Playing catch-up to rival enterprise resource planning vendor PeopleSoft Inc., J.D. Edwards & Co. announced last week the general availability of its OneWorld Advanced Web Order Configurator, or AWOC. A Web-deployed, business-to-business sales order application, AWOC is designed to help manufacturers compete in a world used to the idea of instant information by allowing customers to configure products online in real time.
Built to accommodate a to-order and postponement manufacturing environment, AWOC will enable a company to visually configure a product to a customers specifications in real time by simplifying the process of configuring product orders.
When a customer requests a variation in a companys product, the entered information generates a visual representation of the newly configured product—as well as supporting technical documents. If the customer requests an invalid configuration, the manufacturer is notified via e-mail, theoretically avoiding bottlenecks and production delays.
The idea is to allow enterprises to extend the configuration process down the supply chain so dealers, distributors and larger customers can order from their desktops, according to company officials.
J.D. Edwards, of Denver, said it expects businesses using AWOC to benefit from the software in a number of ways. One is through an intuitive path of steps that suggests upsell opportunities to salespeople in the field using AWOC and ensures accurate orders. Another is through rule-authoring wizards that are designed to simplify development and maintenance of product rules such as valid combinations of features and options.
The AWOC application integrates with J.D. Edwards OneWorld order fulfillment system and other OneWorld enterprise applications, which triggers automated routings and work orders, according to officials.
Peter Muijsenberg, advanced order configurator team leader at Dexion Group Ltd., of Hemel Hempstead, England, which provides industrial storage and materials handling, said AWOCs robust rules and compelling graphics will help streamline Dexions sales channels.
With the ability to configure and quote products in the customers office, Muijsenberg said he expects to be able to stay days ahead of the competition.
In addition to AWOC, J.D. Edwards suite of OneWorld Advanced Order Configurator applications includes the Advanced Order Configurator Quote for in-house sales order entry and the Advanced Order Configurator Pro for AutoCAD integration.
All of these applications can deploy the same product catalogs.
For its part, PeopleSoft, of Pleasanton, Calif., last week announced its PeopleSoft Product Configurator. That software is in the same vein as AWOC; it allows a manufacturers customers to customize a configured product online and customer service representatives to create custom orders on the fly. By using PeopleSoft eStore, customers can also price custom-configured products online.