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67 Percent of Manufacturers Rank Knowledge Transfer as Biggest Barrier to Improvement

CINCINNATI, OH--(Marketwire - January 7, 2008) - Most engineers at build-to-order and engineer-to-order manufacturers believe that product complexity is not the primary barrier to customization. They cite lack of knowledge of options by the customer (67 percent) and the field (44 percent) as the primary barrier to product customization efforts. This is according to a research report by software maker Cincom Systems

The implication is that the knowledge required to sell customized products is not being effectively transferred to the field and customer. This is not surprising given the lack of strategic investment in front-office processes and systems," writes Jim Wilson, Cincom Program Director and author of the report.

The report's findings have ramifications for pump and valve manufacturing sectors.

According to Mark Stevens of the management consulting firm eLogic Group, pump and valve manufacturers may be damaging their ability to sell through indirect sales channels.

"Because pumps and valves are largely engineered products, product configuration involves a multitude of options," says Mark Stevens. "It is impossible for a Sales Channel partner to have the depth of understanding of a factory expert. Without an effective method for managing this engineering knowledge, you're making your business difficult to work with and opening it up to competitive threats."

Creating a product that best fits the customer's operating conditions and planned application involves various charts, graphs and complex algorithms, according to Mark Stevens, eLogic Group. Product decisions can be based on such factors as initial cost, total ownership cost, power consumption and pressure drop.

"Product Data Management, where you capture product knowledge in a structured format and Sales Configuration applications, can provide the means to allow your channel partners to make informed, error-free decisions," says Mark Stevens.

According to the Cincom report, the primary barrier to customization is the effective transfer of knowledge from the back office to the front office. Of the surveyed respondents, 43 percent indicated that inadequate systems are also a barrier to customization.

"Best Practices: Mass Customization and Build-to-Order Manufacturing" discusses the findings of the industry's first report -- from an engineering perspective -- on the state of mass customization and build-to-order practices. Cincom Systems targeted the survey at senior engineering managers at 900 manufacturers of complex industrial, electrical, and transportation equipment and systems.

About Cincom Systems

Cincom delivers and supports innovative software and services to simplify complex business processes. For nearly 40 years, Cincom has empowered thousands of clients worldwide to transform their businesses and outperform the competition by providing ways to increase revenue, control cost, minimize risk and achieve rapid ROI.