Sector Lighting solutions
Company Fagerhult / Fagerhult Group
Employees 500 / 4,100
- Technological changes which has resulted in a dramatically increased number of variants.
- To correctly predict the variants that customers will want.
- To make all the possibilities visible in a clear way, as well as associated technical information and pricing.
- Manual labor to create and maintain all variants that are demanded.
Product & Application Strategy Manager at Fagerhult
Combinum is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle to solve the most difficult challenges we have faced in the last 10 years. It has been an extensive journey, not only system-wise, but also to change working methods and tasks that have taken 75 years to refine.
I am happy that we have come through this journey well and that we are now getting a return on the investment through an improved customer offer, less work in our development projects and reduced work in the care of our products.
Fagerhult develops, produces and markets lighting fixtures for professional and public environments, indoors and outdoors. Sales take place through sales companies with locations around Europe.
The products include a wide flora of luminaires optimized for various applications in combination with lighting control systems for increased durability.
Several processes have been created internally at Fagerhult over the years to define and quality-assure how to build up the range to offer customers for each individual product.
Customers are used to ordering on a specific item number and there is still a need for a catalog range. The desire was therefore to make each configuration global so that if the same configuration is made again, it will receive the same part number.
With the above requirements, each configuration needs to be kept alive for the lifetime of the product. The challenge was therefore not only to create bill of materials, programming of LED drivers, lighting data files, data sheets, etc. for each new configuration, but also to maintain these automatically during the product's lifetime. A challenge worthy of the project's name - Rubik's Cube.
A solid preliminary study was carried out to identify which whole or parts of systems and processes will be affected in order to achieve the desired effect, where Fagerhult then ran parallel to the system introduction a change work regarding its production and development processes.
"In-process' experience from previous projects and deep knowledge within configurators was very valuable in this work." - Martin Carlestav, Fagerhult
To ensure that each configuration is unique, a comparison string consisting of its parameters and values is generated and saved. The string is used when saving new configurations to see if the variant already exists and, if so, lead the user to it instead of saving a new configuration. When adding new parameters, there is a solution to update the comparison strings.
Automatic maintenance of BOMs and prices for saved configurations was solved through a process where Combinum goes through all configurations of a product, generates new data and compares with saved data. If necessary, the configuration data is updated in Combinum and the corresponding changes are sent to the business system, Jeeves, as XML messages via an Azure Service Bus.
We can see a decrease in the amount of requests for adaptations of products introduced in Combinum. In the development projects, previous bottlenecks have been reduced thanks to less manual work, whereupon we have a shorter time to market. - Martin Carlestav, Fagerhult