In the Industrial Filters Business Unit, our customers expect tailored products. For large quantities, which we know from our automotive business, this is not a problem; we simply develop tailored filter according to our customers’ requirements. In the Industrial Filters Unit, we deal with smaller quantities and mostly with bigger, more expensive filters. With these limiting factors in place, how can we still offer our customer unique tailor-made filters and accelerate their implementation? Our product management team found a solution for this problem: out FilterWizard (or FiWi for short) which got developed from our IT department. This wizard lives up to its name as a truly magical piece of software.
From customer request to product
Our FilterWizard software displays the components the filter is made ofe.g. individual air filter components). Using this range of components, following the “LEGO principle”, we can assemble the filter in FilterWizard to create a product perfectly suited to the customer’s requirements. Initially, this is all done on the computer. Let’s have a look at a typical scenario:
First, our sales team visits the customer’s premises and coordinates with them which requirements the filter is to fulfil. This concerns technical requirements such as drawings, specification sheets, installation models, etc. Commercial issues such as price and delivery time also form part of the discussions. Tailored solutions are then developed for the customer.
Filter configuration: a quick how-to guide
The FilterWizard supports out quoting: the sales team enters the customer’s requirements into the FilterWizard via a series of easy-to-use and logically structured input screens, which guide the sales employee through the product portfolio. With each entry, the sales employee can see on the screen how the customer’s product is generated. For example, when adding threaded metal inserts for filter mounting, these are shown in the correct place right away. The position of the air inlet must, of course, also be matched to the installation situation in the machine – which is no problem, as the socket is simply rotated into the relevant position on the screen. Accessories such as service switches with the wanted switching point are immediately placed in the correct position as if by magic. Our FilterWizard works completely unseen in the background, checking that the product configuration is feasible and can be manufactured. At the end of the day, we do want to generator through the wizard a producible product.
Working in the background
In the final step, the sales employee selects documents from a checklist for the FilterWizard to generate. From this point on, the FilterWizard takes over. It knows where the respective documents are stored, what specifically needs to be calculated for the customer and in what way, and finally, who needs to be informed once the work is done. The employee finally receives an automatic ‘completed’ notification and is then able to download the relevant documents, perfectly tailored to their customer, with a single click.
Now there is nothing standing in the way of having quotes ready on time. Thanks to our FilterWizard product configurator, we can greatly accelerate our internal processes and concentrate on the essentials. We have already received some initial orders for tailored products from our FiWi. At this point, we would like to express our thanks to Jens Hähn, who came up with the initial idea for the FilterWizard and motivated his team to achieve great work in the implementation and now expansion phases.