Reconnecting with Cincom Systems

In my recent blog posts on two upbeat configure, price, quote (CPQ)/quote-to-order (Q2O) players—BigMachines (see the TEC article for more information on BigMachines) and Cameleon Software (see the TEC article for more information on Cameleon)—I will have hurt the feelings of veteran market incumbent Cincom Acquire by referring to it as an old-school client-server sales product configurator (SPC). Indeed, from about 2005, Cincom Acquire has been Web-enabled and functionally expanded to instill knowledge into sales processes (not only into engineering processes). The product is Microsoft .NET based with AJAX user interface, and no longer on client-server architecture (the legacy client-server customer base notwithstanding).

Corporate Update

Let me backtrack a bit and talk about Cincom Acquire's parent, Cincom Systems. Founded in 1968, Cincom Systems is a software vendor based in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States (US), with likely the longest-serving chief executive officer (CEO) in the industry, Thomas (Tom) Nies. Cincom pioneered the marketing of stand-alone software solutions independent of hardware platforms (which sounds so matter of course today, yet it was rather visionary at the time).

Cincom's portfolio of products is quite diversified, spanning solutions for application development, data and document management, business intelligence (BI), contact centers, and complex manufacturing. Cincom's core offerings are complex manufacturing solutions and customer interaction management (CIM). Cincom is estimated to have more than US$115 million in revenue, and has built up a global presence, with offices in North and South America, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), and Asia-Pacific (Australia being the company's most vibrant market of late). The private company of 700 employees is reportedly profitable and debt free, and has ongoing operations in 17 countries (40 offices) across five continents today.

There are six divisions at Cincom, with the Cincom Acquire offering being recently split off from Cincom Manufacturing Business Solutions (CMBS) as a separate division known as Cincom Intelligent Selling Solutions. Cincom Acquire and Cincom CONTROL:2010 enterprise resource planning (ERP) have comparable levels of staffing and customer count. The difference between the two offerings is that CONTROL ERP is much more mature and more heavily invested in existing deployment, since brand new deals are quite few to come up (and are heavily contested). In any case, with the ERP system's sizable install base in complex manufacturing sectors (e.g., defense) and with Acquire's significant new deals, they account for the majority of Cincom's revenue and profits. The six corporate divisions are as follows:

  1. Cincom Intelligent Selling Solutions (CISS), with Cincom Acquire as the major offering
  2. Cincom Manufacturing Business Solutions (CMBS), with CONTROL:2010 ERP as the major offering
  3. Cincom Document Solutions, with Eloquence as the major product offering
  4. Cincom Application Development Solutions, with the Smalltalk product suite as the major offering
  5. Cincom Customer Experience Management (CEM), which sells the Synchrony hosting solutions
  6. Cincom intelligent Business Applications (CiBA) Group covers the healthcare industry, specifically American hospitals. CiBA's main product is a knowledge management (KM) Intelligent Guidance system that reduces errors and improves customer satisfaction during the registration process, thus influencing the hospital's revenue cycle

Smalltalk Small Talk

Many might not be aware of the fact that Cincom is the leading provider of the Smalltalk object-oriented (OO) programming language in the world. Cincom acquired Enfin/ObjectStudio Smalltalk in 1995 and VisualWorks Smalltalk in 1999, and developed and deployed WebVelocity in 2008.

Although not mainstream as compared to Java, Microsoft Visual Basic, or C++, Cincom Smalltalk covers a wide range of industries including manufacturing, telecommunications, finance, transportation, and many other industries with a need for productivity, flexibility, scalability, and powerful tools for business growth. Cincom Smalltalk is one of Cincom's top two products, with consistent and growing revenue each year, with agreements in place with IBM and other leading technology companies. Fiscal year 2010 was one of Cincom's best years with Smalltalk, and with the division's great product offerings and talented people, the vendor expects continued growth and success.

