In the October issue of United Hemispheres magazine, Rob Honeycutt, CEO of SixAxis talks mass customization, delivering an outstanding customer experience and how software developed by his company, ATLATL, makes this all possible.
The ability to be innovative is driving change throughout every area of technology, from the company who wants to transform manufacturing, to the retailer with a propensity for forward-thinking.
“Mass customization will be the focus of the next decade in manufacturing,” says Robert Honeycutt, co-founder of ATLATL Software. “You have all the benefits of mass production—it’s easy and efficient—but with bespoke products.” And ATLATL should know; the company is at the forefront of mass customization thanks to its innovative software, which provides a 3D virtualized tool to easily manufacture and sell complex configurable products.
“Our software can be applied to any engineered-to-order product, including everything from fences and swing sets to mechanical valves and things that make the world go round,” says Honeycutt. First established in 2012, the company saw an opportunity to transform the manufacturing process and went on to establish the sales resource planning software category. “We had an idea that used this customizable technology and the first product, called ErectaStep, was born. There are only 5 parts to it, but you’re able to bolt them together like a Lego set and make any size platform you want,” says Honeycutt.
“We’re changing the buying experience for our customers, as well as the manufacturing process in our factories. We took the technology of video games and virtual reality and applied it against an engineering background, to create visuals that can be shown to customers on an iPad.”
The automated drawings also help eliminate non-value-added parts of the entire manufacturing process—meaning more efficient salespeople and ultimately leading to increased revenue for companies. Honeycutt says, “It’s not about reducing product steps, it’s about eliminating them entirely. Typically, salespeople receive quotes from the engineers to pass along to clients. And there are usually two or three revision cycles in that—it’s a very archaic method for most companies. What our solution does is eliminate that whole process by empowering the salesperson with an iPad and giving them the potential to customize and amend a customer’s product there and then.”
Considering ATLATL has seen 500% growth in the past five years, it seems the need for customization within manufacturing has huge potential. Another company that uses custom-engineered solutions is HPI. The company is a leading provider within power generation, and creates customized rotating equipment solutions, which reduce the lifecycle costs of both heavy and light industrial aeroderivative turbines. With four core lines of business—comprising engineering, procurement and construction (EPC); operations and maintenance (O&M); cyber security and compliance; and maintenance, repair, overhaul and controls—HPI has a broad reach across oil and gas, power generation and marine applications. Hal Pontez, president and CEO of HPI, explains what differentiates his company: “Our services and solutions are fully customizable, and can be tailored to meet individual customer needs. Being a boutique operation, we’re also not bound by commercial terms, and can offer our customers more flexible agreements. Lastly, our services are comprehensive, and allow us to meet most, if not all, needs related to power generation.”
For HPI, the need for innovation comes daily and its success is predicated on its ability to create custom solutions that solve a client’s needs. One way they demonstrate this is with a recent expansion into cyber security, especially in the nuclear and marine sectors. “Amid growing concerns from our customers regarding the potential for systems and data to be compromised and the effects, HPI recently added a cyber security and compliance division to its suite of services,” says Pontez.“I believe there’s more of a focus on protecting information stored in systems and proprietary data. Companies are becoming more proactive and are seeking out organizations like HPI to help protect the integrity of their digital assets.” One company with the same propensity for flexibility and customization, but in the consumer technology field, is the airport retailer InMotion. Much like ATLATL Software, InMotion empowers its salespeople with excellent customer service and a unique product knowledge that allows the company great success. According to Jeremy Smith, president and CEO of InMotion, it is the largest airport retailer in the U.S. for electronics and accessories. Eden Goldberg, VP of marketing and business development, explains how the company adapts within the market: “Our market is transient since we serve travelers passing through airport terminals. They never stay longer than necessary, and traveling is often a stressful experience. While we help them use that time more efficiently, we also help improve their travel experience by providing immediately useful products.”
Like any forward-thinking company, Goldberg says that “Our business principles of enhancing our consumers’ shopping experience by offering top of the line electronics in convenient locations will continue to be the basis of our growth mission.”
Also in the consumer technology sector is Lexington International. The company is behind HairMax, the most advanced at-home solution to hair loss on the market, and the only non-drug, FDA-cleared treatment. Francesca Dubsky, marketing director, explains that it’s dedication to extensive research that drives the innovation: “HairMax has invested in more research on light therapy for hair growth than any other company to date. We’re constantly expanding, innovating and working on new designs for our devices, such as the hands-free HairMax Laser Band.”
For Riverbed Technologies, which was founded in 2002 and whose technology offers customers superior application performance across complex and global hybrid infrastructures, the challenges and much-needed innovations come from a rapidly changing IT industry. According to Joshua Dobies, senior director of product marketing at Riverbed, companies are seeing a death of branch IT as they know it, and instead are embracing a “zero branch IT” model to drive better business performance.