No one wants to buy PLM...Part 5 of an infinite series

I am a PLM sales person…and the title of this blog entry may imply that I am whining about my job. While I am not immune to the occasional emotional episode / mild tantrum, the title of this blog entry has a purpose. I assure you that this purpose has nothing to do with my emotional state.

Companies that contact InFlow are generally not looking to buy a PLM solution. Rather, they are looking to solve complex issues in their organization. Often times, the connection between the issue and the definition of PLM is somewhat cloudy. Therefore, my goal in this series is to discuss some of these challenges that InFlow has addressed with PLM and some of the measurable success that our customers have achieved.

“I can’t make my car payment if you guys can’t help me get my quote done!!!”

You have 250,000 production drawings. Your genius sales person calls you from her VW Passat (not making judgments here…it is what I drive and thus my basis for stereotypical sales-folk transportation) and explains what her customer is looking for on a new order. She then asks you when she can have a quote.

Once again, you have 250,000 production drawings…not that the genius sales person in her VW knows this.

Chances are that if you are in the business of making products, you try to base new designs on something that has been done before. However, if you had to search through a standard folder structure or (heavens forbid) a stack of file cabinets the size of Manhattan, you might not be able to provide feedback fast enough for your genius sales person to win the business that she needs to bypass public transportation.

This conversation was very typical for one of InFlow’s customers. Even with the implementation of a PLM system, it was difficult for them to search for project data that was similar to previous projects, and still more difficult to understand whether or not that job had been profitable for the company. Still more painful was the need for a customer service engineer to compile all of this data in order for a sales person to provide an accurate quote. Therefore, the company lost a lot of deals due to long lead times and chose not to bid on a large number of jobs because they simply could not quote fast enough.

Recently, the InFlow customer implemented DriveWorks, a Design and Sales Configuration Solution. With DriveWorks, the customer will add design and business rules to its configurable product line and allows sales professionals to present design options to a client in real time; pricing, specification documents, and even 3D models are immediately available for a client’s review. The rules used in DriveWorks are to be based on project history…the customer is able to present product options that are profitable to the company. Quotes will be generated in minutes and hours rather than days and weeks, increasing revenues and assuring an acceptable level of profitability on projects that the customer wins.

With quotes being generated quickly and easily, the genius sales person should now be able to make her car payment. Now if we can figure out a way to get her to forecast more accurately…

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