Easy-to-use digital tool to help with complex order processes: Case ABB

Data Engineer meltlake

ABB offers a wide variety of individual components for multiple B2B application domains. Keeping track of which component works with which solution has proven to be a time-consuming task for both ABB’s staff and global customer base. ABB wanted to offer a tool for their customers that provides a curated set of recommended applications with optimal components. In close cooperation with ABB, Meltlake built and implemented a step-by-step wizard, ABB Application Configurator, to guide the customer through the process. The user-friendly tool can be further localized and scaled in-house to cover all similar complex use cases.

ABB offers technologies for automation, electrification and digitalizarion for large and complex infrastructures. Operating in multiple application domains means a countless number of combinations of distinct components and solutions.  

To complete an order requires a lot of specific expertise and deep understanding from both the buyer and the seller. One end-to-end application can include tens if not even hundreds of different parts. Without the exact list of components at hand it takes lengthy discussions involving multiple experts to ensure the unique and complex applications are exactly what the customer needs.  

Instead of involving people in the early stages of the process, and to save time from both parties, ABB wanted to find a better, scalable solution for the complex ordering process. Meltlake was chosen as the partner to design and implement the configurator from the ground-up.

A leap from time-consuming discussions to user-friendly digital solutions

The ABB Application Configurator was built using agile methods and in close collaboration with ABB. The project with multinational team from ABB and Meltlake started in October 2022 involving product owners, system specialists and IT Architects from multiple countries. The team from Meltlake took an active role in the development process and helped to shape the customer journey for each application area.

The Application Configurator is hosted in Azure which provides all the users around the world access to the solutions. The project was created using modern software development tools, such as React.js and ASP.NET. Contentful was chosen as the CMS for the project. With its easy-to-use graphical interface the ABB application specialists can easily edit the projects' content.

The front end serves the end-users with a web-based configuration wizard that guides the customer through the entire process. The customer answers a pre-defined set of questions based on the applications’ end use and the basic technical specifications. These answers are then considered as the wizard keeps suggesting fitting components based on the customers selections.  

As an end-result, the customer gets a recommended application in a diagram format that can be saved and printed for future use. The recommended application can also be further customized on an individual component level by changing and adding accessories. All configurations are also saved to ABB’s partner platform.

ABB App Configuration smoothens the complex sales process

With the new Application Configurator tool, the configuration process is significantly faster than before.  

The complex order process is now easy with ABB Application Configurator.

The tool offers much-needed support for complex and often unique ordering processes, and it also saves time for both parties. The discussions can now be focused on the details while finalizing the application. For the user it also provides a complete overview of their configured application.

"Meltlake has helped us to ease our customers experience. They delivered by embracing agile way of working, being good team players and leveraging technical expertise from both parties. The end result being a flexible and versatile tool that can be adjusted to various solutions"
Chandra Skekar, Product Owner, ABB

With the combination of dynamic code and the utilization of Contentful's easy-to-use user interface, ABB can independently maintain and further develop the ABB Application Configurator without making any changes to the project code or relying on Meltlake's assistance.

The ABB Application Configurator was launched in over 40 countries globally with support for Motor Starting & Protection Application areas in late June 2023. The plan is to extend the configurator to involve all product families and markets where ABB delivers similar applications.

About ABB

ABB is a Swiss-based, globally operating technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company’s solutions connect engineering know-how and software to optimize how things are manufactured, moved, powered, and operated. Building on more than 130 years of excellence, ABB’s 105,000 employees are committed to driving innovations that accelerate industrial transformation.