posted 31 Oct 2005 in Volume 9 Issue 3
By Oliver Schwabe
“Today’s competitive weapons in an unpredictable economy are intangible assets, and IT plays a critical role is generating, developing, leveraging and tracking them.”
S.A. Armstrong Limited, a global manufacturer for nearly 70 years, turned to Toronto-based information technology specialists to design a system to take the complexity out of purchasing their pumps. The resulting application – RAPIDS – helped S.A. Armstrong to become one of the lowest transaction-cost companies in a highly complex configured world. Product Data Experts (PDEs) played an integral role in converting business intelligence and tacit product know-how into a data-rich product module that was accessible by the entire organisation, its customers and all its stakeholders. This new capability resulted in a new way of conducting business and made a significant impact on the productivity and competitiveness of the company.
Charles Armstrong, President of
“That’s how we came to develop ‘RAPIDS’ – product configuration software that configures goods and services that meet individual customer’s needs with mass-production efficiency.
“This web-based system is part of the knowledge infrastructure that captures the know-how of our product-data experts and automates the entire ‘negotiation to order’ information activity. It completely streamlines the business process, allowing transactions to take place in real time through direct interaction with the customer. So, this software is an intelligent repository for the know-how of the business. It puts it at the fingertips of a sales rep, the engineer or the customer. It has significantly increased the organisation’s ability to rapidly configure new products and solutions in response to changing customer needs.”
The success of such a product-configuration system is dependent upon the know-how of a uniquely skilled group of professionals – PDEs who are responsible for populating the rules-based engine with product-specific business logic. PDEs are important information hubs, for both incoming and outgoing information. They need to have deep knowledge of the firm’s routines and internal processes, particularly the manufacturing process. They need to have the skills and knowledge to design and re-design the routines that facilitate combining existing knowledge and newly acquired product knowledge. And lastly, they must be self-initiating in their role as primary sources of information about the rapidly evolving marketplace.
From a knowledge-management perspective, the
For further information, please visit http://rapidstech.com/armstrong