Take a Couple Million Pounds off the Top

Purchase of big diggers, other industrial machines easier to make now

Foster City, CA  September 25, 2001  Bucket wheel excavators are what Dr. Frankenstein would have assembled if he'd been more interested in ore than organs. And he'd been interested in world conquest. Truly monstrous machines, a bucket wheel excavator functions as the heart of a small mining city, each day digging out and conveying off as much as 240,000 cubic meters of whatever it darn well wants to dig out and convey off. Turn one of these things loose in Omaha, set it on Devastate, and in a short while there's a new, and deep, canal to the Gulf of Mexico. Gibraltar would only last a few days against one of these earth-munching monsters. (Residents of Gibraltar need not worry, however. It takes over a year just to set one of these things up.)

They are kind of expensive.

BigMachines, which provides what it calls eBusiness for Engineered Systems software, is working to make evaluating the purchase of bucket wheel excavators, and other business processes of companies interested in such machines, much easier. (Not that all purchases will be of such budget-crushing importance.) To that end, the company has released BigMachines Value Assessment, which is an e-business value assessment toolset designed for the industrial machinery industry. As the company explains it, The assessment service is designed to help manufacturers of engineered equipment quantify inefficient business processes, identify lost revenue opportunities, and evaluate e-business strategies for buying and selling complex industrial products.

In creating the tool, BigMachines worked with management and technology consulting company Accenture. In a statement, BigMachines said, Combined with the increased scrutiny that goes into all technology investments given the current economy, this assessment is especially useful for industrial equipment companies because many have not made large technology purchases and may lack the evaluation tools needed to make cost-effective decisions in this area.

According to an article by Vanessa Fox published in The AMR Research Alert on Customer Management, June 29, 2001, "Developing a baseline of the impact of the project and building in ongoing measurement as a core component of your project is critical. Negative political implications of communicating inefficient processes aside, you now have fodder for justifying your current project and a base from which to substantiate future project upgrades."

The BigMachines Value Assessment is administered by first evaluating the customers' current sales or procurement processes. BigMachines looks at revenue drivers like quote-to-conversion ratios, order value and up-sell opportunities and cost centers like engineering, quote, order and fulfillment costs. The company then maps existing processes against industry benchmarks and case examples to provide the client a point of comparison and an understanding of the opportunities and challenges that engaging in an e-business strategy presents. It then provides an analysis and possible solutions, supported by a sound business and financial case.

"In developing the BigMachines Value Assessment, we've taken the vertical industry expertise we've amassed working with leading industrial machinery businesses around the globe to create a product that gives executives the tools they need to assess their current business processes and a low-risk method for evaluating e-business alternatives," said Godard Abel, CEO at BigMachines. "At the end of the day, what the customer has is an efficient means for creating a solid business case for making or not making technology investment decisions." In case you need to remove a state or two.