Cincom Acquire

Needless to say, Cincom is one of the first vendors (many of which haven't survived) in the sales configuration market (see the TEC article on Cincom's Q2O forays), with over 80 employees and almost 10 percent of its business derived from CPQ applications. Compared with other SPC vendors, many of which are still largely start-up companies (while most of the pioneers are no longer extant or relevant), Cincom is a large, established vendor with offices and sales and support organizations in place to meet the needs of global customers that are developing global sales channels. Cincom's ability to self-fund the development of its products and channels without venture capital (VC) funding enables it to make the strategic investments necessary to ensure long-term growth and take care of its customers.

The vendor has focused on the manufacturing industry vertical, particularly for sophisticated assembly-to-order (ATO) and complex engineer-to-order (ETO) requirements, and is strong in specialty vehicles, industrial machinery, electronic components, and commercial heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. The vendor's go-to-market strategy is via direct sales in North America, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific, and indirectly via Microsoft Dynamics channel partners (e.g., Fujitsu, Avanade, Quantier, Softeco, Topkey, Enhance, i5, Mimax, Veotos, NessPRO, Probis, MARP, etc.) and niche integrators elsewhere (e.g., eLogic, Resulting Services, Cybercom, EcoSoft, etc.).

Cincom's CPQ offering is marketed under the "Acquire" brand, and comprises the following primary components:

Business Rules Platform (2 options available)

  1. Cincom Socrates™—Knowledge-Based Application Studio that empowers product experts to create and deploy advanced Guided Selling and Product Configuration applications for Web or Microsoft Windows deployment.
  2. Cincom Guru™—Advanced Business Rules Environment that plugs into .NET Visual Studio, empowering Web and application developers to create and deploy Knowledge-Based Composite Applications including Guided Selling and Product Configuration.

Configure, Price, Quote Modules

  1. Cincom Acquire Sales and Product Configurator (SPC)—a knowledge-based CPQ application for companies that sell complex products and services, which provides the following capabilities: guided selling, solution specification, product configuration, knowledge-based pricing, quotation management, proposal generation, product catalog, and reporting. The product can work in connected, offline, and mobile modes. Cincom provides SPC integration adapters for SAP ERP, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and's Sales Cloud 2.
  2. Cincom Acquire Enterprise Sales Portal (ESP)—is a collaborative selling system that automates the selling of complex products and services. Cincom Acquire ESP fully integrates with the renowned enterprise portal platform, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS), and Cincom's own intelligent application framework, Environ (see TEC's related article on Environ) to deliver guided team selling, product configuration, quotation, estimating, project proposal management, and fulfillment capabilities. Cincom ESP supports collaborative selling capabilities that include ETO content such as blueprints and sketches. The combination of SharePoint (see TEC's article on what SharePoint is and is not good for) and Microsoft BizTalk Server–based Environ provides a comprehensive platform with the following capabilities: portal administration, content management, BI, enterprise application integration (EAI), workflow, and business rules.

Integration Adapters

  1. SAP–SAP integration framework
  2.– integration framework
  3. Microsoft CRM–Microsoft Dynamics CRM integration framework

Some Technobabble

The Cincom Acquire CPQ suite was designed to support the following three independent deliverable modules as depicted in Figure 1 (each with its own code base, but all of them are integrated):

  1. A Business Rules Platform (i.e., Socrates or Guru) 
  2. SPC 
  3. ESP

Cincom Acquire is based on Microsoft's .NET platform and standards. The majority of the application is written in C# .NET, ASP.NET, JavaScript, and Ajax. SPC can be deployed on premises, hosted, or made available via a software-as-a-service (SaaS) arrangement, where the infrastructure is shared in a multitenant way but distinct private application and database instances are provisioned to clients. In addition, SPC offers connected and not connected (offline) sales configuration modes to provide more-flexible mobile options for data intensive sales tasks.

On the client side, Socrates, SPC, and Guru all support Ajax and Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE) graphical user interface (GUI) designs. As Cincom's architecture separates the logic layer of these applications from the GUI or presentation layer, its customers are running entirely Web-enabled instances of each using Ajax and J2EE. Thus, Acquire is no longer client-server–based as it requires no database at runtime to operate. Socrates and Guru runtime installations have never required a database to run; however, some customers have huge data models, and they chose to use a database. Cincom Guru provides a Knowledge Server that syndicates rules and data via Web services.

