Correct Operational Problems with Configurable Products

Industry: Semiconductor Capital Equipment

Role: Project Manager

Number of people working on Assignment: 20 people in Sales, Marketing, Manufacturing, Order Services, Production Control and Finance

Duration of Engagement: 2 months

Problem Presented: Our firm was referred to client as being an “expert” who could help them implement a configurator application—a tool to select features and options associated with a broad and diverse set of product lines for a semiconductor capital equipment manufacturer. Assessment and Steps: Prospective client asked our firm principal to assess an “off-the-shelf” configurator application that the company had purchased, by attending a 2-day seminar on this product. Within ½ day, it was apparent that this application would not solve their problem. They asked if I would work with them anyway using this application. We refused—we don’t take assignments that will not solve our client’s problems. They were shocked that a consulting firm would refuse a paying customer. They asked what they should do. We suggested they engage our firm for purposes of conducting a Requirements Analysis so we could:
• Understand their actual business problems and needs
• Determine the best course of action

They agreed.

Results Achieved: For the first time, the client had a clear picture of their actual requirements and a strategy for addressing these requirements. The client was able to get their money refunded for the inappropriate computer application.

Dave Gardner

Dave Gardner is a management consultant, speaker, author, and blogger based in Silicon Valley. He's been in the front row for the birth and evolution of Silicon Valley, the innovation capital of the world. Since 1992, Dave Gardner focuses on making the complex simple around people, process and technology. Dave is the author of Mass Customization: An Enterprise-Wide Business Strategy - How Build to Order, Assemble to Order, Configure to Order, Make to Order, and Engineer to Order Manufacturers Increase Profits and Better Satisfy Customers.


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