Configure-to-Order (CTO)

With Configure-to-Order (CTO), you realize your product or component faster and more cost-effectively - not tailor-made, but still unique. Discover the advantages of the method now, as well as software solutions and consulting options from Cideon.

Optimize the Configuration Process with Configure-to-Order

With CTO, you standardize complex product developments and implement individual requirements in series production. Find out now what the Configure-to-Order engineering method is all about.

What is Configure-to-Order?

By modularizing and structuring the product portfolio, modules can be developed whose combinations lead to different variants of the product. This firmly defined combinatorics and the associated variants can then be displayed in a defined product catalog, for example. This alignment of the product is called Configure-to-Order. This approach differs from Engineer-to-Order (ETO), in which a fully customized solution is developed.

Traditionally, companies from the machine building and plant construction industries in particular have been strongly influenced by the ETO method and strive for a higher proportion of CTO.

With the CTO method, you can configure your product according to your individual needs by selecting from predefined options. Instead of developing your product based on a specific order, you can configure it with all possible components or options.

In terms of products, further standardization levels in CAD processing, known as engineering automation, promise further increases in efficiency in the CTO environment. In terms of processes, the concept of the smart factory will make it possible to mass-produce customized orders in the future. The digitalization of design and production is becoming a major catalyst here.

Cideon helps you to find, customize and implement solutions for end-to-end data integrity and information platforms along the entire value chain. Our Cideon Conify solution in particular is perfect for optimizing your configuration process and integrating all systems (CAD, PDM, ERP) into the process.


Typical Scenarios for Configure-to-Order (CTO)

Configure-to-Order (CTO) refers to the ability to create customized products by selecting specific configuration options. This approach offers flexibility and efficiency in production. Here are some fields of application and typical scenarios for Configure-to-Order:

Product Catalog

Many companies in the mechanical and plant engineering industry offer predefined product variants. CTO makes it possible to configure products according to clearly defined parameters. This is particularly important in industries where a large number of different products have to be manufactured and delivered quickly.

Variant Management

Companies in the machine building and plant construction industry often offer a large number of variants of a basic model. CTO makes it possible to switch quickly between different variants by adapting only the relevant options without changing the entire production chain.

Customer Satisfaction

Configure-to-Order enables your customers to choose from product variants. This speeds up the preparation of offers, increases predictability and reduces complexity.


The fulfillment process is as simple as the customer's order: Thanks to the predefined variants, production and logistics processes can be controlled and triggered automatically.

Benefits with Configure-to-Order

Use Configure-to-Order (CTO) to utilize the properties of a new development by selecting from predefined elements. Discover the greatest advantages of the method.

Faster product development process

Reduce development effort and delivery times. The Configure-to-Order method enables you to manufacture your product or component more quickly and cost-effectively after implementing the required configuration parameters. The product may not be tailor-made, but it is a one-off.

Efficient (Process) Data Management

Reduce the multiplicity of data and material master records. Use Configure-to-Order (CTO) to make the entire product development process and its data processing efficient and consistent.

Digital (Product) Standardization

Use CTO and Engineering Automation to achieve further digital standardization of CAD processing on the product side and further increase efficiency.

Daniel Pasing, Customer Success Manager

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FAQ about Configure-to-Order

The meaning of CTO is easy to explain: Configure-to-Order (CTO) is a method by which products or components are created according to predefined options. Instead of starting from scratch with every new customer order, standardized components are used.

CTO+ involves extended customization options of Configure-to-Order. Pre-configured products are adapted to specific customer requirements during order processing. In addition to pre-configured product components, some components are designed according to individual customer requirements.

In contrast to Engineer-to-Order (ETO), where products are only engineered after an order has been placed, CTO enables a predefined configuration of the products, which can then be adapted as required (CTO+). This optimizes several processes along the value chain.

CTO enables efficient use of production capacities, as products are manufactured in predefined configurations. This improves responsiveness to customer inquiries and realizes the product or component faster and more cost-effectively.

Once the customer request has been received, a proposal is created from a range of predefined options and configurations. Once the customer has placed an order, the proposal data is then transferred to manufacturing, where the product is produced according to the specified configurations.

As an alternative, the product selection can also be made by the customer.

CTO is used in various industries, including machine building and plant construction, computer hardware, furniture and automotive engineering. Companies that offer different product variants often benefit from this approach.

No, Configure-to-Order can be implemented by companies of any size. It is particularly useful for companies that want to offer a wide range of product variations, regardless of their size.

There are various software solutions that have been specially developed for the implementation of CTO processes. These support configuration, order processing and production planning. A good example of this is Cideon Conify.

The Difference Between CTO and ETO

Our graphic shows you the differences between Configure-to-Order (CTO) and Engineer-to-Order (ETO) and what CTO+ means.

Configuration Process

Use Cideon to implement a consistent configuration process in mechanical and plant engineering and link your sales and engineering data. Discover new possibilities for better planning and faster projects.

Cideon Conify


Software Solution for a Consistent Configuration Process

Cideon Conify consistently links data from the sales and engineering phases to automatically provide PDM-compliant MCAD and ECAD data of the configured product. This is the basis for the subsequent engineering-to-order and the creation of ERP-specific parts lists, work plans, circuit diagrams and production processes according to customer requirements, so that individual products can be created quickly and in accordance with specifications.

Main advantages:

  • Automate daily tasks when processing configurable products
  • Consistent data quality
  • Ensure uniform standards for everyone involved in the process
  • Combination in a mechatronic parts list

Cideon Conify is the ideal combination of CONnection and CONfiguration!

Process Consulting

Within the context of Cideon process consulting, we will work together on your current challenges and identify possible potentials. We address your individual needs and support you in the implementation of new projects. Our value proposition: optimised and short project runtimes in compliance with the defined budgets until go-live.

Why Cideon?

Cideon advises and supports companies in optimizing their product development processes - from conception and engineering to production and service. We stand for:

Decades of Expertise

Rely on decades of practical experience in system integration and process consulting. Cideon understands your business challenges in digital transformation and supports you with unique solutions along the entire value chain.

Customized Engineering

Benefit from customized solutions with Cideon software and interfaces. Integrative, powerful and perfectly tailored to your individual daily business needs.


End-to-End Process Consulting

Transform your digital requirements into corporate (added) value. We simplify your processes, map them digitally and make them economically viable - across functions and divisions throughout the entire product development process.  

International Cooperation

Trust in a strong group of companies. Cideon is part of the family-owned, globally active Friedhelm Loh Group and is based on the principles of customer-oriented and sustainable corporate management.


Cideon Support

Quality, speed, and reliability in engineering are critical to your success. Comprehensive services are just as important as dedicated specialists and powerful software solutions.

Cideon Support offers you fast and uncomplicated answers to your questions, detailed insights into products and solutions as well as helpful tips and tricks.

Go one step further with Managed Services: With this service, we monitor your CAD/PDM/PLM environment and ensure the long-term operational reliability of your software. This ensures that your systems are always up to date and ready for use, giving you the peace of mind that your software is consistently maintained and optimized.

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Lochhamer Schlag 11, 82166 Gräfelfing (Germany)



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