GreenConfiguration at Merlin CPQ
Based on years of research
The past few months have made it clear that resource-efficient use of energy and raw materials has shifted from a moral motivation to an economic necessity. The focus on sustainable production with a focus on resource savings or recyclability is now one of the most important goals with key strategic significance.
The evaluation and transparency of product sustainability is more important than ever before. This poses a challenge for suppliers of variant-rich products: a large number of product variants makes the individual assessment of each variant nearly impossible.
Taking environmental sustainability into account and making it transparent during the configuration process, even before the actual production, is the goal of GreenConfiguration by Merlin CPQ.
Ecological sustainability in product configuration
Sustainability is divided into three dimensions: ecological, economic and social. In the context of GreenConfiguration technology, Merlin CPQ focuses primarily on the ecological aspects. A major challenge is to bring ecological accounting and product configuration together, two areas that are already very complex in their own right. The field therefore, offers innumerable research opportunities: How is an individually configured product ecologically evaluated? Where does the necessary information on product composition come from? Which sustainability indicators are particularly relevant? How can satisfactory data quality be achieved?
CAS Merlin was able to answer these and many other complex questions on the one hand through years of experience in the configuration field and on the other hand with the help of the research project "ConCirMy - Configurator for the Circular Economy".
The project, which was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), involved an intensive examination of the sustainability of variant-rich products in combination with intelligent configuration. The ConCirMy project developed a tool that provides environmental sustainability information to various actors in the supply chain. This information can then be taken into account for (purchasing) decisions.
Successful technology transfer
Based on the research results, the new approach GreenConfiguration was developed. GreenConfiguration entails making the ecological aspect of a product visible over the entire product life cycle. This enables multi-layered optimization of the configuration, taking sustainability goals into account - an innovation on the market.
Research results with honors
Start of the BMBF-funded research project "ConCirMy - Configurator for the Circular Economy".
Discussion and presentation of research results on environmental life cycle assessment in product configuration at the World Mass Customization & Personalization Conference in Aalborg, Denmark
Extension of research findings to include the design of a sustainability assessment-oriented system architecture for configurators at the 23rd International Workshop on Configuration in Vienna, Austria
Awarded the Best Student Paper Award for the paper Integrating Sustainability Information in Configurators. The special feature: On the one hand, the architecture of the CPQ solution takes into account how the product can be assessed in an adequate level of detail over its entire life cycle. On the other hand, the system architecture enables a component-by-component assignment according to the modular product structure.
Publication of scientific findings on the topic: "How can optimization work in a configurator?" at the Configuration Workshop in Graz.
Based on this work, an optimization function was implemented in Merlin CPQ in the same year, as well as options for visualizing sustainability data in the configuration.
Start of a project in the area of GreenConfiguration together with a customer, with the goal of making the CO₂ emissions of the configuration visible and to reduce them by using the optimization function.
The future of GreenConfiguration in Merlin CPQ
Our pioneering work in sustainability in product configuration has laid a foundation for future innovation. We have built key competences and successfully translated insights into new product features in a very short time. Together with partners and customers, we are enthusiastically working to advance research and apply the knowledge we have gained directly in practice.
Your advantage with GreenConfiguration
- Align configuration of complex products with sustainability goals
- Transparency and comparability of the environmental impact of each component
- Traceability of the sustainability of each configuration decision
- Sustainability information can be recorded and visualized in a way that is appropriate for the target group.
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