The Rapid Migration from CPQ to Visual Configuration Software

The migration from Configure Price Quote (CPQ) solutions to Visual Configuration Software is happening quickly. Recently G2 named ATLATL Visual the sole leader for Visual Configuration Software in the first-ever report on this rapidly growing and important category. This is of particular relevance because G2 provides these awards primarily based on user reviews.

G2, an unbiased platform for users to review B2B software, and is transforming how businesses evaluate new software investments.

The Rapid Migration from CPQ to Visual Configuration Software
Visual Configuration has emerged as a new category, responding to shifts in consumer demands; there is a need to experience products before investing.

Speed and visualization: Selling more faster
Visual Configuration Software leader ATLATL has data to substantiate the rationale for this new product category. Customers experience significant increases in sales efficiency, articulating the value proposition that there is no faster way to sell than when a buyer sees and experiences the exact product they plan to purchase.

ATLATL Visual enables consumers to see the available options, make choices that suit their needs, and review the exact configuration. This process subtracts the month-long iterative and laborious process experienced by customers of ETO (engineer-to-order) products.  The online user interface is dramatically faster than previous methods of sorting through product books, consulting with product teams, and assembling a quote.

One of users surveyed in the G2 report noted, “I can now do in minutes and hours what used to take days and weeks.” The rapidity of visualization represents a transformational change that leads to real sales results.

Visual configuration never sacrifices accuracy
From the start, Visual Configuration Software is expertly implemented by the ATLATL team who works tirelessly with customers to understand the unique product rules and requirements built into the system. This level of detail ensures that each configuration is safeguarded from order errors, providing a confident and accurate buying experience.

Powering this accuracy is a unique Rules Engine. From dimensions, engineering logic, and pricing, users configure the desired product, knowing precisely what is available while adhering to the exact rules set by the manufacturer. Speed and accuracy create a differentiated buying experience generating loyal customers.

Customer expectation: A superior buying experience
The ease with which all consumers have grown accustomed to an easy online buying experience impacts the expectation of how B2B purchases should look and feel. Providing the right buying experience matters most to customers. As the Visual Configuration Software leader, ATLATL heard from users about the type of buying experience they must offer.

First, the right features are essential. Users gave the ATLATL 3D Visual Configuration, AR Configuration, and Drag-and-Drop features perfect ratings. These features set the baseline for interacting with the visual configurator.

Amazing features mean little if they are not easy to use; G2 data revealed that users rate ATLATL ease of use at 91% compared to the market average of only 86%.

Creating impactful buying opportunities
Visual configuration users surveyed were most appreciative how the ATLATL team assisted them in creating impactful buying opportunities.

The road to leadership in visual configuration
The Rapid Migration from CPQ to Visual Configuration Software
It did not happen overnight. For many years the Charleston, South Carolina-based ATLATL has been working to forge a path for visual solutions to become a key element in the company’s go-to-market strategy. The G2 recognition validates the importance of this product category and leadership status.

Delivering faster, more accurate, and more impactful sales experiences drives the continuous process improvements and adheres to lean manufacturing principles. Early innovators capture market share. Hard earned and well disserved.


ATLATL delivers speed and accuracy to power a more productive sales experience. We’re able to do this by leveraging the benefits of 3D visual product configuration and step-guided workflows to streamline the sales process and drive efficiency. To ensure order accuracy and empower users, we work closely with our customers to understand their business, product, and engineering rules. Building these into our tool, our customers are able to work faster and more independently than before to improve their productivity. The result is increased sales, higher win rates, and a better customer experience when partnering with ATLATL.


Lessons Learned in Electronics Transforms Other Discrete Manufacturing Operations

Article | May 10, 2021

Jason Spera, picture left, recently shared his vantage of the changes for factory floor automation in 2021. Jason is CEO and Co-Founder, Aegis Software. Spera is a leader in MES/MOM software platforms for discrete manufacturers with particular expertise in electronics manufacturing. Founded in 1997, today more than 2,200 factory sites worldwide use some form of Aegis software to improve productivity and quality while meeting regulatory, compliance and traceability challenges. Spera's background as a manufacturing engineer in an electronics manufacturing company and the needs he saw in that role led to the creation of the original software products and continue to inform the vision that drives Aegis solutions, like FactoryLogix. He regularly speaks on topics surrounding factory digitization, IIoT, and Industry 4.0. Contact Jason on LinkedIn.

