With the help of the online configurator, developed by software developer Acatec, configuring your ZARGES product to your specific needs becomes a vivid experience. The configurator was relaunched in summer 2019.
High-quality stairs, platforms and crossings, ladder systems, transport and logistics boxes as well as special solutions for the entire range of industrial applications form ZARGES’ core business. The aluminium specialist ZARGES, headquartered in Weilheim, Upper Bavaria, demands high standards of the three European production sites regarding safety, quality and ergonomic of its products. Hence, the durable and flexibly used aluminium products have a good reputation with users all over the world.
In order to meet the market demand in more than 20 countries, ZARGES has been using a series of product configurators developed by Acatec Software GmbH for the past ten years. A relaunch was planned for summer 2019 so that users could benefit from better performance, more usability and a solution for mobile use. The focus was on the 3D viewer, in which the stairs and platforms as well as the fixed ladder systems were integrated. The configurator can be viewed at www.zargesconfigurator.com.
The desired solution in just a few steps
The practical requirements of the ZARGES products vary depending on the industry – industrial and plant engineering, craft, rail transport, aviation, police, Federal Armed Forces, healthcare, printery and logistics. Due to this variety, configurators on the website are highly useful to the customers and functions as a selling tool from a sales perspective. A state-of-the-art user experience is correspondingly important for users. The determining factor is that the tool is easy to use and that customers feel comfortable on the ZARGES website. For this purpose, the relaunch focused on a plus in usability with fewer pop-up windows. Especially for mobile use on tablets or mobile phones, a configuration that is easy to handle is essential. For the desired success of the project, ZARGES works closely with Acatec consultants. Among other things, the “Inventor” CAD system must be integrated as smoothly as possible into the new solution. The background: ZARGES’ use of the configurator extends all the way to production. The parts lists are generated automatically after the order has been placed. This consistency from the point of sale on the web to the order processing in production is one of Acatec’s specialties. The 3D viewer is the tool that makes sales considerably easier.
One of the main advantages of the online configurator is that users do not need any prior knowledge other than the dimensions of the solution they are looking for. This accommodates the heterogeneity of the buyers – ranging from professional buyers of large industrial companies to specialist users or safety officers. In return, customers provide ZARGES with valuable feedback on the products, which in turn flows into the design of the configurator’s usability. Here the principle applies: If a user changes the dimensions of a product, he needs to see the consequences directly in order to be able to determine if a solution is significantly oversized.
The right tool for the requirements of the market
In addition to the market position of a quality manufacturer, the launch of the first configurator in 2009 led to an additional increase in ZARGES’ sales figures. Above all, the solution has proven itself in assembling the products as individually as the users need them – either alone or together with a sales representative. In addition, ZARGES uses the configurator to standardize special solutions as part of a modular system or to manually construct individual products based on the standard as special solutions. In this context, experts differentiate between Assemble-To-Order (ATO), where the majority of sales are generated from existing CAD model kits, and Engineer-To-Order (ETO), where the company actively adds new elements.
Valuable conclusions for the future can be drawn from successes
The use of the configurator quickly led to a number of positive effects. On the one hand, the server capacities had to be doubled in order to handle the increased number of users. On the other hand, ZARGES hired new production staff to cope with the flood of orders.
The top learnings from the project: It pays off to involve all participants – from the beginning of the process chain in sales through to production, because this eliminates the need for subsequent coordination. The added value of appropriate test phases and the sometimes surprising insights into the complexity of the products that the configurator has to map are similarly positive. This wealth of experience was incorporated into the conception of the planned product configurator of the new generation in the form of a 3D viewer, which was launched on time for the tenth anniversary of its first predecessor.