Being Partner- and Integration-Friendly

Cincom supports Ajax, J2EE, and extensive Extensible Markup Language (XML) integration with legacy systems as well. The vendor's customers should generate greater return on investment (ROI) from their investments in CPQ solutions when and if they can easily integrate these applications to their enterprise systems. For over a decade, Cincom has provided out-of-the-box integration with leading customer relationship management (CRM) and ERP systems.

Through Cincom Data Services (CDS), integrations have been developed between SPC and, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and SAP using Web services. In the case of Microsoft and SAP, integrations have also been extended to the SPC offline client. Outside of SAP and Microsoft Dynamics (which count for roughly 30 percent of Cincom Acquire customers), the ERP systems Cincom most commonly integrates with are legacy or homegrown (contrary to popular belief, Cincom CONTROL ERP counts as less than five percent of Cincom Acquire instances).

There are logic elements from Environ in the aforementioned CDS offering. Cincom uses code and data structures from Environ's Web services, but CDS is based on a .NET mapping library that can sense incoming data streams and route them to the configuration model or workflow needed. In other words, CDS is a collection of Web services predicated on Environ data structures to ensure integration to Acquire models, yet the majority of CDS is the .NET mapping code.

The Cincom Partner model provides three levels including referral partners, integrators, and resellers. The top five partnerships for selling Acquire include:

  1. Microsoft—Cincom is a global Gold Certified Microsoft Partner. The vendor fully leverages the Microsoft stack and Visual Studio in its new Acquire platform. As a globally managed partner, Cincom works with Microsoft Dynamics evangelists and the major account management team to drive new enterprise business for both companies. 
  2. Microsoft Dynamics Channel Resellers and Integrators—Cincom partners with Microsoft Dynamics Resellers and Integrators who need to extend Microsoft Dynamics with CPQ capabilities (e.g., Avanade, Tectura). Cincom is also a Gold Certified Partner for Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and has been offering an Acquire Dealer Portal based on the Microsoft CRM/xRM (extended relationship management) stack (for more information, see my article on xRM). 
  3. Key Vertical Partners—Cincom partners with turnkey solution providers focused on complex manufacturers (e.g., eLogic, Resulting Services) 
  4. SAP Integrators—Cincom also partners with resellers who have expertise and a core competency in the SAP configurators and complex manufacturing (e.g., eLogic). Cincom is certified for NetWeaver Process Integration. The vendor also provides a Composite Application (xApp in SAP's lingo) for SAP Field Sales, Variant Configuration, Pricing, and Proposal Generation. Cincom stands out for its SAP experience, with productized integration with the SAP Sales and Distribution module (via the SAP Accelerator integration offering) and for placing Socrates on SAP EcoHub. 
  5.—The partnership with and participation and certification in the AppExchange marketplace provide some leads to Cincom that the vendor typically handles directly.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM/xRM Bet

Cincom also delivers a plug-in to Microsoft Visual Studio via Guru that enables IT organizations to relatively easily "knowledge enable" their existing applications using the Cincom rules environment. This setup reduces development costs, leverages existing IT investments (applications and skills), and reduces dependence upon Cincom. In addition to the aforementioned Acquire Dealer Portal based on the Microsoft Dynamics xRM platform that was made available in mid 2010, since late 2010 Cincom has been offering its rules platform with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Guru hereby extends Microsoft Dynamics CRM to become a knowledge-based selling and service platform by exposing CRM objects to Cincom's rules environment (to extend the Dynamics CRM workflow rules), while Cincom provides Microsoft Silverlight controls for Microsoft's xRM forms. Via these two offerings, Cincom hopes to cost effectively enlarge its reseller, OEM, and system integrator (SI) channel.

