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Variant management as a tool to create the next-generation gear unit

Flender GmbH

>> Flender One is a real breakthrough on the path towards personalisation and sustainability. Our customers receive a completely new type of gear unit solution that always meets their exact requirements and thus eliminates waste. This is made possible by automating our business processes on the basis of an integrated, cutting-edge enterprise architecture. The end result is less work for our engineers during the sales and manufacturing processes and a reduction in the time needed to deliver the gear unit to the customer.

Peter Hensel | Head of Configuration and Data Management | Flender Group


As a company that manufactures mechanical and electrical drive systems, Flender began receiving a growing number of requests for customisable gear units. What has long been standard practice in the consumer sector has now reached the B2B segment. Customers really want products that are available in a number of variants that can be configured based on their individual needs. However, being able to supply the right gear unit to meet every need has been a time-consuming and costly undertaking up to now. In partnership with adesso, Flender sought to automate its business processes on the basis of an integrated, cutting-edge enterprise architecture.


However, as simple as the customer’s written request for a customised product may be, it has an impact on the products and processes of manufacturing companies in many ways. If Flender changes even one component in the gear unit, the entire gear unit has to be re-tested – something that takes up a lot of its engineers’ time if done by hand. Similar challenges can be found along the entire value chain, which brings with it a constant increase in complexity.


Working in partnership with adesso, Flender has fully digitalised and automated its order acquisition and order processing process. What came out in the end is an enterprise architecture for variant management that contains a smart modular system for variant configuration, which acts as a central orchestrator used to manage all business processes. This includes all workflows from the customer’s request through to the final commissioning and service at the operator’s site.

To create the enterprise architecture, adesso employed a modular approach to combine various solutions from different system environments, ranging from SAP and Salesforce to Microsoft Azure and other tools. By doing so, adesso was able to provide everything in-house, which included creating the design for a customer portal that offers a 3D visualisation of the gear units and simple self-configuration by the customer.


Flender is able to offer intelligently configurable gear units at attractive prices. The process is easy for the customer and for Flender as well. In just a few steps, a company can configure a gear unit that meets its individual needs in the high quality that Flender is known for, while Flender itself is able to lessen the workload of its engineers thanks to smart variant management as well as reduce its lead times and production costs.

>> Intended use, performance, speed are the three parameters that customers can use to quickly find the right gear unit solution for them. We no longer ask them to describe the specifications and properties they wish the gear unit to have. We only ask them about the intended use. The customer tells us how and where he wants to use the gear unit, and we tell him which gear unit with which features he needs to meet his requirements.

Dr Jan Reimann | Project Manager | Flender Group

Flender is a leading global supplier for mechanical and electrical drive systems and has the reputation for outstanding performance, innovation, quality, and reliability of drive components for more than 120 years. The company offers a broad variety of gear units, couplings and generators and associated services, with a focus on key industries such as wind power, cement, mining, oil and gas, power generation, water and wastewater, marine as well as conveyor and crane technology. Flender products and services combine the latest technology with extremely high quality and have been reliably providing the optimal transmission of power for decades. Flender employs roughly 8,700 people worldwide.

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