CPQ Insights: SUSS MicroTec

Configurable standards in highly individual products

In the competitive world of manufacturing, where excellence is the goal, SUSS MicroTec emerges as an exceptional example of innovation and customer-centricity. The motto, "Customers and their challenges are the inspiration," encapsulates an unwavering commitment to addressing unique client needs. This article delves into SUSS MicroTec's journey, highlighting their adoption of CAS Merlin CPQ and its transformative impact which Dr. Tim Brumüller presented at the SmartVariant-Con 2023. SUSS MicroTec is a renowned manufacturer based in Germany, which specializes in assembly lines for advanced technical products such as Photomask equipment and imaging solutions. Dr.-Ing. Tim Bruchmueller, elaborates on the remarkable journey, illuminating how CAS Merlin CPQ paved the way for annual savings exceeding €350,000.

Navigating a competitive landscape

SUSS MicroTec confronted a unique challenge. Their customers engaged in direct competition with one another, necessitating a relentless focus on process optimization and accelerated production. This, in turn, placed significant pressure on SUSS to provide tailor-made process solutions aligned with each customer's unique requirements.

The manufacturing landscape often presents a choice: high profitability with a small market share, focusing on highly specialized products, or a large market share with standardized "off-the-shelf" offerings. SUSS found itself in the middle, grappling with the challenge of straddling both worlds. Their response was to adopt the motto, "Avoid the middle ground."

"Don't get stuck in the middle!"

The Solution: CAS Merlin CPQ as the bridge to success

SUSS MicroTec's strategy to bridge this gap was to identify configurable standards within their product line. For instance, their robot-cells featured standardized interfaces while accommodating individual components. Enter CAS Merlin CPQ—a rule-based model that allowed for easy configuration while leaving room for essential customizations. Before CAS Merlin CPQ, SUSS MicroTec's sales process involved complex communication between the sales and operations realms, often plagued by errors and inefficiencies. The introduction of CPQ streamlined this process, creating an error-free environment for configuring products. CAS Merlin CPQ not only simplified communication but also offered several benefits such as fewer interfaces, centralized data in SAP, and the ability to use SAP as a calculator and configurator, providing real-time recommendations.

The CPQ implementation journey

To overcome internal resistance, SUSS MicroTec created a mock-up to showcase the capabilities of CAS Merlin CPQ to employees directly involved with the configurator. Winning the executive board's support required a compelling ROI calculation, which demonstrated that substantial savings could be achieved with A CPQ-Software in just 1.7 years. The integration of CAS Merlin CPQ into SUSS MicroTec's existing CRM and ERP structure was made seamless with the support of CAS Software AG. This not only boosted morale but also ensured the software's acceptance across the organization. While most technical rules have been implemented, some product categories, like Aligners and Photomask equipment, lag behind. SUSS attributed this to the organizational challenges faced during CAS Merlin CPQ implementation. To address this, they restructured their R&D department into teams, each responsible for specific product modules.

In Tim Bruchmueller's perspective, achieving individual solutions requires the right product, architecture, technology, and an organization supported by suitable software. Continuous optimization in smaller increments minimizes risks associated with significant, disruptive releases. The story of SUSS MicroTec's transformation with CAS Merlin CPQ is an inspiring narrative, offering valuable insights into CPQ integration. It highlights the myriad possibilities where CAS Merlin CPQ can bring immense benefits to a company, even in product portfolios where its potential might not be immediately apparent.

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