4 Major Engineer-To-Order Issues and How to Tackle Them

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The production of personalized products is a unique challenge that is equally satisfying when it is done well. Adding up the originally budgeted costs seems like simple addition. However, Engineer-to-Order (ETO) products are often new technologies complex enough upfront to add further complexity in the future due to misalignment. 

 

Following are four issues with regard to engineer-to-order (ETO) and how to tackle them.

Consolidating Information Increases Focus

A quick way to achieve alignment between sales and tech in the bidding process is to integrate your business software, primarily by integrating your PLM with your CRM. This can automate all processes from the first customer inquiry to the offer and create immediate transparency across your entire value chain. and between sales and engineering activities.

Information consolidation increases focus, while application overload can affect the user experience. Consolidation is not only good big data hygiene, it is necessary in order to give your employees and customers a positive experience with your brand.

Ensure accurate quotes by managing all the tasks, results, and requirements required to deliver a bespoke product on a fully integrated platform, with the general sell opportunity to ensure speed and accuracy.

 

Too Many Change Requests

Unexpected, sudden, and constant changes to plans do not make a workplace pleasant or efficient in any industry. Workers who are frequently interrupted reported a nine percent higher than usual burnout rate. Almost as high as the reported 12 percent increase in burnout due to stress.

Some of this cannot be avoided in the engineer-to-order (ETO) environment. In custom engineering, where requested changes to the desired product are a normal part of the team workflow, change requests are often poorly processed due to the lack of standardized project management. 

Systems paired with ETO products are becoming unwieldy and time-consuming so that additional change requests are almost impossible to meet. 

 

Revised and Bad Workflows  

The problems with ETO workflows are twofold. First, a typical ETO workflow has a number of “swimming lanes” of information between departments. Which, due to many isolated systems, spreadsheets and e-mails, have the potential for error represent and manual processes. 

Whenever information changes hands in a customer-designed product life cycle, there is a possibility that this information could be duplicated, incorrectly stored, or incorrectly communicated. As mentioned above, this challenge can be solved through automated processes and integrated project management. 

Second, the result of these disrupted workflows happens to the clients. Engineers rework sales and are overworked under pressure from salespeople to deliver on time and meet quotas. 

Engineers are constantly bugged and pulled away from their real work. And sales reps are busy talking to the customer, operations, and tech to see if they can save a deal or solve a new customer’s problem. In rare cases, engineers can get ahead of sales demand, causing unpredictable downtime. Skewing pipeline projections, and later getting more work done when sales give engineers more work than expected. 

Either way, it’s hectic, and without the right systems, salespeople and engineers compete against each other, an engineer loses the battle. Additionally, by aligning your sales and development teams, you take them out of this battle and put them on the same side: the customer side. 

The harmonious interaction of these two opposing forces ensures that no team has more workload than the other. Therefore, they can focus on the design process and product development, and deliver a great customer experience. 

 

Reduced Margins 

Even with the best roadmap, the aforementioned bad quotes, change requests, and revisions pile up one at a time. Ultimately resulting in lower margins, slower market growth, and a disruption to your supply chain. 

After all, a poor return on all of these investments is a disappointing and ultimately catastrophic bottom line. To protect your margins, your long-term success, and the successful growth of your business, you must protect every point in the custom engineering process. From the quotation to ongoing service from your support team.

 

 

Final Thoughts 

Align sales and tech to achieve faster, smoother, and earlier communication in the product lifecycle. Ensure that proposals and designs, through closer collaboration. Deliver what customers need and ultimately deliver more profitable orders.  

Respond quickly to changing business needs by using a software platform such as KloudPLM for engineering, and operations. Collaborate, communicate, and update product designs with complete transparency. Schedule a demo today

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