Get more from Dynamics 365 for Operations with the Product Configurator

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The new Dynamics 365 for Operations provides many tools for streamlining manufacturing operations. But one of the most powerful features, the Product Configurator, is also the most overlooked. When we design custom ERP solutions for our clients, our solution architects find that many clients aren’t aware of this awesome tool—or that they don’t fully grasp how it can help transform their business.

If your business offers any form of custom manufacturing, such as made-to-order, engineer-to-order, customization, kitting, or personalization, the Product Configurator can automate some very complex tasks. But that’s not all. You can also use the Product Configurator to connect other operational systems to Dynamics 365 and unify your enterprise on the Dynamics platform.

Automate BOMs and Routing

The Product Configurator is most commonly used to automate configuration of complex products. During setup, you create product templates by defining the attributes, variables, and constraints of your product or products. Then, at order entry, the Product Configurator generates product configurations per these rules. It automates creation of BOMs and routes, and seamlessly handles routing and operations. The tool also validates the BOM to prevent impossible configurations and other mistakes. You’ll save time and improve accuracy. You’ll ship products faster—even complex items—and optimize use of your facilities and resources.

Intelligent Product Modeling

But why stop there? Once you’ve defined your product templates, you can use two features to apply real intelligence to your customizations and configurations:

  • Attribute-based pricing lets you automatically calculate prices based on the selections made during configuration. Even custom products are priced accurately, considering your pre-defined variations in cost and schedule.
  • Dynamic properties let you automatically adjust product attributes based on business conditions, dependencies, or other variables. This business logic allows you to account for complex relationships beyond what you could easily calculate yourself.

Connecting Dynamics 365 to the Enterprise

Western helps customers further streamline custom manufacturing by connecting the Product Configurator to external systems and other order entry channels. The Dynamics 365 architecture makes integration with your other operational systems surprisingly easy. This has the added advantage of consolidating your operational system onto the central ERP. A couple examples:

  • Product Lifecycle Management. Dynamics 365 for Operations can pull data from your stand-alone PLM or design system. Product Configurator then validates the design and generates BOM and routing based on designs.
  • E-commerce platforms. By connecting the Product Configurator to your e-commerce platform, you can create orders without a third-party configurator. Integration between Dynamics 365 and your web platform allows you to present product options and pricing to web customers. And, you can automatically generate manufacturing BOMs and routing as they place their orders.

Western Computer has Expertise in Product Modeling

The Product Configurator can seem intimidating. But, if you’re willing to invest the time to model your products, you can derive many additional benefits from your ERP. Western Computer consultants have wide experience setting up product configuration models. We can also help you understand the tools and relationships so you can adapt your models to your changing business. Contact Western Computer to explore ways the Product Configurator in Dynamics 365 for Operations can help you offer the unique products and customization your customers demand.

 

by Western Computer

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