“Orchestrating” the Sales-to-Manufacturing Process

KBMax Briefing Note

By:  Eric M. Luyer, Industry Research Analyst

Axendia was recently briefed by the executive team at KBMax about their offering to the Bio-Pharma Industry.

KBMax offers innovative and engaging technology in the visual “Configure, Price, Quote” (CPQ) and Visualization market, “orchestrating” the sales-to-manufacturing process in an engineer-to-order environment.  KBMax was acquired by Epicor in May 2021. This acquisition will continue to drive growth for Epicor as they now have the ability to offer KBMax software as a stand-alone system or integrate it into the Epicor ERP suite to generate new, cross and up-sell revenues.

Steve Murphy, CEO of Epicor commented on the acquisition:It’s a perfect time for businesses to reach our customers in new and compelling ways. The integration of KBMax’s technology into our platform will solve that challenge for our customers, enabling them to create an information-rich and immersive online buying experience. The integration of next-gen CPQ tools with our ERP system will enable vital connectivity points to our customers across inventory, costs, pricing, and customer data”.

KBMax software provides a bridge between Epicor’s customized ERP modules and the sales-to-order process, delivering better customer outcomes.  This new offering is expected to open new international opportunities for Epicor, specifically in the high growth engineer-to-order markets.

According to Corrado Songini, KBMax Vice President Sales EMEA “KBMax customers will benefit by having access to greater technology solutions and services under the Epicor brand name, coupled with a seamless transition and assured continuity. Both solutions are cloud-based, are well regarded in the market and are highly appreciated by many customers in key manufacturing and distribution industries”.

Extending Customer Relationship Management Platforms

So, what is the KBMax offering all about?  In short: it contains simple and powerful administration, rules development, visual configuration, quoting, and dynamic pricing in one comprehensive cloud offering. 

The rules engine is the backbone of the smart visual CPQ platform, allowing users to configure the right products, features, pricing, and generate a quote or order easily and confidently. The KBMax product configurator can auto-generate proposal drawings for Sales, while also providing CAD file outputs for Engineering, relieving pressure for both teams to focus on their core business. The solution also connects with the most popular CAD platforms.

In the briefing with KBMax it became clear that the solution contains functionality that addresses the needs of sales and buyers in sales/engineer-to-order processes:

  • Visual experience: configures what the customer wants, providing visual configuration customizable to the audience.
  • 2D and 3D product visualization:  changes product reviews, options and pricing in real-time, quickly and accurately – all based on options the user is selecting.
  • Builds quotes quickly and easily: It shorten sales cycles with a visual guided experience. Options chosen during configuration automatically make their way into the quote, along with auto-generated proposal drawings and other supporting documents. 
  • Provides pricing to users immediately: While configuring products in real-time, pricing can be updated based on factors including complex pricing scenarios, discount and approval workflows, leveraging data from external sources like pricing tables or ERP.
  • Auto-generates manufacturing documents: KBMax workflows can generate and send information like BOMs, cut sheets, inventory status, shipping, assembly, and other key outputs for the manufacturing process. Since all outputs are auto-generated directly from the product configuration, shop floor managers can be confident in the results.
  • Integrates buying with core processes and systems: To support connectivity for configurations, pricing and quoting to the entire organization, KBMax uses its REST API or Mulesoft integration to connect a variety of business systems including:  ERP’s, shopping carts/eCommerce, CRM/CPQ platforms, CAD systems, PLM or other apps, databases, and proprietary systems.

Bio-Pharmaceutical Use Cases

After implementing the KBMax solution, one Bio-Pharma customer shared their experience noting that empowered salespeople are delivering more accurate quotes and faster. Dan Spurgin, Project Manager of Repligen commented: Our product configurator, powered by KBMax, allowed us to systematize our engineering experience to generate customer specific products within minutes, not weeks”.

Another example is a Medical Device company that was struggling with long cycle times for sales to get valid quotes and drawings. They had an in-house tool that showed visuals but did not have a validation feature, resulting in numerous errors. Now, using KBMax, the teams have a single source of truth on product rules for six product lines, visual configuration with real-time pricing and automated generated CAD. The solution for this customer resulted in millions in cost savings, tremendous increase in quote capacity and significant reduction in deal cycle-time. Tom Roy, former Senior Project Manager of Merck confirmed that “our sales team previously submitted quotes to our engineering team multiple times for rework until they were correct. With KBMax, they now create quotes that reflect our engineering rules for our customers immediately.” 

In Brief

Looking to the future it is fair to say that using the Epicor/KBMax solution, organizations can meet changing requirements by optimal use of current and new technologies.  It is a cloud-based SaaS offering for mid-sized organizations that is also ready for the “digital transformation” journey.

Digital Transformation is driving Life Science organizations to invest in optimizations in their production systems, increasing their operations’ productivity and quality performance.  We recognize the value of using KBMax’ offering in reducing engineering time through visual “Configure, Price, Quote” tools. 

Engineers can now focus on discovery and development to achieve true innovation bottom-up by delivering a great buying experience and simplifying manufacturing processes with a solution that connects the shopping cart to the shop floor.  Lifesaving products can be manufactured more quickly and more reliably.

The Covid19 pandemic makes it clear the importance and value of leveraging new technologies.  

Incorporating AR (Augmented reality) and VR (Virtual Reality) into the CPQ process has tremendous benefit for the customer or user:  It provides an immersive buying experience to buyers, wherever they’re situated. Manufacturers of complex, configurable products can create virtual showrooms and let buyers interact with products before they’ve even been manufactured. To remain competitive Bio-
Tech and Pharma companies need to digitize their sales- to-manufacturing strategies and processes and the Epicor/KBMax solution is contributing to this.

Axendia Inc. will continue to provide updates on the joint solution offering as they become available and relevant for the Life Sciences & Healthcare market.

Contact Research@axendia.com to schedule an Analyst Inquiry on this topic.

The opinions and analysis expressed in this Briefing Note reflect the judgment of Axendia at the time of publication and are subject to change without notice. Information contained in this document is current as of publication date. Information cited is not warranted by Axendia but has been obtained through a valid research methodology. This document is not intended to endorse any company or product and should not be attributed as such.