Schulte Elektrotechnik: Individual quotations in 70% less time

With the help of the configurator, the sales staff are able to create individual quotations in an instant – a time saving of around 70%. And for the first time, the documents are of a consistently high quality and have a uniform design. The patented, modular EVOline systems from Schulte Elektrotechnik are high-quality power strips with integrated project-specific connections for energy media, data media and multimedia. Thanks to the software from encoway, the sales staff are able to generate quotations and orders for these tailor-made products quickly and in accordance with the requirements.

Customer benefits at a glance:
 

  • 70% faster quotations
  • Integrated structural analysis
  • Technical and commercially correct quotation documents
  • Quotation documents with uniform layout and design
  • Automatic transfer of product data from SAP
  • Automatic transfer of order data to SAP ERP
  • Dynamic image generation showing length
  • Time savings for the sales and construction departments
  • Independent maintenance of product data and document templates
  • Simple intuitive operation

The software extracts product data from SAP ERP together with the commercial design of the quotation. In addition, the sales team can grant individual discounts on the basis of customer discount data in SAP. During the process, a dynamic display with an indication of the length shows the processing progress and thus significantly increases the ease of use.

Complex products put together according to customer requirements are a particular challenge for the Sales Department. Software-based sales tools from encoway quickly provide information about suitable products that have been tested for manufacturability. The standard modules of the quotation software, adapted to Schulte’s requirements, also quickly provide the sales staff with extensive, well-prepared product information. The salesforce thus gains valuable time for the customer, and time and effort is also saved by the office and construction staff who can now concentrate more on value-added processes.

„The time necessary for quotation preparation was reduced by 70% on average.“

User reports

Schulte has been using the quotation software since August 2010. “The internal sales department was the first to adopt the EVOline product configurator,” reports Manfred Aulmann, Head of Construction at Schulte Elektrotechnik. “The customer requirements are shown very clearly in the configuration solution and our employees have quickly become familiar with the programme and its options. The time necessary for quotation preparation was reduced by 70% on average. And we save even more time because the construction department no longer has to be consulted.” A version for the salesforce has also been active since late 2010.


Customer information

Schulte Elektrotechnik GmbH & Co. KG is active worldwide with more than 30 sales partners. At its home site in Lüdenscheid, the production facility, with around 150 employees, has a high degree of vertical integration and a large proportion of manual work, guaranteeing the highest quality of workmanship. The development team of creative engineers puts the EVOline philosophy into practise in the form of patentable products and systems: decentralised power distribution, and local switching and protection against errors at the source location.


Initial situation

Before the introduction of the encoway software, the preparation of quotations was far more time consuming for the sales staff at Schulte Elektrotechnik. Customers either had to put together their desired solution based on information in printed catalogues or were given recommendations by the sales staff or trading partners. The office staff had to check the customer requests and, if necessary, asked the construction department to look into the feasibility. The quotation was then faxed to the customer. The quality and appearance of these elaborate, manually prepared documents were dependent on the employee processing the request. The quotations were often revised, corrected and rewritten before they were faxed as orders to Schulte and handed over to production. Typical sources of error were the many steps involved transferring data, and handwritten alterations. This was extremely time-consuming for the construction and sales departments. An optimisation of the quotation preparation process was essential for the long-term growth strategy.

The task

Schulte was therefore looking for a software service provider that was able to supply a complex product configurator. Following a selection process, encoway was chosen, because the Bremen company best understood the challenges and showed reference projects documenting the excellent integration with SAP ERP. Parallel to the configuration solution, Schulte also introduced SAP as their main software system. The main objective with the new quotation software was to create technically and commercially accurate quotation documents with a uniform layout and design. The company wanted to reduce the workload for the construction department and stem the flood of enquiries from the sales partners.

„90 percent of orders have been processed with the configurator since it was introduced."

Solution

encoway implemented the configurator especially for the EVOline® range of products. The EVOline product configurator guides the user through the entire quotation process – from selecting or adding a customer, project or quotation, to individual product configuration and processing the results together with the price calculation. If an order is placed, the order data is generated and forwarded to SAP for processing. Using the product configurator is easy. Users select an EVOline profile in the desired colour, and equip it with the required modules, for example energy and data connectors or audio outputs and emergency stop switches. The software shows the current size of the model during the configuration and generates an image that shows the processing progress. The result is tested for feasibility and the fixed prices are calculated. The quotation documents created are commercially correct and attractively designed. A customer, project and quotation management system with search and sort functions helps to ensure fast handling.

„Customer requirements are shown very clearly in the configuratoin solution...“

Tailored to user needs

encoway’s software solutions are designed for intuitive operation. The developers take great care to limit the input to as few steps as possible. There are short loading times, and input can be quickly cancelled or amended. To get started even quicker, pre-configured standard products can be accessed by entering item numbers. The range of functions is defined on a user-specific basis, so only internal sales, for example, has full access to the data and can create documents in SAP. The salesforce, however, who access the configuration functions including pricing via a VPN interface, cannot create orders in SAP and are only able to access and process information about their own customers. The graphic representation of the results is ideal for the user: a photorealistic image for an attractive visual impression or a technical drawing that can also be used for production.

„ ...our employees have quickly become familiar with the programme and its options.“

Following training by encoway, Schulte itself maintains the product-specific knowledge necessary for a correct technical configuration and prepares and processes document templates independently. As a further option, the multilingual use of the configurator is being prepared. The technical basis already exists in the encoway solution, and translations can be fed in. The multilingualism also benefits sales partners abroad. Furthermore, Schulte is now in a position to convert quotations compiled in German into a foreign language at the touch of a button.