Not all aspects of digital fabrication have to do with tools and manufacturing. There are also tools available that assist in the initiation of product demand and order management, for example.
Advanceware, based in Central City, Colo., develops rules-based design, pricing, order entry, engineering and bill-of-material software for companies that sell highly configured products, specifically for the cabinet manufacturing, cabinet component and kitchen, bath and home-storage industries.
From a shop or dealer’s point of view, the core part of the software package is the Quick Order Entry and Visual Order Entry programs. While these two software packages arrive at the same end, QOE does it with names and numbers, while VOE adds 2-D parametric capabilities that allow the salesperson and customer to see the appearance of the cabinets.
Both of these ordering packages are data-driven through an online catalog, created and hosted by the cabinet manufacturers, and available only to authorized users. The catalog presents every option for materials, finishes, door and drawer style, cabinet type, hardware, etc. The salesperson can enter the order with the customer present and get instant verification that all things are possible.
The system provides several opportunities to upsell enhancements, such as finish on the end of a cabinet, adding drawers behind a door or some specialized component from an outside supplier.
Both packages tally the final order and can send drawings to the shop floor.
There are many advantages to using Adanceware-type software. For example, catalog updates can be made anytime or anywhere, giving salespeople the latest information. It’s always a draw for young people who’ve grown up in the digital age. At this point, they expect to be able to see what they’re buying and having a visual representation of their design choices in real time is a powerful sales tool.
Advanceware has a couple more key features. The Quick Order Editor is an order-management tool that offers a communication platform between the dealer and manufacturer. The Quick Order Releaser converts the order into necessary information for the cabinetmaker, such as a list of components. It has some CAD capability and can be integrated with AutoCad.
AdvanceWare says it is developing QOE and VOE for use with tablets and the cloud, so orders can be completed in the customer’s home or business and sent directly to the shop or manufacturer. This customer-oriented aspect will eventually include the ability to visualize an entire room. AdvanceWare is also developing a module that generates G-Code to run CNC machines.
This article originally appeared in the December 2015 issue.