How can product configuration support the process of engineering highly complex industrial products? This article describes how an IT-based product configuration system was developed to support the process of making budget quotations. The article is based on a research project carried out as collaboration between the Centre for Product Modelling (CPM) at the Technical University of Denmark and a Danish cement plant manufacturer. A procedure for building product models developed by the Centre for Product Modelling was tested empirically at the company during the project. The system was developed from 1998 to 1999, and the configuration system has now been in operation for more than three years during which period significant results have been achieved. The lead-time for making budget quotations has been reduced from 2-5 weeks to 1-3 days. The quotations are more consistent and easy to read with focus on the big issues of the cement plant. The configuration system makes it possible to optimise the cement factories with respect to performance, an increased use of the company's components, and with respect to the use of previously manufactured components. Finally, the engineering resources used for making a budget quotation have been significantly reduced. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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