What’s an Extension? – What it is and how it works for a multi-industry solution

In the world of CET Designer, we often talk about Catalogues and Extensions. Not everyone knows that CET stands for Configura Extension Technology and that it is the foundation of our business. We’ve previously written about the many benefits of creating a Catalogue but, in this blog post, we wanted to explain the many benefits with creating an Extension.

First, what is an Extension?

Most commonly, an Extension is a collection of a manufacturer’s products that they want to use in CET Designer. The difference between a Catalogue and an Extension is that the products in an Extension can contain programming code while a Catalogue is database driven. By using programming code, products in an Extension can be smart – product rules are built in so the user doesn’t have to know how the product can be configured and is visually presented with all options on the screen. The product can intuitively be stretched and configured based on the rules that have been programmed.

An Extension can also be more than just products

Contrary to Catalogues, an Extension doesn’t solely have to contain products. Because an Extension can contain programming code, it can have additional functionality such as a connection to an ERP system, global schemes, the ability to create walkthrough videos, customized quoting, etc. Ultimately, anything that can be programmed can be added to an Extension.

Catalogues and Extensions are commonly combined

Most manufacturers don’t create a pure Catalogue or Extension but a hybrid. This is done when products are first entered through Catalogues and then have programming code added to make them smarter. This saves time, since a data-driven solution means that many products can be entered faster, while still maintaining good user experience.

Using our Extension technology means we can create a multi-industry solution

CET Designer is the core program that powers our Extensions and the technology permits each user to pick and choose what Extensions should be added. This enables each user to create a customized version that can include multiple manufacturers’ products – it could even be manufacturers from different industries. To better understand this, let’s look at an example.

Manufacturer A manufacturers kitchen cabinets, manufacturer B manufacturers desks and manufacturer C manufacturers wall systems. With our Extension technology, each sales team can use their Extensions individually to sell their products. However, if the manufacturer permits external sales people and designers to sell their goods, a sales person or designer could use all three Extensions to sell an office space with a kitchen area and dividable wall system.

The same works for manufacturers of material handling and industrial machinery. An entire factory can be planned using conveyor belts from manufacturer D, robotic arms and cameras from manufacturer E and then layout pallet racking for storage from manufacturer F. All planning and calculations from multiple manufacturers can easily be done in one single program.

To learn more about the CET Platform and how it works, download our white paper or contact us.

By Brooke Snow

 Brooke is Configura’s Business Development Manager at the Grand Rapids office.