2009 Innovation Insight Awards: Rolls-Royce Energy Systems creates quote-generating "machine"

MOST INNOVATIVE PROCESS ¦ FIRST PLACE In early 2008, the sales and marketing department at Rolls-Royce Energy Systems, Inc. was struggling to keep up with customer requests for quotes on the company's oil and gas and power generation equipment. Even worse, many of the quotes that eventually went to customers contained inaccurate costing information, a situation that was eating into the com...



In early 2008, the sales and marketing department at Rolls-Royce Energy Systems, Inc. was struggling to keep up with customer requests for quotes on the company's oil and gas and power generation equipment. Even worse, many of the quotes that eventually went to customers contained inaccurate costing information, a situation that was eating into the company's profit margins.

To solve these problems, Rolls-Royce Energy developed a Web-based solution that it dubbed Product Proposal Configurator (PPC). This solution gives the sales team instant access to all of the information needed to generate quotes containing accurate cost information.

Since installing this solution in July 2008, Rolls-Royce Energy has drastically reduced the time it takes to create quotes, and has determined that it's on track to realize a ROI of more than $4.5 million on this project over the next three years. Those facts earned Rolls-Royce Energy top honors for the Most Innovative Process in MBT's 2009 Innovation Insight Award competition.

The Rolls-Royce Energy PPC system was built on top of a product configuration platform from software vendor Big Machines, Deerfield, Illinois. Its software as a service (SaaS) solution is used by manufacturers including Siemens, Kubota and Ingersoll Rand to create sophisticated sales support tools.

The Rolls-Royce Energy solution includes functionality for configuring products to customer specifications, and attaching the appropriate pricing to those configurations. It also alerts users about potential up-sell opportunities during the quote preparation process. In addition, the system has embedded workflow capabilities for routing quotes to appropriate parties within the company who need to add pertinent information or approve a quote before it goes to a customer.

With this solution, Rolls-Royce Energy can generate quotes for standard products in a matter of minutes. Proposals for custom products take two to four weeks—still far less than the seven weeks it typically took with the previous method.

This transformation was possible because the new solution contains full information on standard product structures, including cost, design specifications, commercial terms, and other proposal-specific documentation. This enables the Rolls-Royce sales team to select a standard configuration, add any required engineered options, and present an accurate proposal to the customer.

The solution also provides a standard template for all proposals, so that each submission to the customer has the same look and feel, regardless of which salesperson produced the quote.

Because the solution is Web-based, sales people are able to log in and generate quotes at any time from any location—even at a customer site—something that was impossible under the previous method. The new solution also holds all of the company's cost and proposal information in a single location, with each piece of information having a nominated 'owner' and review schedule to ensure that only the latest information is used.

In terms of labor savings, the new automated proposal process requires a single administrative support person, while the previous process required three. All told this new process is projected to:

  • Reduce Bid Support department time to produce bids, up to 5,712 hours per year;

  • Reduce Marketing department time to produce bids, up to 5,677 hours per year; and

  • Reduce engineering time, by making it easier to sell standard products, up to 13,000 hours per year.



No comments
The Top Plant program honors outstanding manufacturing facilities in North America. View the 2013 Top Plant.
The Product of the Year program recognizes products newly released in the manufacturing industries.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
A cool solution: Collaboration, chemistry leads to foundry coat product development; See the 2015 Product of the Year Finalists
Raising the standard: What's new with NFPA 70E; A global view of manufacturing; Maintenance data; Fit bearings properly
Sister act: Building on their father's legacy, a new generation moves Bales Metal Surface Solutions forward; Meet the 2015 Engineering Leaders Under 40
Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security
Upgrading secondary control systems; Keeping enclosures conditioned; Diagnostics increase equipment uptime; Mechatronics simplifies machine design
Designing positive-energy buildings; Ensuring power quality; Complying with NFPA 110; Minimizing arc flash hazards
Building high availability into industrial computers; Of key metrics and myth busting; The truth about five common VFD myths

Annual Salary Survey

After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.

The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.

Read more: 2014 Salary Survey: Confidence rises amid the challenges

Maintenance and reliability tips and best practices from the maintenance and reliability coaches at Allied Reliability Group.
The One Voice for Manufacturing blog reports on federal public policy issues impacting the manufacturing sector. One Voice is a joint effort by the National Tooling and Machining...
The Society for Maintenance and Reliability Professionals an organization devoted...
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
Maintenance is not optional in manufacturing. It’s a profit center, driving productivity and uptime while reducing overall repair costs.
The Lachance on CMMS blog is about current maintenance topics. Blogger Paul Lachance is president and chief technology officer for Smartware Group.