Project Description

Digital Request Form

To simplify and standardize the inquiry process

1. Initial Situation

The Austrian PALFINGER Group is a manufacturer of hydraulic lifting and loading equipment. Especially well known are the cranes with articulated arm mounted on trucks. These cranes are fully configurable. The product catalog offers the most diverse solutions for the most diverse cases.

At the company’s in-house Mounting Competence Center (MCC), these configurable products are built onto carrier vehicles. The vehicle can be from any possible producer. There are, of course, different options for this. PALFINGER does more here than just the crane superstructure; it also builds vehicles. This involves a degree of engineering effort. Finally, this is a fairly new business model for PALFINGER.

However, as is so often the case in life, it is not possible to combine together everything with everything else. Some wishes are mutually exclusive. These requests should be filtered beforehand during the inquiry process.

Currently, inquiries from dealers and distributors in this regard are sent to the Engineering MCC in a wide variety of ways and levels of detail (by e-mail, WhatsApp, fax, handwritten, etc.). This of course results in mistakes or incomplete information. This leads to a high clarification effort before the preparation of the offer can be started.

A standardized form was needed. With this form, the urgently needed minimum information should be requested. This is the only way to check whether the request is technically feasible and how much it will cost. Without this information, the engineer is constantly forced to ask the sales colleagues. The sales associate, in turn, has to obtain the necessary information from the customer individually. This enormous expenditure for clearing up information is, of course,  a massive complication for PALFINGER.

  • PALFINGER AG

  • Bergheim (AT)

  • 2020

  • Digital Form

Excited customer

“The time needed to clarify the technical feasibility and costs previously required too much time and effort. For this, we needed a smart solution that helps us retrieve all the important information in a standardized way so that we can provide customers with the right offer for their needs as fast as possible.”

Marius Stehling, Global PALFINGER Production System & Industry 4.0 Manager

2. The Challenge

Initially, PALFINGER had considered tackling this problem with Excel lists. However, due to insufficient performance, this was quickly discarded. Alternatively, editable PDFs would have been conceivable. But here the problem arose that no photos or other media files could be added.

So it was finally decided that an application that is both web and mobile capable would be the best solution – Simplifier.

In the current stage of expansion, it is so that one has the offer data in a database. These are available for the further process. If needed, they can be processed later in other systems (e.g. in an order management tool). This represents the first step for a solution that can be thought bigger in the future – be it in the direction of the SAP system or in a self-developed order management tool.

3. Solution

Some applications should also be offered via a single platform. This is accompanied by the standardization of the company’s own processes in the ERP system. No matter which factory in which country – the processes are always the same. The apps that enrich that are also the same.

An app was created in the format of a digital form. With this, a PDF is generated from the information received. This is sent to a PALFINGER mailbox via Simplifier and attached to the offer as a request.

In this way, PALFINGER has all the information it needs to prepare a quotation in a centralized way.

The customer, in turn, can configure what he wants in this form in a standardized process. Based on his information, he finally receives the individual offer that is most suitable for him.

Clemens Mayr, Head of projects at PALFINGER

“The level of detail in our requests has varied a lot in the past. With the new Request Application, we have succeeded in standardizing the inquiry process as far as possible. As a result, we have been able to greatly reduce the time it takes to submit a quote. Another big advantage of the new App, from my point of view, is the guided inquiry process. All aspects of vehicle construction are queried. Thus, nothing is missed and the customer has the feeling of having received competent advice.”

Clemens Mayr, Projektleiter PALFINGER

4. Results

The result is massive savings in time and effort with regard to the gathering of information and the associated preparation of offers. Due to the very simple filling, both the inquiries from dealers/customers and the individual offers that PALFINGER can create based on these information are of a much higher quality – and the response time is significantly shorter. This means that customers don’t just receive an offer tailored exactly to their needs, but have it much faster.

Application development is also much faster with low code. This in turn leads to significantly lower costs and a much faster roll-out.

In the current expansion stage, the offer details are saved in a database. These are available for the further process. If required, they can be used later in further systems (e.g. in an order management tool). This represents the first step for a solution that can be thought bigger in the future – no matter if it is in the direction of the SAP system or a self-developed order management tool.

The app is currently available in two languages (German and English). An absolute must for an internationally active player like PALFINGER . This allows non-German-speaking customers to order their desired configurations.

With this app, dealers/customers receive a digital solution that makes their jobs a lot easier.

More efficiency

Better quality assurance

Less complexity

Added value in app creation by leveraging low-code

+70%

faster application development.

-50%

Reduction of development effort and roll-out time.

-50%

Reduction of development costs.

5. Perspective

To push ahead with the digital transformation, PALFINGER is aiming to rely even more on Simplifier.

A long-term goal in this context is that in future data will also be used for communication between different systems and that finally everything will be configurable in the SAP system.

It is planned to offer other languages (e.g., Russian) in addition to German and English so that the company’s own international approach continues to be implemented.

At present, the app is merely optimized for desktop use. But this will not be the end of the story with regard to the medium and long term. In the context of enterprise mobility, we are considering implementing the process on mobile devices as well. This would allow orders to get processed much more quickly. Thanks to its independence from operating systems and devices, Simplifier is ideally qualified for this role.

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    Amount of required applications:

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