The quoting process is a critical inflection point in the customer engagement cycle—and one of the factors that sets the tone for the entire customer experience. During a recent webinar presented by Infor, Kerry Davis, VP of North America Applications at Herman Miller, discussed what this $2+ billion company hoped to achieve through the implementation of advanced Configure Price Quote (CPQ) – and how Infor CPQ best equipped Herman Miller to meet the challenges of higher customer expectations in today’s omni-channel era.
According to studies by Aberdeen Group and Nucleus Research, companies see CPQ software as one of their primary weapons in combating declining sales, higher costs, and brand commoditization. By streamlining and automating the quote process, CPQ software can drive five-fold increases in revenue, nearly five percent increases in profitability, and boost customer retention by as much as 88 percent. It allows companies to follow-up more quickly on customer inquiries and accelerates the sales cycle dramatically. It also helps brands differentiate themselves through a richer, more responsive customer experience.
These findings echo Herman Miller’s expectations for its own CPQ implementation. Headquartered in Zeeland, Michigan, the company has an extensive network of manufacturing facilities in the United States, China, Italy, and the United Kingdom, with sales offices, dealers, licensees, and customers in over 100 countries. The company saw CPQ as the means to increase sales and quote-to-order conversion rates, and drive higher quote volumes and accuracy.
Herman Miller’s product line is the antithesis of one-size-fits all. The company offers an array of options, sizes, and finishes that allow customers to get products tailored to their exact needs and specifications.
“Our Aeron chair, our most iconic chair, has 6 million SKU capabilities [options]. We are dealing with a ton of options on all of our products, we have lots and lots of data that feeds into [pricing] models as well.” said Kerry Davis, Herman Miller
With Infor CPQ, Herman Miller was able to provide self-service capabilities for configuring special finishes and options, identify and order service parts, and order ancillary product from additional brands. Dealers can generate 2D and 3D outputs of their order and integrate the results into their own specification systems. The new CPQ solution not only accelerates the time-to-order for custom orders, it also improves quote accuracy and allows dealers to secure manufacturing lead time in Herman Miller’s plants, which leads to quicker deliveries.
The new CPQ solution replaced the company’s manual, phone-based process. Not only does the new system save time for Herman Miller’s sales reps and customers, it also creates a richer customer experience that empowers customers with the options and flexibility they want—which encourages repeat orders and ongoing loyalty to the brand.
So, what factors made Infor CPQ the right choice for Herman Miller? As Davis noted, the company had a long-term relationship with Infor and was looking for a complete solution from a single vendor that could help lower its total cost of ownership. Instead of dealing with the ongoing maintenance and integration challenges of multiple configurators, the company took the opportunity to create the cross-enterprise consistency that would benefit customers and internal users alike. Also, Infor CPQ offered smoother integration with the company’s existing LN, SyteLine, and selling systems. That translates into a quicker, smoother implementation and a shorter timeline between the go-live date and seeing the actual benefits of the solution.
Finally, the webinar audience had the chance to weigh in with their own views on the challenges that a CPQ solution could address. A total of 71.8 percent of attendees identified “Creating a quote takes too long” as the challenge that resonated with them the most, while 61.5 percent chose “We want to improve quote-to-order conversion rates and accuracy.” In other words, Herman Miller isn’t alone in identifying the speed accuracy of the quoting process as defining elements of the customer experience—and the catalyst for improving order conversions. For Herman Miller, Infor CPQ was the clear winner in the quest for a CPQ solution that could help it deliver the customer experiences that will strengthen its iconic brand for years to come.