for detailed quotations, the required technical documents are generated as attachments. Longer, product-specific texts are generated dynamically by the software. “The handling of documents has been improved and made easier by the new software” says Meier. The quotation texts can be accessed in various languages. Even during use, the language can be changed to generate a suitable quotation document. The technical units can be set to metric or imperial.
Over time, BOGE has been able to expand its new infrastructure with minimal effort. With the sellAIR-builder, it is now possible to create around eight different client versions for the complete salesforce at the touch of a button. It distinguishes between the various applicable price lists and the associated sales documents in the appropriate language. In 2012, the online variant sellairweb at BOGE.com was added for dealers and partners, complementing the offline sales tool sellAir for the sales organisation.
BOGE had been looking for a SAP-compatible system for a long time. “Our research showed that from our point of view, encoway is the leading company when it comes to connectivity with SAP” says Meier. The positive feedback from the drive manufacturer LENZE, which together with encoway, continually optimises its sophisticated tools to simplify selection and drive solution design, also speaks for encoway. “In the benchmarking of price and function, encoway performed particularly well. The time that we spent on double data maintenance in the past was paid for in hard cash. We had to maintain the data in the quotation tool and in SAP. The investment in this better solution has paid for itself quickly and we have saved money.” To find out what functions the software had to fulfil for the BOGE sales department, a workshop was held with encoway. “The employees at encoway were committed to getting the development right, which we really liked. Together, we collected ideas about what components would be suitable for the new solution.”
“The sales staff can manage day-to-day business via the catalogue, search with tht configurator, and also generate special products and completet systems”
The sales staff responded positively to the new configuration and quotation tool. During an in-house presentation, the solution was introduced and the employees got to try out two quotations on their laptops. “And this worked really well” says Meier. “Our employees had been using a quote generation tool for some time. We didn’t even have to convince them about how good it was, because they were all so excited that they were getting something new”.