General Software

On the Job: Product-Management System Delivers Competitive Edge

14 Aug, 2005 Cadalyst

RuleStream Helps Armstrong Pumps Slash Customer Response Time, Win More Sales

Manufacturer Armstrong Pumps has implemented a rules-driven product management system from RuleStream and is reducing from days to hours the time it needs to produce fully engineered quotes, complete BOMs, 3D drawings and manufacturing routings.

RuleStream enables Armstrong to fully engineer and cost packaged pumping systems at the point of sale, giving the company an important advantage over the competition and improved flexibility in responding to changes in customer needs and specifications.

Addressing Specific Needs
RuleStream's RPM (Rules-Driven Product Management) allows discrete manufacturers to respond to customer-specific product requirements more rapidly, accurately and efficiently, the company reports. The technology aggregates and manages intellectual property assets to automate complex decisions for all product-centric business operations. These include quote-to-cash/build-to-order processes as well as variant design, new product development and contract engineering.

RuleStream aims to help engineer-to-order firms increase their sales win rate, shorten lead times and achieve better margins and higher customer satisfaction. The RPM technology is designed to improve new product development processes, enabling higher productivity, faster design cycles, fewer errors and better quality, according to the company. It ensures that business decisions incorporate the most up-to-date product-based intellectual property, employing a user environment that allows subject matter experts to easily capture rules about requirements, best practices and capabilities for engineering, manufacturing and sales.

Real Benefits
Armstrong Pumps manufactures a broad range of HVAC products (figures 1 and 2) and is one of the world's leading suppliers of pressure booster systems and fire pump systems and an extensive line of turbine systems, sewage and sump systems for industrial and commercial application and cast iron submersible electrical pumps.

Figures 1 and 2. Armstrong Pumps can speed products to customers such as these systems from its line of ARMkool Series 8100 HVAC Chilled Water Packages, which include a range of traditional HVAC components that are brought together in a package.

Using RuleStream software, Armstrong has seen benefits such as generating fully engineered quotes in hours instead of days; increasing the sales win rate and reducing the time needed to produce engineering drawings and 3D configuration simulations from days to hours.

"We are always looking for better ways to serve our customers in a collaborative fashion. And we're always on the lookout for tools that will help us do that," says Peter Thomsen, marketing manager for strategic projects at Armstrong Pumps.

"With RuleStream automating the engineering design process for our packaged pump assemblies, we can now present detailed engineered solutions at the sales stage, rather than in postsales engineering - and that gets our prospects interested in our innovative systems early in the game. RuleStream makes it easy to bring new innovations to the commercial construction community," Thomsen concludes.

RPM in Action
"Armstrong is a great example of true RPM in action," says Gary Kuba, RuleStream's vice-president of marketing. "Not only are they dramatically cutting design time to just hours, but they are able to differentiate themselves from their competition by using RuleStream to sell more of their innovative packaged systems. As a result, both win rate and customer satisfaction improve."