Tuesday, June 23, 2015

From Excel Quoting to a CPQ: iQ CPQ for Manufacturers

ERP, iQ / CPQ, NetSuite

Written by Aaron Korsen Aaron Korsen

When you’re a manufacturer or distributor, you need to be able to quickly provide an accurate quote to your customer. That can range from the simple repair item that is found on a price list, to a highly sophisticated product that is engineered-to-order with a bill of materials and operations. In addition, you may require a product configurator that walks the user through a series a questions, and the answers you provide would not only calculate the price, but also generate manufacturing details.

Many companies take to Excel quoting because their current ERP system lacks the necessary estimating and quoting tools to do the job.  Sometimes the ERP does have the functionality, but accessing it can be difficult for remote users in the field because it’s not cloud-based. Sure, you can VPN into the network, access your ERP system or Excel spreadsheet. If it’s the latter, you’re probably navigating through “folder-land” trying to find the right spreadsheet so you make a quick change, Save As a new name, and email it out.  And the new Excel quote is likely sitting on the desktop of the sales rep’s laptop. If there is a CRM system, you probably didn’t update the Opportunity record with the new Excel file because that’s yet another step in what should be a pretty simple process. All of these scenarios present a significant challenge to companies looking to streamline their CRM and quoting process, and have reporting visibility into their forecast and revenue plan.

So what do you do when you’re stuck in the middle: your old, manual tools are too disconnected but your other platforms, while powerful, aren’t precisely built to support specific quoting needs? This is where cloud point solutions can save the day. The leading cloud platforms, notably NetSuite and Salesforce, have huge application communities that have taken on the specifics of businesses’ day-to-day challenges and addressed them with point solutions that fit in between core platforms.

If you’re interested in seeing how an advanced quoting application like iQ CPQ (Configure, Price, Quote) complements NetSuite, join us tomorrow at 10 am PT.

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