The Elfsquad Product Configurator is the sales channel of the future. With the software, manufacturers in the manufacturing industry can sell their complex products quickly and error-free, process orders and produce them without human intervention. Online, because that is highly necessary according to Jelle Jansma, commercial director of Elfsquad, innovative software developer from Drachten. 'Smart factories require a different way of doing business than we are traditionally used to. We help the manufacturing industry to be and stay competitive.'
The manufacturing industry is back and changing rapidly with the emergence and deployment of new technologies. Smart factories are applying far-reaching innovative technologies such as 3D printing, robotization and sensor technology. As a result, machines, devices and plants are becoming so complex that in-house salespeople no longer know exactly how to sell them, let alone dealers worldwide.
Jelle Jansma knows the manufacturing industry well. As a student, he was already interested in looking into the kitchen at several large manufacturing companies and saw that customer requirements must be fully met in order to remain competitive. 'The world is changing. There is a new generation of buyers who do business via the Internet. Labor costs in the Netherlands and Flanders are too high compared to low-wage countries. Manufacturers must personalize their products and services and ensure that customers can design their own machines online. You can't get away with uniformity anymore.'
Three years ago, Elfsquad began developing software for agricultural equipment manufacturers. The choice of sometimes hundreds of options and accessories makes the sales conversation of an agricultural machine complicated even for the most experienced salesman. "Actually, the generic Elfsquad Product Configurator arose from those developments," Jelle says, "with the intention of serving not only agriculture but also other industries.
Fast and intuitive
The Elfsquad Product Configurator makes it possible to offer and sell technically complex products online worldwide. And that is crucial in these times for a knowledge-intensive sector such as the manufacturing industry in which speed of action counts, Jelle believes. With the software, modular products such as machines, bodies and complete production lines can be put together without the user needing substantive product knowledge. The 3D configurator simplifies the complex sales process and guides through smart question and answer lists, while in the meantime a visualization of the product is visible. Synchronization with the manufacturer's existing software packages creates a production order immediately in ERP, while links to CAD and CAM systems provide design drawings and machine control. No complicated programming is required to set up and maintain the software; Elfsquad provides plug & play. Because programming is for programmers and not for sales people, they believe at Elfsquad.
For the first year and a half, the focus was on developing the configurator with a number of launching customers. Meanwhile, the startup phase of experimentation is over. In order to realize the great ambitions of Elfsquad, work will continue in the coming period to increase the visibility, starting in the Netherlands and Flanders. Jelle faces the future with confidence. 'We already have dozens of users and are growing fast. Our customers believe in our product and provide the best you can have, good word of mouth. We are ahead of our schedule and fast becoming the market leader.'
TRANSLATE THE SPECIFIC WISHES OF THE CUSTOMER DIRECTLY TO THE PRODUCTION FLOOR, THIS IS HOW A MASS PRODUCT BECOMES INDIVIDUAL! THAT MAKES ELFSQUAD AN IMPORTANT LINK IN THE SMART INDUSTRIES.
Joep de Vries, Project Manager Foreign Direct Investment NOM