Some Hurdles to Overcome

Cincom's advantages come from its overall corporate viability, experience with ETO manufacturing styles, interoperability with third-party ERP and CRM systems, and its KM-based modeling and maintenance environments. The vendor has proven itself in terms of enabling the guided selling, physical and market constraints, product and service configuration, estimating, pricing, document generation, and proposal approval processes in complex manufacturing. There are many more potential opportunities and arable land in enabling the needs analysis and recommendation, lifestyle and market constraints, decision support, intelligent scripting, document generation, offer approval, medical plan administration, service recommendation, project and work definition, rule-based cost estimating, pricing, bid approval processes, and complex service pricing processes in the financial services and insurance, healthcare, construction, telecommunications, and utilities sectors.

But Cincom will have a tough row to hoe to increase its visibility in the global CPQ/Q2O market. Despite initiatives in partnering, alternative delivery and pricing models, and recently bolstered marketing, Cincom's visibility and install base (about 75 live customers) in the CPQ market remains modest in comparison with many more vocal competitors, especially outside of its target complex manufacturing sectors. Cincom Systems' diversity has its advantages, but on the downside, it can confuse the prospect in terms of where one Cincom division begins and another ends. In other words, navigating Cincom's corporate labyrinth can be tricky.

Even within Cincom Acquire, there might be some confusion with regards to which possible modules to deploy (or not) and in which particular circumstances. Knowledge-based modeling applications are impressive, but can also be overwhelming, and Cincom needs to further educate the market on best-use case scenarios. Last but not least, while Cincom's founders and current top echelon were visionary 40 years ago, do they still have the same zeal and fire in their bellies? It's not my intention to sound age discriminatory, but it's a simple fact of life that at some stage everyone needs to start thinking about retirement and putting succession plans in place.

Cincom Acquire's Executives Have Their Say

To discuss both the opportunities and potential challenges, I recently had the chance to have in-depth discussions with the Cincom Acquire product management and product marketing team.

TEC: How would you describe your differentiation in the CPQ/Q2O market?
Cincom Acquire: In summary, we can name the following key differentiating traits:

  • Being an established and dependable global vendor, particularly important to large multinationals 
  • Competency support for both front-office and back-office needs of complex manufacturers as companies seek to integrate Sales, Engineering, and Manufacturing  for competitive advantage 
  • Our ability to address complexity in ETO manufacturing (and other sectors' complex systems and/or processes) 
  • Our strategic platform, versus others' point solution approach. Companies want to "extend" their IS platforms with composite solutions versus "interface" with point solutions 
  • Flexible integration and deployment options (Web, detached, embedded) 
  • Integration with Microsoft's platform to automate collaborative selling 
  • Out-of-the-box integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Dynamics AX,, and SAP 
  • Our diverse channel program

Let us now flesh out the point regarding our strategic platform, versus the point solution approach: our competitors sell point solutions, which are limited to CPQ. In contrast, Cincom delivers a knowledge-based selling platform that goes beyond CPQ to integrate with other expert dependent processes and systems, thus unifying sales, engineering, and manufacturing departments (see Figure 2). There is a big difference between "rules" and "knowledge." Cincom is the only CPQ solution based upon a flexible expert system, empowering business users to easily develop a wide variety of knowledge-based applications (below) using a single, intuitive visual modeling environment. Some of the knowledge-based applications are as follows:

  • Guided selection 
  • Guided specification 
  • Pricing 
  • Order configuration 
  • Product configuration 
  • Document configuration and generation 
  • Drawing configuration 
  • Process and workflow configuration 
  • Customer needs analysis 
  • Product and service recommendations 
  • Configuring (unique) product bundles 
  • Cross-selling 
  • Consumer/customer self-service via the Web 
  • Advanced, constraint-based scripting 
  • Decision support and compliance

The aforementioned capabilities lead to the exact fit point: often, in competitive situations customers are trying to balance the objectives of finding a low-cost, out-of-the-box application versus delivering a customized sales tool that maximizes sales effectiveness. Cincom delivers the best of both worlds by providing an out-of-the-box application that can be quickly tailored with the Cincom Modeling Environment to customers' specific selling strategy needs.