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The Top Five Lean Manufacturing Tools for 2022

Article | December 13, 2021

Lean manufacturing is a growing trend that aims to reduce waste while increasing productivity in manufacturing systems. But, unfortunately, waste doesn't add value to the product, and buyers don't want to pay for it. This unusual method pushed Toyota Motor Corporation's industry to become a leading Toyota Production System (TPS). As a result, they are now efficiently producing some of the world's top cars with the least waste and the quickest turnaround. The majority of manufacturers are now using lean management. According to the 2010 Compensation Data Manufacturing report, 69.7% of manufacturing businesses use Lean Manufacturing Practices. Lean tools are the ones that help you in implementing lean practice in your organization. These lean tools assist in managing people and change while solving problems and monitoring performance. Lean Manufacturing technologies are designed to reduce waste, improve flow, improve quality control, and maximize manufacturing resources. What Are the Five Best Lean Manufacturing Tools and How Do They Work? There are roughly 50 Lean Manufacturing tools available in the market. This post will describe 5 of them and their value to your business and its developments. 5S The 5S system promotes efficiency by organizing and cleaning the workplace. To help increase workplace productivity, the system has five basic guidelines (five S's). The five Ss are Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. 5S improves workplace efficiency and effectiveness by: Sort: Removing unnecessary material from each work area Set: Set the goal of creating efficient work areas for each individual Shine: Maintaining a clean work area after each shift helps identify and resolve minor concerns Standardize: Documenting changes to make other work areas' applications more accessible Sustain: Repeat each stage for continuous improvement 5S is a lean tool used in manufacturing, software, and healthcare. Kaizen and Kanban can be utilized to produce the most efficient workplace possible. Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing Just-in-time manufacturing allows manufacturers to produce products only after a customer requests them. This reduces the risk of overstocking or damaging components or products during storage. Consider JIT if your company can operate on-demand and limit the risk of only carrying inventory as needed. JIT can help manage inventory, but it can also hinder meeting customer demand if the supply chain breaks. Kaizen With Kaizen, you may enhance seven separate areas at once: business culture, leadership, procedures, quality, and safety. Kaizen is a Japanese word, means "improvement for the better" or "constant improvement." “Many companies are not willing to change or think they are done once they make a change. But the truth is technology; consumer demands, the way we work, human needs and much more are constantly changing.” – Michael Walton, Director, Industry Executive at Microsoft The idea behind Kaizen is that everyone in the organization can contribute suggestions for process improvement. Accepting everyone's viewpoints may not result in significant organizational changes, but minor improvements here and there will add up over time to substantial reductions in wasted resources. Kanban Kanban is a visual production method that delivers parts to the production line as needed. This lean tool works by ensuring workers get what they need when they need it. Previously, employees used Kanban cards to request new components, and new parts were not provided until the card asked them to. In recent years, sophisticated software has replaced Kanban cards to signal demand electronically. Using scanned barcodes to signify when new components are needed, the system may automatically request new parts. Kanban allows businesses to manage inventory better, decrease unnecessary stock, and focus on the products that must be stored. To reduce waste and improve efficiency, facilities can react to current needs rather than predict the future. Kanban encourages teams and individuals to improve Kanban solutions and overall production processes like Kaizen. Kanban as a lean tool can be used with Kaizen and 5S. PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) is a scientific strategy for managing change. Dr. W. Edwards Deming invented it in the 1950s; hence, it is called the ‘Deming Cycle.’ The PDCA cycle has four steps: Problem or Opportunity: Determine whether a problem or an opportunity exists Do: Make a small test Examine: Look over the test results Act: Take action depending on results How Nestlé Used the Kaizen Lean Manufacturing Tool Nestlé is the largest food corporation in the world, yet it is also a company that practices Lean principles, particularly the Kaizen method. Nestlé Waters used a technique known as value stream mapping, which is frequently associated with Kaizen. They designed a new bottling factory from scratch to guarantee that operations were as efficient as possible. Nestlé has been aiming to make ongoing changes to their processes to reduce waste and the amount of time and materials that can be wasted during their operations. Final Words Lean manufacturing techniques enable many businesses to solve their manufacturing difficulties and become more productive and customer-centric. In addition, useful lean manufacturing tools assist companies in obtaining the anticipated outcomes and arranging their operations in many excellent ways to meet buyer expectations. Hence, gather a list of the top lean manufacturing tools and choose the best fit for your organization to maximize your ROI and address the performance issue that is causing your outcomes to lag. FAQ What are the standard tools in lean manufacturing? Among the more than 50 lean manufacturing tools, Kaizen, 5S, Kanban, Value Stream Mapping, and PDCA are the most commonly used lean manufacturing tools. How to Select the Best Lean Manufacturing Tools for Your Business? Choosing a lean manufacturing tool begins with identifying the issue or lag in your organization that affects overall productivity and work quality. To select the lean device that best meets your company's needs, you must first grasp each one's benefits and implementation techniques. What is included in a Lean 5S toolkit? The lean 5S toolbox contains some essential items for achieving the goal. 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This Is How You Can Lower Your Manufacturing Overhead

