In a typically American way, the usual questions is asked after two sentences here. We are in Chicago at the biggest trade show for manufacturing and are trying to be cool. The usual “how are you?” always slows me down. After four days, I answer “I am good”. Modesty is not a virtue here: let me tell you quite clearly, why you should be interested in Europe’s number one professional scheduling and capacity-planning tool.
Because infoBoard has spoken to over 20,000 respondents responsible for professional planning and has satisfied their needs by programming over 6,000 innovative solutions to problems. Because we have not looked away anywhere, making it a unique tool to have.. Because the interface is easy to understand and navigate and because, as well as looking beautiful, we are the only company to offer our second USP: the Critical Chain Project Management (CCPM) tool.
Oh yes, that is what I thought when I looked at the monitor! Easy!
After that has been explained, I now show our SmartWatch application and the two visitors are dreaming with us. Their enthusiasm is a reward for our many years of effort and, for a moment, America is giving something back to Old Europe.
Another visitor thinks that an integrator of engine data in the South Hall would also have an intelligent system. But he brought that from Germany twenty years ago. Oh! The arguments with the algorithm – the algorithm that can calculate and place everything perfectly. Not marketable! “Please talk to the people responsible for scheduling. Over 10 years, only 2 out of 20,000 wanted a completely automated planning system.” – all from from touch of a button. The other 19,998 wanted software that supported their thinking, allowing them to plan as they like, quickly and easily. That is the way it is.
I receive an email from an employee working at a US automotive supplier operating globally. The company is involved in re-manufacturing and is an OEM supplier of brakes and axles. His colleague would have taken a prospectus from the show, and they want to introduce a SCADA system with around six million operations a year at this location and further expansion planned at other locations. Can we arrange a demo “early next week”? Of course! But this is where cultures clash. I would like to prepare well for the appointment, whereas he would like to have it come to him. Instead of a concise, structured Excel table, he sends me prose. With my American ‘neighbour’ at the stand next to me, I analyse the text, extract the relevant information and build a five-columned Excel spreadsheet myself. Imported into infoBoard, made screenshots of the planning board, used the web reporting tools and evaluated the processes using BusinessController. Deadline for the demo: next Monday at 10am EST. Just how I need it. Concrete. Results oriented.
After the exhibition, we take the rented bicycles along the waterfront of Michigan Lake to the city, turn off the Chicago River into the city centre. We find a nice steak restaurant with a view overlooking the river. The sun still offers warmth and the strong winds cool our backs (yes, Chicago: The Windy City). The $80 listed turns into an unbelievable $150 – and not only because of tax and 15% service charges. Who can actually afford that? We live in Germany in a very different system! Not as much net cash but cheaper living costs.