TEC: BigMachines, Cameleon, FPX, Webcom, Selectica, etc. brag about their proposal-generating capabilities (into Microsoft Word, Adobe PDF, etc.). What are your capabilities in that regard?
Cincom Acquire: It is one of our most popular applications, and the one area we have invested heavily in development throughout 2010. In fact, our updated technology behind proposal generation has helped us close two deals in a single month in our core markets of HVAC, emergency vehicles, and medical products.

One of the top three development programs that launched last year (2010) is the Document Generator, which is shared by all Cincom CPQ modules. The Cincom rules environment is used for configuration of document content and OpenXML for document generation. We can produce any document a customer wants—and have been also able to integrate Word, AutoCAD, SolidWorks, and graphics applications all into a single Word or PDF file for customers. It is also noteworthy that we have been using XML integration to drive complex proposal generation for well over seven years.

Moreover, the Acquire pricing engine is based upon the Cincom Business Rules Platform, which is available stand-alone or integrated with the Acquire SPC and ESP modules. The Quoting module is integrated with the SPC and ESP offerings. Figure 3 below (we highlighted the Quotation and Proposal Management to make it easier to read) shows how quotation and proposal management is included in the ESP and SPC product lines. The picture is also helpful in terms of mapping the needed Acquire modules to achieve the necessary functional capabilities of our target manufacturing industries.

Here are some customer references (video testimonials) on our proposal-generating capabilities and quoting:

Larry Schenavar, Emergency One's IT Director, on our quoting system, which is so well integrated into their systems that they can see exposure for specific products by quote and by channel partner. They use Acquire to drill down to the quote level for specific components or assemblies that may either be going into allocation or need additional services. Acquire gives them complete visibility into their channel quoting and ordering process:

Jonathan Plant, Configuration Manager at Emergency One, on the value of the Cincom Acquire quoting and proposal generation application:

Finally, Emergency One's CEO told us that he wanted to give his sales reps and channel partners the ability to have just one meeting with a fire chief or city council and completely define the proposal in real time. This video clip shows how we were able to accomplish this for E-ONE:

Greenheck Fan on how we transformed their business from field to factory (placing an order and having the bill of material [BOM] defined in real time and scheduled). When any channel partner or sales rep places an order, Acquire translates the quote to an actual order and BOM, all in real time, dropping the cost per order drastically. This video talks about our contributions to Greenheck and how Acquire streamlined their entire configuration, pricing, and quoting processes:


TEC: How about your mobility capabilities (Apple iPad/iPhone, Google Android, etc.)?
Cincom Acquire: Acquire has supported both tethered and untethered modes for over five years. We are about solutions first, technology second. When a customer has a specific need to support a mobility device to make their business strategies and processes faster, we can easily meet that requirement. In fact, with the rising popularity of iPad and other mobile devices (particularly in verticals such as medical devices and high tech) we have delivered mobile browser support via our Guru UI Components.

Over the last several years of working on requests for proposals (RFPs) for our larger clients evaluating CRM, channel management, product configuration, and quoting and pricing applications, invariably the requirement of mobility support has come up, and it was always the hottest device at the time that got mentioned. We recently did a follow-up study to see how many of our clients actually used the latest, state-of-the-art mobility devices mentioned in the RFPs, and found that only five percent of customers actually implemented them. Why, we asked?

Well, security was one aspect. Further, sales folks resisted what they thought was surveillance—"too smart" devices tracking them via global positioning system (GPS) on sales calls (so they thought). Finally, the XML integration to these devices proved to be very slow—dog slow in SAP environments. Ironically, these are the same reasons why we saw mobility take off in five percent of implementations. The GPS feature helped service technicians in the telecom industry track support teams in metro areas and optimize scheduling. The ability to push data in real time to a mobility device turned out to be a huge win for the aerospace and telecom service lifecycle management (SLM) workflows too. These industries loved having mobility support to be able to query catalogs for the exact right part and deliver it.

Despite these SLM reasons, we rarely found a company taking a large percentage of its sales orders on these devices. The sales teams rejected these devices as being an intrusion—that is, inconsistent with their own style of selling. Age had nothing to do with it; many of the younger sales forces in telecom felt it was too Big Brother to have these devices with GPS capability and the potential of monitoring them—they felt they would lose their freedom.

