Published on the 20/10/2020 | Written by Heather Wright
Leading forklift provider moves to bolster sales effectiveness…
No matter what your industry, sales drive success. But when you’ve got hundreds of products each with a vast array of potential variations, configuring, pricing and quoting can be a headache. Add in the complexities of a mix of rental and pure sales, and the equations get even more complex.
Such was the case for Australia’s leading forklift supplier, Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA), which offers hundreds of models of forklifts as well as sweepers and scrubbers, electric vehicles, tow tractors, scissor lifts, loaders and mini excavators – many coming with up to 100 possible configurations.
“It will cut days off our processing times.”
Enter a new Cincom CPQ (configure, price, quote) system.
For more than 24 years, TMHA has been using an in-house configuration tool, created by a dealership it acquired.
“The front end was fantastic in allowing us to produce accurate and timely quotations for our customers, however as it had been designed for a dealer, not an OEM, it had limitations particularly in the back end support,” Cameron Paxton, Toyota Material Handling Australia (TMHA) vice president and COO, says.
“As an OEM you’re responsible for the importation and cost and everything that goes into that and all the different computations that make that up,” he notes.
The system also lacked integration with TMHA’s ERP, leading to ‘significant’ double handling and processing.
“From a back end support it’s laborious,” Paxton notes.
Like many companies before it, TMHA is turning to CPQ software – and it’s betting the new system will bring some big benefits, including slashing days off order processing times.
It’s a scenario being seen by organisations around the world. Hitachi Data Systems says a CPQ system has enabled it to produce contract proposals which previously required two days or more, in minutes.
The software enables companies to configure product and service offerings, accurately defining the price of goods across a large, constantly changing spectrum of variables, where every change can set off a chain of events across engineering and supply chains.
Cincom claims the CPQ can deliver increased sales effectiveness by providing the tools to grow quote volumes, win rates and margins, while ensuring configuration and pricing accuracy, centrally managing product knowledge and reducing selling costs through reducing the need for sales team involvement.
They’re all benefits Paxton believes TMHA will be reaping.
“The back end functionality will become more accurate and more timely, allowing our speed to market to improve with accurate pricing. At the moment the front end is very, very quick, so we will maintain that. But the back end, which will mean it is more accurate, will increase, and it will cut days off our processing times.
“If there is a change that needs to be affected, instead of it taking potentially weeks, it will be done within hours,” he says.
“And the other big benefit is the ability to integrate the CPQ with our ERP which will gain significant efficiency. Effectively there won’t be the double handling that exists today.”
Providing a better understanding for management of what has been quoted is also a key factor for Paxton. “That will allow us to potentially forecast better what stock to bring into the country with what sort of options on it as well.
Finding a solution for TMHA wasn’t easy – in fact it was a five year process before the company selected Cincom CPQ.
One key issue was TMHA’s heavy emphasis as a rental business. Paxton says at least 50 percent of the company’s business is rentals and it has a rental fleet comprising more than 25,000 assets in Australia, with a heavy emphasis on long-term rentals of around five years.
“Everyone could give us a solution for selling equipment, but they couldn’t give you one for rental.
“The configuration of a unit is exactly the same whether we’re renting or selling, it’s just back end – the commercial or finance offering – that is more complex with rentals, because you have to take into account things such as lease repayments, residual values, repair and maintenance allowances and so forth.”
When the CPQ is delivered TMHA will have hundreds of different models, ‘each with realistically 80 to 90, maybe even more options available’, Paxton says.
“The ability to be able to select, do it accurately and price it accordingly is tantamount to our business.”
Paxton says TMHA is also looking long term: “The solution had to be right, but also the partner had to be right.
“In reality I can see us using this for the next 15 to 20 years, so we need to know who we partner with is going to be available to support us. The ability to provide timely and accurate quotations for capital equipment to our customers is the lifeblood of the business.”