ABB makes configuring products as simple as ordering a pizza online

As easy as creating a customized pizza online, with ingredients, toppings and delivery options at the click of a button

Putting together all the right elements in the right places at the right time and at the right cost can be a frustrating process for OEMs, panel builders, electrical distributors and wholesalers when they order our products for themselves or their customers. It’s often a time-consuming activity that requires searching through thick catalogues or hundreds of pages of online listings to find products with particular applications within the right price ranges. The products must be arranged in a customized fashion and sent to the right destination. When the customer later re-orders this configuration, the provider goes through the process all over again. It’s all a bit like reinventing a recipe each time you prepare dinner.

ABB, however, has brought the configuration process into the digital era with an online configurator that completely integrates the ordering process with a quick and simple way to select, quote, configure and order products. It makes ordering and delivery as easy as using Amazon and creating a specialized, configured solution as easy as creating a customized pizza online, selecting the choice of ingredients, toppings and delivery options with a few clicks.

Fast online configuration for lower costs

Called e-Configure, this ABB web application is the first and only tool of its kind in the market. It enables very fast searches to identify products and application-driven selection, accessorizing and configuration, resulting in shorter lead times and lower costs. It brings together in one simple online tool all the information that providers of low-voltage products need to order from the ABB technology store. With a few clicks, users can choose components and add the accessories they want for professional, easy-to-assemble solutions, such as soft starters or circuit breakers.

With e-Configure, choosing and pricing from ABB’s immense selection of optimized circuit breaker packages, as an example, can be completed quickly and processed rapidly. e-Configure allows full configuration of a circuit breaker, including all accessories, in less than half the time that would be needed using a paper catalogue.

A star-delta starter serves as another good example of what e-Configure can do. This starting method reduces the initial torque and current needed to start a motor. The time required to compile a bill of materials for a complete star-delta starter can now take as little as 30 seconds with e-Configure, compared with the 10 to 20 minutes normally required.

The tool also allows for creation of a unique, customized assembled product for a client and retains that configuration as a personalized product code. When the customer re-orders, choosing the configured solution is a simple as re-ordering a stock part. The whole process becomes fast and simple, just like ordering an item from any online store.

Immediate access to technical information

The e-Configure tool furnishes immediate online access to technical data sheets and other information on more than 100,000 ABB low-voltage products, with images, descriptions and up-to-the-minute prices. The software that powers this system combines product data with workflow logic to guide users through the selection and ordering process with just a few clicks. The tool even will make time-saving technical recommendations during the process when appropriate. Users can search by either product code or description and then easily create, modify and order the bill of materials. The process is not only fast, but it also virtually eliminates the chance of errors when choosing and ordering products and solutions.

Additionally, e-Configure integrates with ABB’s warehousing system. That means users can check product availability immediately, in real time. This interconnection also allows the resupply of products as orders are received, helping ensure that the complete range of ABB products remains available to users.

After orders are configured, they are produced, assembled, packaged and delivered in one streamlined process—just as you would expect when ordering the online configuration and delivery of a product from Amazon or a pizza from Domino’s. As an important step forward, e-Configure provides a much more appetizing way to do business.

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