Product configuration is the design of a product based on the needs of a customer and the constraints of the environment in which the product will be created and used. The complexity of product configuration can range from selecting an existing product from a catalog, through designing a custom product from existing components, all the way to designing complex systems and integrating many custom components.Product Configuration is important for supporting sales people and engineers. It can be used to generate a customer quotation or sales proposal for complex products and systems as well as to speed up the final design and implementation of that product or system.
There are several competitive software solutions that can help you screen a database or catalog in order to generate a list of existing products that meet a customer's requirements. Often expensive and difficult to implement, they can solve this limited set of configuration problems. Where they fall short is in the arena of more complex design problems, and especially problems that require visualization and spatial reasoning as part of the solution.
Complex configuration solutions also require flexible and dynamic integration of new design rules, since new products and new rules are constantly being introduced.
Apprentice Systems can handle the full range of product configuration complexity. Using the Apprentice Product Modeler's easy visual interface, your rules for product and component selection, as well as rules for how components are related to one another, are quickly captured. New rules are integrated with the click of a mouse, without a line of code being written. A bill of materials for the configured product is generated, and solutions can be automatically documented with 2D schematics and 3D visualization where appropriate.