Fluid flow pumps, however, are a highly complex product, whether you're the manufacturer or purchaser. As a purchaser, the selection process can be a daunting task. Understanding this, S.A. Armstrong recently turned to Toronto-based information technology specialists konvergeandknow to design a system to take the complexity out of purchasing their pumps.
The system had to address very stringent requirements. Armstrong has a global customer base that demands a quick response to inquiries, even when dealing with complex products that sometimes require extensive configuration. Because customers are located globally, product and pricing information needed to be available 24 hours a day in the units of measure and currency specific to their home country. The system also needed to reduce the time and costs associated with processing orders; this meant order workflow would need to be streamlined and integrated with Armstrong's enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Additionally the accuracy of orders needed improvement. Often there would be errors in engineering drawings and instructions, subsequently causing products to be scrapped or reworked.
konvergeandknow helped S.A. Armstrong to become the lowest transaction cost company in a highly complex configured world. The technology company's signature product, the RAPIDS Product Configuration System, significantly reduced the long cycle time involved in converting a quotation into an order, making orders simple and error-free and changing customer problems into solutions with quotation drawings and product specifications.
RAPIDS dramatically reduced the time it took sales staff and self-serve customers to enter their quotation requirements, even when dealing with configurable products that had options, rules or constraints associated with them. RAPIDS did this by automating the information entry process and provided the user with the most appropriate product and pricing. It was the embedded know-how of the organization around the customer.
Armstrong's sales channel and clients are located around the world. To accommodate people located in many different time zones, RAPIDS is a web-based system that is always online, allowing users to access it 24 hours a day, seven days a week. With the system allowing for self-serve, Armstrong's customers can now get product configuration, pricing and order status information without having to deal with a sales person.
RAPIDS reduced the cost of processing an order for S.A. Armstrong by integrating with their Baan enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Information entered into RAPIDS is automatically fed into the ERP system, thus removing the requirement to re-enter information after an order is received.
Further integration of RAPIDS with S.A. Armstrong's engineering and manufacturing systems has reduced errors in drawings and instructions, and has resulted in less product scrap or rework. Information entered into RAPIDS gets transferred into Armstrong's computer-aided design (CAD) system, bills of material (BOM), and manufacturing drawings.
RAPIDS significantly enhanced S.A. Armstrong's overall proposal quality and customer service. And, as a result, the company was a recent recipient of one of Canada's 50 Top Best Managed Companies awards.