Article | December 21, 2021

When it comes to developing a budget for the following financial year of your manufacturing business, many operations managers start with direct labor and material expenditures. But, what about manufacturing overhead costs? Manufacturing overhead is any expense not directly tied to a factory's production. Therefore, the indirect costs in manufacturing overhead can also be called factory overhead or production overhead. Outsourcing and globalization of manufacturing allows companies to reduce costs, benefits consumers with lower-cost goods and services, and causes economic expansion that reduces unemployment and increases productivity and job creation. – Larry Elder So, this article focuses on some highly effective overhead cost reduction methods that would help you build a healthy budget for the following year. Manufacturing Overhead Costs: What Is Included? Everything or everyone within the factory that isn't actively producing items should be considered overhead. The following are some of the variables that are considered overhead costs: Depreciation of equipment and productionfacilities Taxes, insurance, and utilities Supervisors, maintenance, quality control, and other on-site personnel who aren't producing signs Indirect supply from light bulbs to toilet paper is also included in the overhead cost. Manufacturing Overhead Costs: What Is Excluded? Everything or everyone within or outside the factory that is actively producing items should be excluded from the overhead costs. Factory overhead does not include the following: Product materials Employee costs for those making the goods daily External administrative overhead, such as a satellite office or human resources Costs associated with C-suite employees Expenses associated with sales and marketing - include pay, travel, and advertising How to Calculate Overhead Costs in Manufacturing To know the manufacturing overhead requires calculating the manufacturing overhead rate. The formula to calculate the manufacturing overhead rate i.e. MOR is basic yet vital. To begin, determine your overall manufacturing overhead expenses. Then, add up all the monthly indirect expenditures that keep manufacturing running smoothly. Then you can calculate the Manufacturing Overhead Rate (MOR). This statistic shows you your monthly overhead costs as a percentage. To find this value, divide Total Manufacturing Overhead Cost (TMOC) by Total Monthly Sales (TMS) and multiply it by 100. The final formula will be: Assume your manufacturing overhead expensesare $50,000 and your monthly sales are $300,000. You get.167 when you divide $50,000 by $300,000. Then increase that by 100 to get your monthly overhead rate of 16.7%. This means your monthly overhead expenditures will be 16.7% of your monthly income. Being able to forecast and develop better solutions to decrease production overhead. Five Ways to Reduce Manufacturing Overhead Costs A variety of strategies may be used by manufacturing organizations to reduce their overhead costs. Here is a summary of some of the most important methods for reducing your manufacturing overhead costs. Value Stream Mapping – A Production Plant Process Layout A value stream map depicts the entire manufacturing process of your plant. Everything from raw material purchase through client delivery is detailed here. The value stream map provides you with a complete picture of the profit-making process. This overhead cost-cuttingmethod is listed first for a reason because every effort to reduce manufacturing overhead costsstarts with a value stream map. Lean manufacturingis also one of the techniques of eliminating unnecessary time, staff, and work that is not necessary for profit and has gained undue favor in the manufacturing process. You must first create a value stream map of the whole manufacturing process for this technique to work. Once the lean manufacturing precept is established, the following strategies for decreasingmanufacturing overhead expenses can be examined. Do Not Forget Your Back Office Management Before focusing on factory floor cost reduction techniques, remember that your back offices, where payment processing and customer contacts occur, may also be simplified and increase profitability. Fortunately, automation can achieve this profitability at a cheap cost. Manufacturers increasingly use robotic process automation (RPA) to sell directly to customers rather than rely on complex supply networks. This automation eliminates costly human mistakes in data input and payment processing by automatically filling forms with consumer data. Moreover, the time saved from manual data input (and rectifying inevitable human errors) equates to decreased labor expenses and downtime. Automating Your Manufacturing Plant For a long time, manufacturers saw factory automation as a game-changer. As a result, several plant owners make radical changes in their operations using cutting-edge technologydespite knowing it realistically. Over-investing in technologies unfamiliar to present industrial personnel might be deemed a technology blunder. Investing in new technology that doesn't generate value or is too hard for current staff to use might be a mistake. It's usually best to start small when implementing newtechnology in manufacturing. Using collaborative robots in production is one way to get started with automation. They are inexpensive, need little software and hardware, and may help employees with mundane, repeated chores that gobble up bandwidth. It is a low-cost entry point into automation that saves labor expenses and opens the door for further automation investments when opportunities are available. Reuse Other Factory Equipment and Supplies Check with other factories to see if they have any unused equipment or supplies that may be "redeployed" to your manufacturing plant. Redeployment would save you time and money by eliminating the need to look for and install new equipment while lowering your overhead costs. Outsourcing a fully equipped factory, equipment, or even staff can also assist in lowering overhead costssince you will only pay for what you utilize. As such, it is a viable method to incorporate into your production process. Employ an In-house Maintenance Expert An in-house repair technician can service your equipment for routine inspections, preventive maintenance, and minor repairs. This hiring decision might save money on unforeseen repair expenses or work fees for an outside repair provider. Having someone on-site who can do emergency repairs may save you money if your equipment breaks after business hours. Final Words Manufacturing overhead costis an essential aspect of every manufacturing company's budget to consider. Smart manufacturingis intended to be productive, efficient, and cost-effective while effectively managing production expenditures. Calculating the manufacturing overheadcan provide you with a better understanding of your company's costs and how to minimize them. Depending on the conditions or geographical needs, each manufacturing plant's overhead expensesmay vary. As a result, identify your production overhead costsand concentrate on reducing and improving them. FAQ What are manufacturing overheads? Manufacturing overhead cost is a sum of all indirect expenses incurred during production. Manufacturing overhead expenses usually include depreciation of equipment, employee salaries, and power utilized to run the equipment. What is a decent overhead percentage? When a business is functioning successfully, an overhead ratio of less than 35 % is considered favorable. How can I calculate the cost of manufacturing per unit? The overall manufacturing cost per unit is determined by dividing the total production expenses by the total number of units produced for a particular time.

