AFL builds custom CPQ using Skuid, saves $1 million.

Overview

AFL is a global manufacturer whose products and services help customers improve their critical fiber optic and electrical infrastructures. The company was one of Skuid’s earliest adopters, initially saving $82,000 on implementation and reducing time spent managing commissions in Salesforce by 67%. Since the company’s initial Skuid rollout, AFL launched a new configure, price, quote (CPQ) program, built entirely using Skuid on Salesforce. By leveraging the company’s Salesforce instance through the power of Skuid, the company avoided spending $1 million on another CPQ solution, eliminated around $150,000 per year in existing licensing costs from their previous CPQ solution, and was able to go to market 79% faster.

Challenge

With around 100,000 quotable products and complex pricing rules, AFL struggled to find CPQ software that could adapt to the intricacies of their quoting process. After about five years of using their legacy CPQ vendor, AFL discovered its unique needs no longer fit an off-the-shelf solution. AFL wanted its business users to be able to maintain the products for which they were responsible, for faster and more accurate management. But with the existing CPQ solution, only users with the title of admin could manage products behind the scenes.

Additionally, it was written in a proprietary programming language that caused significant delays with complex processes, says Chandra Verrett, sales process and applications manager at AFL. The company also always needed someone on staff with expertise in this language to ensure the application ran smoothly, creating organizational bottlenecks. And even after spending $150,000-160,000 on licensing for their previous solution, AFL was limited to only 60 users. They wanted to expand, but didn’t want to incur additional licensing costs—estimated at the time to be around $110 per user.

Based on the number of users AFL wanted to add, this was an additional $103,400 in costs—altogether $253,400 for the solution. To better meet the company’s needs and better serve its customers, AFL needed a custom-tailored solution.

Solutions

Chandra started the company’s search for solutions with a consulting partner, who researched an implementation of another CPQ software and quoted AFL around $1 million— a quote Chandra estimates was very conservative. The proposed solution also didn’t fit AFL’s unique needs, and would have taken one developer almost 3.5 years to implement.

Since AFL couldn’t afford to invest that amount of time and resources into their new CPQ system, Chandra decided to see if her team could replicate the success they’d previously experienced with Skuid in this new area. By using Skuid on the company’s existing Salesforce instance, AFL could design a CPQ system tailored to their unique quoting process, without writing thousands of lines of code. Since AFL was already using Skuid, the company could also deploy this system to other departments—totaling 1,000 users—without incurring additional licensing costs.

Results

Chandra estimates that it took AFL less than nine months of development time to build their new CPQ program using Skuid. “Our deployment was a full big bang,” Chandra says, and users are already much happier with the new system. To make the user experience more familiar, Chandra’s team modeled the new CPQ on an online shopping experience.

As the user configures products or adds them to a quote, the program builds what users might recognize as a “shopping cart” on one side of the screen. Users can click on the cart to fly out details, then return to the actual quote as needed. To manage the complexity of AFL’s quoting process, the team used Skuid to integrate their product lead time into the CPQ and added a competitor quote cross reference feature, so that users don’t have to look externally for either kind of information.

And in addition to giving business users the long-desired ability to update the products they manage, Skuid made it possible for business users to add new products as well. Chandra says users are already saying that the new system is faster and better. “It certainly positions us for growth,” Chandra says. “And we added a number of features that weren’t available before that users had been asking for over the years.”