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Why is product configuration complex?

Posted On Thursday, January 17, 2019


In essence, a product configurator is only a bunch of selection menus that you need to keep track of to validate that it is technically correct solution. So why is it complex, and why do you need a tool for it?

The easiest way to explain this is to think of a typical configurator for a product. Imagine that our sales configurator has 25 questions, with an average of 10 answers to each question. This is a reasonably sized configurator, your product may very well have many more questions. So how many theoretical variants of the product do we have? To calculate this, you have to take the number of variants in question 1 which is 10, multiple by the number of variants in question 2 which is also 10, and keep on going...

So basically 10x10x10… until we get to 25 questions. So this gives us 10^25 number of solutions (that’s a 1 with 25 zeros).

This is a large number, but how large is it? Well, imagine we spend 1 millisecond (a thousand of a second) to analyze each potential solution just to make sure it is valid or not. Well, then we would spend the time equal to the age of our universe 10000 times (the age of the universe is about 10^21) to validate that our solution is correct.

So it becomes obvious we cannot analyze each solution in a configurator. We can cheat - and just try the configuration the sales rep put together and check that all rules are ok. But then we won't know if there are any better solutions out there.

Tacton uses a constraint-solving configuration engine, to try to do something smarter.

Contact us to find out what!
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