Revolutionizing Feed Industry

KSE, a feed industry leader since 1973, upgraded to Merkato to simplify their quoting process, replacing cumbersome Word documents.

Now, with Merkato’s user-friendly interface, their sales team efficiently customizes quotations for each client’s needs, boosting productivity.

This shift also enhanced product knowledge and empowered sales staff, aligning with KSE’s sales strategy and future software plans.

Client: KSE Process Technology Integrations: n/a

Legacy in Feed Industry

Since 1973, KSE has been producing software and mechanics with a focus on the feed industry. KSE’s dosing machines are particularly good with powder and granular products, but that is not the only thing this company offers: in addition to the production of dosing and weighing systems, they also have the in-house capabilities to automate entire production lines.

René Smulders, Chief Commercial Officer, states: ‘The market entry is often a dosing machine, but we also focus on solving other customer problems with a certain production line. The more variation it has in recipes and ingredients that the customer wants to mix, the greater our contribution can be to making this fully automatic. For example, we can also help companies with questions about inventory, transport, stock and weighing solutions. And because of our extensive partner circle, we can also provide support in the field of mixers, packaging lines and pressing lines.’ KSE has a total of approximately 200 employees spread all over the world, but approximately three quarters of these work from the head office in Bladel.

Information dissemination as a bottleneck

The implemantation of Merkato started in 2017. Before KSE made the step to a full-fledged CPQ solution, most information was still in Word documents, which were used again and again as the basis for new quotations.
Dissemination of up-to-date, correct information was the main bottleneck:

salespeople too often had to fall back on the knowledge of the internal sales department.

This created a demand for automation of knowledge dissemination and application. René initially studied the various solutions based on Microsoft Dynamics. This did not produce the desired result. René: ‘That was mainly due to the rigidity of those solutions. You actually have to have your articles in very good order to be able to work with such configurators. But I actually don’t want my articles, but the modules that make up those articles in my system and the compositions in which they can be used.

In addition, there are plans to adjust our current configuration by further dividing it into modules – if you work with a rigid system or even have to record adjustments in the ERP, such a reconsideration will require an enormous amount of work.
Because of this demand for flexibility, the choice was ultimately made for Merkato. René: ‘I was immediately convinced that Merkato offers that flexibility: if a template needs to be adjusted, it is simple and what you have done with it so far is not a waste of time.’

Correct, freely accessible information

During the implementation, Harm Goorman, project leader, was able to quickly work independently: ‘Initially you just have to get to know such a package. We had two days of training for this and three days of support from a Merkato consultant.
In the following period we usually asked our questions by email and we always received a quick response. This way you can familiarize yourself with the package surprisingly quickly. –The nice thing is that by working with Merkato you actually further build up knowledge about your own products.’
Harm says that this product knowledge was an unexpectedly pleasant side effect of the implementation process: ‘By having to capture the data from CAD files and other technical documents in lines in Merkato, discrepancies or ambiguities in product descriptions came to light. Then you actually get to know your product really well and assumptions from the past simply turn out to be incorrect.’

The nice thing is that by working with Merkato you actually further build up knowledge about your own products.

Originally, this started with functionally specifying the configuration process: customer processes, not products, were therefore the basis. Harm: ‘We initially did not choose to process the various machines in the configurator, but instead made the configuration process leading. By asking the customer questions about his production process. So specify functionally and not technically.
In fact, with Merkato, a salesperson can now make a quotation that exactly matches the customer’s wishes without any knowledge of our machines: how many tons per minute should it be able to process? How many raw materials can the end product consist of? Anyone who has been around here for a while knows that xxx weighing capacity includes the part with product code abc. New salespeople can now get started much earlier.’

Fast acceptance

The employees who initially felt limited in their options by the software also quickly recovered after using it, says Harm: ‘Ultimately you can also wonder whether you are limiting the salesperson’s options at all: you try only to focus more on departures from the city that’s right – and within five minutes that seller has a quote, if he wants. This allows the seller to pay more attention to his customer’s problems.
As a salesperson, you don’t have to wait for the sales office, where people might be on vacation or something like that.’ Ultimately, the salesperson will have more opportunities to practice his profession even better.

Modularization easier with Merkato

More and more thinking and engineering is now being done in modules and this approach is also reflected in the way in which salespeople use the product configurator. Harm: ‘We are thinking less and less in terms of standard machines and more and more in terms of variants of standard modules. I dare say that we can keep up with that translation thanks to Merkato.’

We are thinking less and less in terms of standard machines and more and more in terms of variants of standard modules. I dare say that we can keep up with that translation thanks to Merkato.


Now that the knowledge is recorded in Merkato, every salesperson – or other employee involved in a project – is much more independent of colleagues. Harm: ‘Every salesperson can at least set up the basics himself. He can really start his project and continue to communicate with the customer about it. And it doesn’t matter that the quotation is not yet completely ready for production: The process is long enough for that, there is always a moment when we can dot the i’s and cross the i’s.’ In terms of lead time, René does not necessarily notice a difference. , but ‘I don’t like pushing through those quotes either.’ He states that in the market sector in which KSE operates, orders simply take a little longer – it can easily take a number of years.
But with Merkato, customers can now receive an initial quote much faster if desired. René: ‘Every seller can now really give his customers the feeling that a request, which is urgent because, for example, money has to be requested, can be arranged within a few days. That used to take a few weeks.’

In addition, newly acquired information can be used more easily by all employees: what is devised during a project is easily stored in Merkato and can be automatically used by the salespeople during the next sale.

Sales vision supported

Furthermore, the use of Merkato contributes to KSE’s sales vision: It makes it easier to use a standard product as a starting point at the start of a new project, but at the same time the software also offers the option to deviate from that product where necessary: ‘We have set up the environment in such a way that we can flexibly add blocks,’ says René, ‘so, for example, we can say that a certain percentage of those products is a piece of project management. But we can also respond to the specific wishes of a customer via a ‘modification’ or ‘customized solution’ block, which allows us to show the customer very precisely what those adjustments cost in relation to the total price. Merkato provides us with better insight into our price structure. On the one hand, we can clearly show how beneficial the choice for such a standard product can be; on the other hand, it gives us the opportunity to justify the higher price of a more targeted product.

Merkato and tomorrow

Now that the mechanical side of KSE’s production process has been well taken care of in Merkato, she now wants to look at the software side. René: ‘A new development within our own company is the software that we want to offer to support the entire production process: We will also process the knowledge rules in Merkato for this – the aim is to generate an output from Merkato based on of which our system can program itself.’

Furthermore, attention will be paid in the near future to diversifying the outputs of the system. We will generate a different output for the project team than for the customer: for example, the project team will have little interest in going through the entire quotation each time, but mainly wants to know what needs to be built. René: ‘I’m curious to see which cross-section we will produce again.’


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