At first glance, Assa Abloy France (AAF) appears to run a straightforward business producing armored and entry doors for residential and individual housing. But AAF has an international reach with departments in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Switzerland, and Belgium through its retailer network “Points Forts Fichet”. Their employee roster stands at 1300 people, and the company creates 2,600 configurations every month. That’s close to 32,000 per year!
Before e-Con: AAF’s business situation
AAF dealt with a range of major issues on a daily basis. The company coded configurations on a dedicated website, the rules to configure products were directly implemented in the .asp coding. Laurent Machu, project representative, notes, “If AAF modified a product line only the subcontractor hosting the site could make modifications. The process was slow, carried risk for errors, and forced the company into a reactive model if problems arose. Even for the teams creating the initial models and configurations, the .asp pages were not reliable.” In addition, retailers struggled with a mandatory sequence of questions that were ordered by dependencies. The configuration process also didn’t offer the ability to show customers WHAT the product would look like—a significant selling drawback. AAF’s previous ERP system, Movex, did include a configurator, but all rules defining the product range were not written into the tool. While they could view the “official” range of products the factory could manufacture, they often had to make best guesses about options and variations. Back office and production often received orders that they simply couldn’t manufacture — they were almost prototypes! Also, documents generated for customers did not contain the latest information—overall, they were just out of date.