Philips Lumec creates lighting configurator with 3DVIA
Montreal-based outdoor lighting maker Philips Lumec traditionally sold its products with conventional printed catalogs and static web pages. With its large number of styles and possible configurations of luminaires, poles, brackets and other accessories, however, it wanted to give its business partners and customers an easy and interactive way to configure lighting fixtures.
"Customers would go to the catalog and see the different products – the pole, the brackets, the luminaires – but it wasn't easy to envision what it would look like when it was assembled," says Jean Giannetti, sales engineering technical support at Philips Lumec. "We wanted to give all of our users – engineers, architects, consumers – a powerful shopping solution to help them make the best possible choices for their projects while making the ordering process even easier."
Giannetti says that although the company had an internal configuration tool linked to its ERP system, it was available only to Lumec staff members and representatives. Lumec's inside sales agents and designers therefore had to create a large volume of 2D presentation drawings in response to customer inquiries, which sometimes resulted in a twoday wait for customers. The process also tied up skilled engineers on routine configuration work rather than highvalue design work.
Creating an easy, fast online configurator with 3DVIA
Since the configurator was introduced, requests for presentation drawings on standard products have been reduced by 96%.
To resolve these issues, Lumec sought a flexible, easy-to-update solution that would allow both professionals and consumers to accurately configure and visualize virtual 3D models online. It chose 3DVIA from Dassault Systèmes to create Lumec 3D.
Lumec 3D pulls the information about each product directly from the company's ERP system and SolidWorks models, avoiding repetitive data entry and ensuring orders are based on a single, consistent version of product data.
Since the configurator was introduced, requests for presentation drawings on standard products have been reduced by 96%. Requests for more complex configurations have been cut by nearly 50%. The system is available around the clock, customers get an immediate answer to their inquiries, and the system automatically blocks orders for non-feasible configurations.
The configurator is so popular, in fact, that Lumec quickly signed up 1,100 registered users, more than double its initial target for the project, and attracted more than 4,000 visitors in its first year.
To make it straightforward and easy to use, the public version for customers offers limited products and features. The version for Lumec agents is more powerful, allowing them to build a complete project line to obtain specification documents, determine pricing and calculate pole load restrictions.
3DVIA gaming engine offers competitive advantage
François Sabourin, logistics analyst and SIL programmer at Philips Lumec, says the company hopes Lumec 3D will result in a competitive advantage with the company's dealers and customers. Making Lumec's products faster and easier to order accurately should give the company an edge in competing for such business. "It's certainly one of the goals we want to achieve," he says.
Customers and agents are already seeing the benefits of not only improved accuracy, but improved visualization of a fixture design in context of the environment where it will be installed. For example, the 3DVIA-based technology allows users to superimpose configured fixtures onto a drawing or photograph of their site, making it easy to evaluate exactly how a given luminaire will look in the setting from every angle.
3DVIA also makes Lumec 3D flexible and easy to update. "When we do a new product, I put all of my data in the ERP system, which I have to do anyway, and it's automatically going to be available and work in Lumec 3D," Giannetti says.
“3DVIA was one of the few solutions that allowed us to assemble 3D models online.”
Logistic Analyst and SIL Programmer Philips Lumec
Next stop: Market research
Thanks to Lumec 3D, Giannetti says Lumec has been able to significantly reduce the size of its paper catalog and rethink its purpose. The catalog has been transformed from an ordering tool focused on specifications and technical details into a marketing showcase for the beauty of Lumec's products.
The newest version of Lumec 3D includes even more products and the ability to calculate the luminous center of the different luminaire types, which automatically helps users select compatible poles of the right height for each lamp. Lumec also has plans to begin using the configurator with its agents and customers for market research on potential new product offerings by allowing them to see the products in context and give feedback on their design.
"3DVIA has definitely been the best solution for us to give our clients what they need and what we were looking for from Lumec 3D," Giannetti says.