While many companies are talking about supporting this latest generation of devices, it is doubtful whether there is significant adoption. It seems like software companies are using technology to compete instead of concentrating on what problems they solve for customers. The truth will eventually emerge: if these devices can deliver lasting, real business value, they deserve a place in a software strategy. But if they don't, these companies are merely posturing and using these devices as public relations (PR) instruments instead of focusing on what really matters—transforming a customer's business for the better.

TEC: Cameleon and BigMachines, for example, embed Salesforce Chatter, while Webcom has its own ResponsAbility social collaboration tool (with Twitter and Facebook feed integration for user inquiries, while teams can collaborate on proposals versions, similar to SharePoint). What multichannel and social engagement tools do you offer?
Cincom Acquire: We are all about our customers' transformations first. Cincom Acquire is based on Microsoft's .NET platform and standards and relies on SharePoint and its many complimentary apps to enable collaboration. Our customers are in manufacturing and services companies, competing in industries that have not even experimented with social networking yet. Our aerospace and defense (A&D) customers see it as too risky to their core intellectual property to consider ever using social networks as part of their workflows (and one A&D customer made that very clear during a breakfast meeting we had with them this year).

As a result, SharePoint, Acquire SPC for Microsoft CRM /, and compatible third-party apps are what our customer base relies on due to the security concerns they have. We did have a prospect conversation where Chatter was brought up by a reseller in the room as a potential app for internal collaboration, and the chief information officer (CIO) killed the idea immediately saying that he was not convinced it was secure enough for that. Chatter, within our customer base, is more effective as a competitive intelligence tool than a true enterprise collaborative workflow tool.

We're dealing with HVAC, emergency vehicle, and medical products companies whose workflows have very confidential pricing and, in the case of medical products, rigorous compliance data. Our portal applications including SPC (shown in figure 3 as the green vertical bar) are entirely based on Microsoft SharePoint. A top priority of each of our customers is the security of their data, which is another reason they have not looked at social networking apps for collaboration yet. The Acquire Dealer Portal offering, based on the Microsoft Dynamics xRM, is now generally available (GA), and this will also give us the opportunity to securely deliver Acquire via the cloud to customers who prefer that platform.

TEC: Do your customers express the need for master data management (MDM) or product info management (PIM), and what are your capabilities in that regard?
Cincom Acquire: MDM and PIM systems can be integrated to Acquire. We find that, most of the time, our customers choose to integrate pricing, product catalogs, online ordering, distributed order management (DOM). If our customers need to integrate to those data integration and cleansing systems, we can do that—we have done that. Meanwhile, we have planned to deliver an integrated MDM solution for SME companies who may not have their own solution. We are currently in beta with this component.

The majority of our customers are trying to solve the problem of quotes not being buildable or profitable. Or they are trying to solve complex pricing problems. They are also attempting to build customizable products right the first time and alleviate the churn of orders based on incorrect configurations. We have successfully solved all of these problems and helped customers transform their businesses in the process, without much need for MDM or PIM.

TEC: You repeatedly mention your leadership in emergency vehicles, HVAC, and other related verticals. What are the specific capabilities (or so-called fatal flaws) that these industries require and which Cincom easily fulfills (and your competitors might not)?
Cincom Acquire: We have well over 10,000 person-hours and many years of experience solving the complex quoting, pricing, product, and compliance requirements in these industries. Simply put, it is part of our DNA, and these segments' customers continue to have a major impact on our new product development process.

In addition, we have a proprietary methodology for assessing the impact of quoting, pricing and product configuration on these industries and measuring the dollar value of our strategies on them. Our approach to delivering value during sales cycles, combined with a unique and finely tuned methodology to capture how Acquire can transform their business, continues to be very successful in showing the dollar value of moving forward with our solutions. Our results have been impressive using this methodology, saving one company US$9 million a year on their selling expenses, directly attributable to our solution.

