Kingspan Simplifies Complex Product Orders with SAP VC
Kingspan's new design is scalable, high performance, and dramatically simplified. What used to take a week to configure and maintain a model, now takes a matter of hours.
Kingspan's primary products are architectural business panels used in construction. Orders are complex and vary greatly from project to project. As an international building materials company with 159 manufacturing facilities, multiple lines of business, and more than 15,000 employees in over 70 countries, Kingspan was spending far too many hours managing configuration, creating orders, and processing sales.
Dated Configuration Tech Was Slowing Kingspan Down
The sales and engineering teams were using Excel documents to configure products. Products weren’t updated in a timely manner, and the rules that create the models were not maintained or uniform. Configuration of these complex products was time consuming, difficult, and hard to ensure accuracy.
The company was headlong into an SAP Variant Configuration implementation based on advice from another vendor. The modeling recommendation they were following was overly simple for Kingspan’s complex product offerings and they were running into serious challenges. Kingspan reached out to the Configuration Workgroup (CWG), a leading international user group of SAP customers and partners focused on product and solution configuration, where they connected with eLogic.
eLogic quickly determined that the original design could never reliably scale to meet the business requirements and then made the controversial recommendation to abandon that design in favor of an innovative multi-level model that extensively leveraged advanced SAP VC functionality. eLogic met with Kingspan’s leadership to fully understand the many nuances of their configuration process. Distinctions were quickly made between sales configuration and manufacturing configuration.
Various configurable bom structures were created for sales and manufacturing with the root level panel configurable material in common – A design breakthrough that enabled tremendous simplification and modularity. Specific design challenges included:
Modeling and navigating through a very large array (> 4,000) of product characteristics
Summing of cutlist features & dimensions with a means to estimate totals prior to providing cutlist details
Working with fractional and decimal inches
Variant pricing that applies to all panel configurations within a sales document
Delivery and invoicing of panels by bundle
Splitting and joining of bundles for delivery
Strategy & Configuration Model Design
SAP Variant Configuration
Having sales on one system meant accurate documents, variations, and timely sales, leading to improved service and loyalty.
With greatly improved configuration models over dated spreadsheets, engineers went from taking days to make changes to minutes.
4K to 100
Configured to Succeed
Kingspan's design is scalable, high performance, and dramatically simplified. What used to take a week to configure and maintain a model, now takes a matter of hours. The configuration model reduced the number of characteristics from 4,000 to 100, removing duplicative elements. Maintenance of the model is now much more user friendly and easier to track.
The model also reduced dependencies, up to 100 times smaller, meaning serious time savings for engineers when maintaining the model -- instead of spending a day making changes, they now spend 30 minutes.
Additional results include:
Modeling is far less dependent on ABAP code for routine maintenance
Characteristics no longer enumerated, thus going from 4000+ to approximately 100 per configurable material
Dependencies were reduced, up to 100 times smaller
Performance increases of at least 10-100 times
Powerful new capabilities beyond what the legacy solution offered