Everyone is talking about digitisation at the moment. Teckentrup, however, turns words into action. The East Westphalian company focuses on product configurators that automate sales processes and thus simplify and accelerate them in a sustainable way. The much sought-after specialist for doors and gates thus enables its customers to put together sophisticated solutions individually, quickly and without errors.
Customer benefits at a glance:
- Automation of the entire process chain for standard products reduces time, costs and staffing requirements for manufacturers and dealers
- Fast, simple and central data maintenance is possible without external support
- Continuous plausibility checks ensure accurate pricing and technical correctness
- Trade partners are able to work independently with the configurator and design their products and quotations individually, for example in relation to the discounts and the appearance of the documents
When dealers, contractors or processors are looking for doors or gates that exactly match their requirements, they know they can always rely on Teckentrup. Thanks to its innovative drive and high quality standards, the company is one of the largest manufacturers of doors and gates in Europe. Around 900 employees at the Verl and Großzöberitz locations are committed to the success of the company founded in 1932. Teckentrup serves the global demand for its high-quality solutions via subsidiaries and partners.
Configurator ensures accurate pricing and technical correctness
In the past, Teckentrup presented its portfolio exclusively via catalogues and price lists. When searching for a particular door, for example, the retailer had to sift through around 300 pages, note the selection and create a quote on this basis. „Errors crept in again and again, for example because the retailer had miscalculated or because the selected combinations were not technically possible. This of course hurts the retailer, because there are sometimes costly complaints, or their margins and thus the profit are inadequate” explains Benjamin Müller, who in his role as Product Owner is responsible for Teckentrup’s product configurators and, together with his team of five, drives their further development. The manual processing also costs a great deal of time and ties up valuable human resources – not just on the part of the trade partners. Without the use of a configurator, Teckentrup’s sales staff also have their hands full answering queries, checking and correcting the technical details of the inquiries, creating quotations, confirming orders and forwarding the details to the production team.
“A product configurator is essential to ... keep up with both the competition and the requirements of the customer”
Some time ago, Teckentrup already provided digital support for sales of its garage and industrial doors via configurators. Encouraged by the success in this field, it was decided to follow this with a configuration solution for doors. This is not only the most complex segment for Teckentrup, but also the largest. It was therefore particularly important to provide quotes for these products in a market-oriented and state-of-the-art way to ensure that customer expectations were met. “A product configurator is essential to help shape the digital age and in order to keep up with both the competition and the requirements of the customer” explains owner and managing director Kai Teckentrup.
With its production plants in Verl-Sürenheide and Großzöberitz and its 900 employees, Teckentrup GmbH & Co. KG is one of the largest manufacturers of doors and gates in Europe. The third generation, owner-managed medium-sized family business, is especially committed to quality, design and service. The continuous improvement of products and the development of new technologies are standard business practice for Teckentrup.
A central platform for all products
In early 2017, the internal preparations for the introduction of a comprehensive configuration solution began. As their partner for the implementation, Teckentrup chose encoway, the experts for the marketing of modular products and variant management in machine and component construction, and in related industries. Benjamin Müller: “We were impressed not only by encoway’s products and solutions for web configuration, data maintenance and document generation, but also by the work methodology, which, like us, is agile and therefore perfectly suits our approach. This was an essential prerequisite for us to be able to implement our product configurator as quickly as possible, and thus ensure our competitiveness in the new, digital world of work.”
“We are able to carry out updates quickly and cheaply and to utilise saving and scaling options, especially in the ordering processes.”
The objective was to create a platform for all the products and thus to bring all the data together in one central location. “We also wanted to be able to access the information that we already have in our SAP system and be able to reuse it seamlessly” says Benjamin Müller, adding: “This has ensured that the data maintenance effort is as low as possible. We are able to carry out updates quickly and cheaply and to utilise saving and scaling options, especially in the ordering processes.” They also had the other advantages of digital services in mind. “With a product configurator, customers are also able to reach us outside our opening hours, thus providing them with the flexibility they require.”
Customer centricity is one of Teckentrup’s strategic pillars. And this is precisely how the company approached the conception of its product configurator. Instead of simply thinking about what the customer might need, clients were asked directly what they wanted and were actively involved in the development of the solution. Among other things, a group of test customers continuously tested the prototypes for their suitability and practical benefits. The result was named TEO: Teckentrup Easy Online. The name says it all: “The user interface and user guidance are kept as simple as possible to ensure that the configurator leads quickly and reliably to the desired result, without the user requiring any previous knowledge”, says Benjamin Müller.
The ongoing plausibility check ensures that only accurately priced and technically correct combinations are generated. In addition, the dealer, who has accessed TEO via a log-in area on the Teckentrup website has a customisation option. In this way they are not only able to manage and save their processes independently, but can also store customer-specific data such as delivery addresses and conditions and make subsequent changes via reconfiguration. At the end of the configuration – which is also possible on a tablet – the dealer is not only able to provide their customer with a specific price. TEO also provides them with the right quotation documents, which can be customised with additional elements such as the company logo, terms and conditions and other legal information. The package is rounded off by dimensioned and highly detailed drawings that contain all the important technical details and which are automatically created for each new configuration, as well as the order overview as an Excel list to be used for comparison and approval in the contract business.
Since TEO was launched in spring 2018, Teckentrup has experienced a continuous increase in customer satisfaction. “In the past, some of the processes were like a game of ping pong. The quotations sometimes went back and forth between the customers and our office staff until they eventually fitted. Now, however, our customers are able to work independently and from anywhere they chose, and can reach their objective much faster” says Benjamin Müller. And this works across the entire process chain: with just a few clicks, the door is configured. Orders and confirmation of receipt are just a few minutes away from each other, and the order confirmation including the delivery dates follows just little later – and all of this without any errors. Less effort saves time and thus personnel. “While some customers used to require half an hour to compile a door, now with TEO, it can usually be done in less than five minutes. This reduces the time required for order processing meaning that the employees are free to concentrate on other tasks.”
Teckentrup itself also benefits from this freeing up of capacity, because standard orders are forwarded to SAP fully automatically without any manual checking and transferred directly to a SAP order. “We are able to reduce our process costs because the effort for updates is reduced, and with standard solutions the entire process from configuration to production is automated as much as possible. As a result, a great deal of capacity is freed up for our back-office staff, who are thus able to concentrate more on providing advice on special solutions. This means that thanks to TEO, we can process more orders and contracts without requiring additional staff. This is an important aspect in view of the severe shortage of skilled workers in our region”. TEO is really impressive. “The product configurator has proved extremely popular with our customers. Without this solution, we would very probably have lost customers, or not been able to win new ones, meaning less sales”, explains Benjamin Müller. However, the successful launch would prove to be just the beginning. “For us, TEO is the foundation for a digital platform with which we also want to map offerings such as after-sales services, for example maintenance and a spare parts shop”, says Kai Teckentrup. And true to the corporate strategy, Teckentrup also closely engages its customers with every further development of TEO, because: “We want to considerably improve the processes for our customers.” “TEO can also be used on a tablet, which means that I can name my customers a price right there on the construction site.”
“For us, TEO is the foundation for a digital platform with which we also want to map offerings such as after-sales services“