Elly Yates-Roberts |
Thermo Fisher Scientific (TFS) is a provider of scientific instruments, including electron and ion-beam microscopes and tools for nanoscale applications across many industries including materials research, life sciences and data storage.
The business operates in an extremely price- and market-conscious field, so it wanted to streamline internal and external business operations with a more effective configure, price, quote (CPQ) solution. TFS was already using a quote and order system, but the process had limitations. For example, sales and customer service teams had to use around 20 different software tools and Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to complete a proposal or order. These were cumbersome and difficult to maintain and did not integrate with the firm’s customer relationship management (CRM) system, which also introduced inefficiencies.
TFS decided to implement Microsoft Dynamics CRM to improve sales and customer service operations. To help realise the benefits of the new CRM solution, TFS needed an integrated product configurator to control quote and order configurations of products and services precisely, and support discount approvals and non-standard requests. It also wanted to be able to provide accurate pricing in multiple currencies, consolidate the needs of product administrators operating in different time zones, and create a “corporate memory” of product configurations.
“TFS runs an international business with various factories around the globe,” says Guido van Mier, configuration manager for TFS. “We needed a highly flexible, scalable configurator that would help streamline our financial management and allow us to control our configurations very precisely. Moreover, we wanted a tool that would easily support the use of discount approvals as well as the processing of non-standard requests.”
After investigating several product configurator packages, TFS selected Experlogix due to its integration with Dynamics CRM and its scalable architecture. “We evaluated other solutions but in the end, there was no decision; Experlogix was the logical choice for us as it is such a versatile tool,” says van Mier. “Experlogix could handle all that we initially required and more. Just recently we incorporated logic that handles installation, warranty, additional warranty, and freight and duty. None of the other tools we considered came even close to the power of Experlogix.
“One additional very important consideration for choosing Experlogix was its capabilities in managing our administrative pains. Multiple administrators operating in various time zones were putting quite a bit of stress on the system. Now our administrative departments work seamlessly around the world.”
By working with Experlogix, TFS can now consolidate product and service options, rules and pricing into a single intelligent system, eliminating the need for paper catalogues and complex spreadsheets. Experlogix has also helped the business to ensure that the entire proposal or order is accurate, guaranteeing a seamless quote-to-order process and higher customer satisfaction.
TFS provides customers across a range of scientific industries with microscopes that fit their specific needs. For example, an instrument used in a biology lab will include cameras and pieces of equipment that may not be needed in an instrument used for semi-conductor fabrication. This level of composition and detail adds complications to the quote and configure process for TFS’s sales representatives, who previously had to consult a spreadsheet and diagram tree to match up parts that can and cannot co-exist on the same instrument.
All this information is now accessible via the Experlogix Configurator from Dynamics CRM. Users also receive immediate feedback as to whether an individual part is compatible with the overall microscope as planned. As a result, TFS has significantly reduced quote times for even its most complex instruments and can guarantee that all quotes contain accurate configurations.
“Experlogix enables TFS to produce orders in just a fraction of the time previously required,” says van Mier. “We no longer have to deal with complex systems involving multiple software tools and hordes of Excel spreadsheets.”
According to van Mier, the integration between Experlogix and Dynamics CRM has been of particular value. “Experlogix works harmoniously with Dynamics CRM and the combination of the two is quite powerful,” he says. “We have tossed our old system overboard and have managed to get rid of at least 20 different programs and Excel sheets on the fly.
“As the multi-currency functionality is easy to set up in Experlogix, we were able to build a uniform solution that serves our global sales team, so we now speak one common language in the company. In fact, we have even started training our agents and distributors to use Experlogix for quoting.”
Experlogix enables TFS to control which users have access to which information and supports automation of internal processes such as requests for quoting non-standard products and discount approval workflows. “Simply stated, our business is running much more smoothly than before,” says van Mier.
This article was originally published in the Winter 2022 issue of Technology Record. To get future issues delivered directly to your inbox, sign up for a free subscription.