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Five Lean Manufacturing Principles to Empower Your Manufacturing Business

Article | December 16, 2021

Lean manufacturing is an operational approach used to create value. Businesses adopt lean manufacturing to improve productivity, reduce waste, increase customer value, and employee satisfaction. Many businesses are accelerating their adoption of lean principles and practices due to the emergence of the industry 4.0 transformation. As a result, companies such as Caterpillar, Intel, Textron, Parker Hannifin, and John Deere are all reaping the benefits of lean manufacturing. So, where did the idea of "lean manufacturing" first originate? In this article, you'll learn about the origins of lean manufacturing and its key principles. The Origins of Lean Manufacturing The principles of lean manufacturing were developed in Japan in the mid-20th century. Toyota, a famous Japanese automaker, experienced major delivery issues at the time. Its production chains were excessively long; thus it couldn't supply enough products on time. As a result, Toyota needed a new Performance measurement system. The company's managers identified a solution. They created a new project management method called the Toyota production system. Its basic idea was to improve product distribution by reducing waste. It was a good concept. It helped the company shorten manufacturing chains and deliver products faster. Toyota's production method created a simple and effective waste definition. Any step that did not improve the end product's functionality was called a waste. Later, other manufacturing industries adopted the system. It was renamed as lean manufacturing. It's now a global phenomenon and is used by large and small businesses worldwide. When should you implement the Lean Manufacturing Method in your business? Lean is a waste-reduction methodology, approach, and a lifestyle. While it is commonly used in manufacturing, lean techniques are applied to reduce waste while keeping high quality in any business. Waste reduction of 80% plus Reduced production expenses by 50% Decreased inventories by 80-90% Producing quality items is 90% less expensive. Workforce productivity improved by 50% If you want your business to get the above benefits, you need to adopt lean manufacturing principles. Five lean Manufacturing Principles Lean manufacturing benefits businesses in multiple ways, and this lean lifestyle has the potential to empower any organization and increase its market competitiveness. So, let us observe the five fundamental principles of lean manufacturing. Value For the first principle of defining customer value, it is vital to understand what value is. For customers, value comes from what they're willing to pay for. The customer's actual or hidden demands must be discovered. Customers are not aware of what they want or cannot express it. When it comes to new items or technologies, this is a regular occurrence. Assume nothing; ask about the pain points being experienced and then craft a unique value proposition. Never force a solution into a problem that does not exist.” – Thomas R. Cutler, President & CEO at TR Cutler, Inc. For example, you can use various methods to find out what customers value, such as surveys and demographic information. With these qualitative and quantitative methodologies, you may learn more about your clients' needs, their expectations, and their budgets. Value-Stream Identifying and mapping the value stream is the second lean principle. By starting with the consumer’s perceived value, all activities that contribute to that value may be identified. Waste is anything that does not benefit the client in any way. It can be divided into two categories: non-value-added and unnecessary waste. The unnecessary waste should be removed, while the non-value-added should be minimized. You can ensure that clients get exactly what they want while minimizing the cost of creating that product or service by removing unnecessary processes or steps. Flow The next operations must proceed smoothly