SPONSORED: Technology Smoothing the Road for Heavy Vehicle Manufacturers and Distributors

According to IBISWorld, in the next five years the freight trailer industry is tipped to maintain growth due to diversifying demand industries. With the decline in Mining taking effect on the space, government infrastructure projects, commercial and residential construction and food distribution are all still keeping our trucking industry on the road and in many cases even stretched to their limits.

Based on this demand on resources, the industry is calling out for focus to be placed on safety and productivity of both the fleets and vehicles on the road as well as those being purchased and configured.
Managing the demand for such unique vehicles is not easy. Heavy or Specialty Vehicles, by their very nature, are some of the most complex products manufactured. Most of this complexity is due to the high degree of product variability and customisation associated with any given vehicle type.

CPQ (configure-price-quote) software  simplifies the complexities of manufacturing and distributing customised specialty vehicles allowing suppliers to focus on improving safety features and productivity capabilities. Here are some of the major challenges CPQ can address in the building, selling and distribution of specialty trucks and vehicles.

1. Vehicle Outfitting and Upfitting Vary by Market

Most specialty vehicle manufacturers address one particular market. This allows them to use a limited number of basic truck designs that can be highly modified and customised to match the specific needs of each individual buyer.

CPQ facilitates this decision-making process throughout the design and specification phase of the sale. An interactive, scripted interview collects the basic requirements from the buyer and specifics of the basic product family platforms. As more usage information is collected from the buyer, additional upfitting options and features are recommended or required as needed until the finished vehicle is fully configured.

CPQ software uses artificial intelligence (AI) to maintain that information and make those choices based on the specifics of the buyer’s needs.

2. Tribal Knowledge Is Built into CPQ

Product managers, engineers and sales representatives all need to display a level of knowledge beyond familiarity, with terminology and anecdotal recall. Authentic knowledge assures buyers that they are in good hands. Lack of tribal knowledge is a huge challenge for specialty vehicle manufacturers and distributors due to the highly specialised nature of the business.

CPQ helps to preserve this critical knowledge by incorporating it into the AI and business rules used during the guided interview and configuration process. For example the recent rule changes around allowable vehicle mass and load carrying capabilities can be written into rules to prompt the buyer and seller during the configuration interview process. Within the automated selling interface of the CPQ system, the customer will only be permitted to select options that are appropriate to specific configurations.

3. Complex Pricing, Currencies and Contracts Are Simplified       

As in many industries, product complexity is also reflected in the pricing. Each truck configuration has a separate price and part number or assembly number, so pricing has to be accurate and documentable.

Additionally, these products are sold across international borders and driven by multiple regulatory requirements and localised pricing and currencies.

Even within a given geographical market, government or large-volume buyers may require development of a purchasing contract or agreement that will contain special pricing and special terms and conditions.

CPQ allows businesses to handle multiple price lists as well as special contracts that might extend discounts to VIP customers.

Stay tuned for the next article in which Cincom continues the conversation on how technology, in particular CPQ, can meet the unique challenges of trucking businesses aiming to modernise and improve safety in Australia.

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