When we started this discussion in Beyond Product Configurator Software: Total Variability Management, we began to talk about defining and managing variability across a product suite. In these series, we’ve been exploring how Teamcenter uniquely supports variability introduction and management seamlessly tied to product definition and visual configuration.
Critical to this approach, is the concept of a single variant backbone for managing variability across all domains. To make sure every user is able to most effectively interact with that data, you need specialized variability that’s relevant for different roles. We talked about configurator for product management and planning roles and then explored the effect of effective communication of those decisions with configurator for engineering and manufacturing. I’d like to dig deeper into another user community- your customer.
Enabling Customer Choice: Real-time Configuration and Visualization of User Selection
There are features and options that are relevant to the market and to the end customer. These are features that a company will market, promote, and sell. There is generally a self-contained set of rules that govern the compatibility of these sales and marketing options.
Users for whom only this set of options and rules are relevant—customers, dealers, marketing managers--will typically have access to see and exercise only fully validated and released options. These users will be guided through valid choices, and will not be shown options that are not available to them. These users should be able to visualize the product variant as they are configuring, but will not have access to the fully-featured geometry or bill of materials except in special circumstances.
This set of users has a certain set of expectations about the configuration experience they desire:
The experience should be simple, informative, and visual to allow these users to make informed decisions based on the features and criteria that are important to them. With configurator in Teamcenter, these users are led through the selections available to them without exposing them to options not relevant based on the choices they’ve made so far. And, the user should be able to visually see the specific product they’ve configured to ensure that their expectations and the result are consistent so they will be satisfied with the end product variant they receive.
Configurator in Teamcenter: Benefits Reach Far Beyond Engineering
One last time: An effective configurator strategy needs to address the scope of product configuration and variability management far beyond the scope of engineering. You need to support variability introduction and management seamlessly tied to product definition and visual configuration. We touched on many roles in the original Beyond Product Configurator article, and have covered in detail just a few of the user communities that can leverage a single variant backbone. There is a lot to talk about when it comes to product configuration and variability management! There will be more to come in future articles, but hopefully this has given you more of a flavor for how powerful configurator in Teamcenter can be in supporting your end-to-end product definition.