and without interruption or delays after removing wastes from the value stream. Value-adding activities can be improved by breaking down tasks, reorganizing the manufacturing process, distributing the workload, and educating personnel to be flexible and multi-skilled. Pull The fourth lean principle requires a pull-based manufacturing system. Traditional production systems use a push system, which starts with purchasing supplies and continues manufacturing even when no orders are placed. While push systems are simple to set up, they can result in vast inventories of work-in-progress (WIP). On the other hand, a pull method pulls a customer's order from delivery, causing new items to be made and additional materials to be acquired. Kanban, one of the lean manufacturing tools, can help organizations develop a pull system to control material flow in a production system. An efficient pull system maximizes available space, reduces inventory, eliminates over-and under-production, and eliminates errors caused by too much WIP. Perfection While completing Steps 1-4 is a great start, the fifth and possibly most critical step is incorporating lean thinking and process improvement into your organizational culture. As benefits accumulate, it is vital to remember that lean is not a static system that requires continuous effort and awareness to perfect. Each employee should get included in the lean implementation process. Lean experts sometimes state that a process is not truly lean until it has undergone at least a half-dozen value-stream mapping cycles. How Nike Demonstrated the Benefits of Lean Principles Nike, the world-famous shoe and clothing powerhouse, has embraced lean manufacturing principles and practices. Nike experienced less waste and increased consumer value, as did other businesses. It also shared some unexpected benefits. It is proven that lean manufacturing can minimize terrible labor practices at a company's overseas manufacturing unit by up to 15%. This result was mostly due to implementing the lean manufacturing practice of valuing the workers more than earlier routine labor practices. It provided greater significance to an employee and, as a result, greater significance to the organization as a whole. Final Words Implementing lean manufacturing principles is a good way to run any organization. Businesses that build their operations on the two pillars of lean manufacturing, constant improvement, and personnel respect, are well on their way to becoming a successful and productive organizations in the modern era. To become a lean company, an organization must fully grasp the benefits and added value that it may get by adopting lean manufacturing principles. FAQ What is Five S's of lean manufacturing? The 5S of lean manufacturing are Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain, and they give a framework for organizing, cleaning, developing, and maintaining a productive work environment. What are the two pillars of lean manufacturing? Lean, as modeled on the Toyota Way values, has two pillars, first is ‘Continuous Improvement’ and second is ‘Respect for People’. Why are lean principles beneficial for any business? Lean manufacturing is a business strategy that has proven to be highly successful since it can help you decrease costs, remove waste, enhance production, maintain excellent quality, and thus increase business profit significantly.

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ATLATL delivers speed and accuracy to power a more productive sales experience. We’re able to do this by leveraging the benefits of 3D visual product configuration and step-guided workflows to streamline the sales process and drive efficiency. To ensure order accuracy and empower users, we work closely with our customers to understand their business, product, and engineering rules. Building these into our tool, our customers are able to work faster and more independently than before to improve their productivity. The result is increased sales, higher win rates, and a better customer experience when partnering with ATLATL.