What is a product configurator

Let’s have a closer look at an online product configurator. For example the volvo car configurator. We will analyze the first 4 questions of the configurator. With these for questions already a lot of product variants can be configured.

There are product rules between the questions. For instanse a Volvo model V70 can’t have T3 (150hp) engine.
It’s possible to put all the different product variants in one table. In the table below this is done for the volvo S60. I’ve left out a few Equipment level options. As you can see this list will grow quickly.

A table as above will grow so quickly that it will be unmanageable. A product configurator will help you to manage the product rules(the logic between the questions/products/components/variants). These product rules can look like:

* Equipment level “ES” is possible with a “T3 (150hp)” and a “6 speed manual”
* Equipment level “ES” is not possible with a “Geartronic AWV” transmission

The 2 rules are bounding the product variants as in the table above.

Links to more info about product configurators:

An explanation of 4 different types of product configurators.
• Knowledge-based engineering (KBE) solutions
• ERP configurator modules
• Product visualization solutions
• Enterprise product configurators
em>Link to: ConfiguratorWhitePaper.pdf

An explanation on how the variants of a component based system (CBS), and their constituent components, can be managed efficiently.
Link to: GS09.pdf

Link to an explanation of what rule engine tactcon uses. There engine is Constraint Programming-based. This engine can solve problems. So you can ask the engine to configure a product with the lowest price whitout selecting any options.
Link to: Tacton configurator engine explained

I liked this presentation. He’s explaining clearly the benefits of the Constraint Programming-based engine used by Tacton and why the volvo product configurator isn’t that good as it looks.

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