Connecting CET Designer with ERP and other systems

Connecting CET Designer with ERP and other systems

At Configura, we offer all-in-one software that can take a project from the initial proposal, through the design process, to completing an actual order. However, once a project is completed, where does the order go?

More likely than not, your company has some kind of ERP system to handle inventory management, manufacturing, service calls, delivery, shipping, product planning and much more. Now the crucial question is, can CET Designer communicate and send the order straight into the ERP system?

The answer is: Yes!

With 25 years in the business, we have worked with connecting our software with many different systems. This is a crucial step of automation and we at Configura have a lot of experience working with many different systems – not only ERP systems. Some examples are IFS Applications, SAP, Infor M3, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Oracle ERP, Libello, Dun&Bradstreet, Dynamics AX, Monitor, etc.

No one-process-fits-all package

Every company uses a process – whether it’s a decided process or something that just “happened”. Changing these processes is sometimes necessary but there are also instances where a company’s processes are great - they just need to upgrade their software.

When we work with a new customer, we don’t force them to adapt to a certain process. Instead, our solution enables us to customize to each customer’s individual processes. We always assist in suggesting best practices and work to improve current processes, but we do not sell a one-process-fits-all package. We create customized software based on the customer’s strategic needs.

Below is a list of typical advantages of connecting CET Designer with an ERP system.

1.   A two-way solution

The communication between CET Designer and an ERP system often goes both ways. CET Designer can fetch data from the ERP system, such as product numbers, the question/answer domains for the product numbers, real time pricing, price information and rules describing how to calculate prices. CET Designer can also send data, such as a finalized order into the ERP system.

Connecting these system with each other has some obvious advantages. Eliminating the need for import and export minimizes the steps where information can get lost. It reduces the risk of human errors – because no matter how good we are at our jobs, there is always a possibility to make a mistake. Automating this process can therefore be a huge time and money saver.

2.  CET Designer can send orders straight to manufacturing

It’s up to each customer to decide whether they want an order to go straight from CET Designer to production, or if the order should go straight into their ERP system so they can make manual additions such as credit checks, agreements etc. We have experience creating both solutions, and always look at each customer’s needs and processes to decide what will benefit them the most.

3.   CET Designer reads prices and price calculations from the ERP system

One of the strengths with CET Designer, is that it can perform a price calculation in real time based on what the user designs. In order to do that, CET Designer needs to calculate list prices the same way the ERP system does and, therefore, also needs access to the same data the ERP system uses for its price calculations.

For speed, the calculations are usually performed offline in CET Designer but a connection to the ERP system is required in order to continually keep prices up-to-date. A great advantage to connecting the systems this way is that you only have to update your prices in one place - but will still reach all your sales and design people.

4.  CET Designer can generate product codes and part numbers

To send anything to an ERP system, the systems need to speak the same language. This language has so far, more often than not, been product numbers. Product numbers are not the most efficient solution, but there are better and worse ways of creating them.

We encourage customers to create smart product numbers, where they have a main code for the product and then adds a letter or number to this code to describe each additional option such as length, width, color, material, etc. The downside is that the more possible configurations, the more product numbers are produced – it can turn out to be millions.

With CET Designer, we have more possibilities than simply using product numbers. We can send attributes – descriptions of how the product is being configured. The customer can then decide to do one of three things:

  • Transform these attributes in the ERP system to Bill of Material part numbers – the strength with this option is that any changes in engineering and manufacturing can be done without having to make any changes in CET Designer.
  • Generate the Bill of Material in CET Designer – the user gets a Bill of Material in the program without having to use other software.
  • Use these attributes to generate code for CNC machines - this option means that the information can be sent straight to production with all information for a robot or machine to know how to cut or drill the product.  We talk more about sending parameters straight to production in our previous blog post: The power of PGC and Parametric Manufacturing.

We can connect with any service that has a web service

These are some of the main advantages our customers can see today when connecting CET Designer with their ERP system. However, we can connect with more systems than just ERP.

A basic rule is that we can connect with any service that provides a web service. An example could be a freight calculation services, so a user can see shipment costs in CET Designer. Other examples are currency converters, maps or even services that can run a credit report on the customer and get additional information.

The opportunities are endless and the biggest obstacle is not technology - it’s getting the ideas of what your company needs and would benefit the most from.

It’s up to you to decide. What systems would you connect?

By Conny Pettersson

Conny is a Senior IT Consultant and Partner to Configura.