As for the so-called fatal flaw capabilities, we specialize in the following areas in these segments:

  • Increasing quotation management and accuracy to the unique emergency vehicles requirements. To explain, emergency vehicle manufacturers have the need to track, catalog, and query each truck configuration quoted and produced. The system must be able to electronically retrieve truck drawings, and query on any attribute in the product configuration system, from height, and compartment configuration to chassis and especially engine type. 
  • Providing product management with greater flexibility over custom configurations 
  • Creating a more scalable and profitable product configuration strategy 
  • Supporting the sales force and dealer channels more effectively to shorten sales cycles

TEC: How many Cincom Acquire customers have hosted or on-demand services?
Cincom Acquire: Several, and they have asked for confidentiality.

Cincom Acquire has the following customers and reference case studies in the following vertical sectors where it has created and provided model templates that are customizable to the sector's exacting needs and requirements:

  • Specialty Vehicles and Transportation Equipment—Pierce, Emergency One, McNeilus, Komatsu, Gimaex, Coach & Equipment, Rolls-Royce, Wartsila, Hendrickson, MacTrailer, and others 
  • Industrial Machinery—Air Products, Thyssen, Fassi Cranes, Konecranes, John Zink, Rossi Motoriduttori, Dayton Progress, and others. Cincom has over a decade of experience serving this vertical market's needs for configuration, pricing, and quoting. 
  • HVAC and Commercial Refrigeration—Heatcraft Lennox, Greenheck Fan Corporation, Carrier, Trane, Cincinnati Fan, and others. Cincom has over a decade of experience serving this vertical market's needs for configuration, pricing, and quoting. 
  • Electrical Equipment—Siemens, Cooper Power, American Power Conversion, MGE Schneider, Eltek Valere, United Power Transformers, and others 
  • High-Tech Equipment and Supplies—A newer and growing part of the Cincom customer base, which includes Plantronics, Oce High Speed Printing Systems, and Omnicell

Case study: a leading HVAC manufacturer

The Problem:
• Strengthen the channel by being easy to buy from 142 independent reps
• Reduce the order processing cost and increase the BOM accuracy for the shop
• Limited IT resources

The Solution:
• Knowledge-Based Dealer Portal for Configuration, Pricing, Quoting, and Order Processing

The Benefits:
• Increased top-line growth
• Improved variable margins
• Increased market share in a down economy by being easiest to buy from
• "Almost all manufacturing/order errors have been driven out of the system"

The (Tangible) Impact:
• 75 percent reduction in time to quote (from 1 hour to 15 minutes)
• 50 percent win rate increase
• 92 percent reduction in quote to order (from 6 hours to 30 minutes)
• 66 percent reduction in order processing headcount (from 3 to 1)
• 77 percent reduction in order errors (currently 3.5 percent, including shipping, etc.)
• 2 day reduction in order to delivery time
• 90 percent on time delivery

Case study: a leading emergency vehicle manufacturer

The Problem:
• Make it easier for customers to order highly customized trucks
• Increase order accuracy for complex products with 14,000 customizable features
• Eliminate waste in manufacturing process
• Simplify and speed up the sales process

The Solution:
• Cincom Acquire Dealer Portal

The Benefits:
• "(Cincom Acquire) enables our channel to sell trucks, to get the information to the customers, and to get the orders in the door"
• Improved order accuracy
• Unification of sales, product management, and manufacturing
• Reduced manufacturing costs (reduced inventory, faster turns, improved purchasing)

The (Tangible) Impact:
• Unprofitable to profit in 6 months
• 41 percent reduction in order processing times
• 51 percent reduction in lead times
• Improved dealer satisfaction and effectiveness

Case study: Dayton Progress, a leading provider of quality metal fabrication and stamping tools to manufacturers worldwide

• Optimize manufacturing processes
• Improve integration between front-office sales processes and back-office enterprise system

• Less than a two-year payback, derived from efficiencies in maintenance, order entry, customer service, and process engineering
• 50 percent time reduction in time-standards programming
• Captured over 30 years of intellectual capital
• 60 percent reduction in order-to-shop processing time
• Reductions in inventory, optimized to customer demand

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