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Again thanks a mill for your work on this, much appreciated.

I will also send a mail to our vendor management team to let them know my positive feedback on Logrus’s cooperation and can highly recommend your services.

Simone



Case study. Automation of Auma document flow

 

AUMA client-server web system generates business proposals and quotations in the form of multilingual XML-documents. This drastically increases productivity of a sales manager working with an extensive line of products with various options and types

7/16/2004
    
 SOLUTION:

Region

  • Russian Federation
  • Germany

Technology

  • Microsoft® .NET® Framework 1.1
  • ADO.NET
  • ASP.NET
  • MS SQL Server
  • Microsoft Office 2003

Software development environment

Programming languages

Client and server products

  • Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Professional
  • Microsoft® Windows® XP Professional
  • Microsoft® Office 2003
  • Microsoft® Internet Information Server 5.0
  • Microsoft® SQL Server 2000
  • Microsoft® Windows® 2000 Server
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  AUMA client-server web system generates client proposals in the form of multilingual XML-documents, drastically increasing productivity of a sales manager working with extensive line (263 Kb)

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This is a web application built on .NET technology components (ADO.NET and ASP.NET), SQL Server technology and XML-features of Word 2003 that provides AUMA sales managers with convenient tools to compose, store, modify and track AUMA business documents semi-automatically and simultaneously in several languages.

Reduction of time spent on creating, finalizing and processing business proposals for complex product lines and option lists

The AUMA (Armaturen- Und Maschinen-Antriebe) Corporation is a manufacturer of electric actuators and valve gearboxes used in various industries, such as oil and gas, energy, mechanical engineering, shipbuilding, refinery, waste handling and water supply – in fact, in any application where the flow of water, oil or gas has to be controlled. (See more details on AUMA’s website http://www.auma.com/)

AUMA has an extensive product line of equipment. It provides a variety of solutions for numerous tasks with several AUMA equipment-based solutions for each task. Over AUMA’s 40+ years of consistently high quality service has won worldwide acclaim, which is why AUMA faces increasingly growing sales volumes.

However, there is a wide range of types and options within the extensive line of AUMA products (actuators, valves and valve gearboxes.) Without automation, it is difficult for a sales manager to quickly prepare a detailed proposal or quote for a client. To create a proposal, the sales manager has to scour thick reference books to find information about available equipment options and pricing, so the initial creation of a proposal takes a lot of time, not to mention changes that have to be made when the client alters project specifications or modifies request. Further finalization and approval of the proposal takes even more time, as changes to each individual component lead to the recalculation of the proposal specifications and the total amount.

As a solution provider, Logrus suggested the automation of proposal generation for AUMA. We offered a system that would enable the AUMA sales manager to use the equipment product line database to quickly create extensive and detailed proposals and quotes in no time. Logrus — well-known for multilingual localization and provision of engineering services — designed the system to be multilingual from the very beginning.

Microsoft technologies-based solution 

Logrus developers decided to combine the power of the SQL database with XML document generation capabilities to create a system that would consist of an SQL knowledge base and an XML document generation engine. The system had to have a single database repository for the entire product line documentation with a web interface that would enable automatic document generation in several languages (currently English, Russian and German.) As a fully web-based client-server solution, the system can be accessed by users from any location with the minimum requirements of a computer, web browser and Microsoft Word 2003.

The web application was built on the ADO.NET and ASP.NET software development platform. This application allows a user to access the product line database and generate proposals online.
 
The features of the system:
  • The SQL database is used to store hierarchical product catalogue and equipment option descriptions, which can be changed independently and updated while the system is in use
  • Proposals are created automatically as WordML XML documents (supported by Word 2003). Such XML files include both text and graphics
  • Proposals are stored in the SQL database, within a single document repository with version control (versions are created at the final stage)
  • There is a single central document repository containing an equipment catalogue with options, dimensions and pricing information, a customer directory and multilingual user interface and help
  • When a proposal is finalized, its specification becomes a purchase order specification, and the same database information is used for automatic creation of a manufacturing order for the AUMA production plant. Orders are created in German since they are placed with AUMA manufacturing facilities in Germany
  • The system has a user-friendly AUMA product line database
  • The AUMA product database can be updated to reflect the latest changes in the AUMA product line
  • More language options can be added to the system interface
  • The system has context-sensitive help

     

     

    «The system allowed us to get rid of paperwork and drastically saves time to generate or update a client pro­po­sal. Due to complete integration of equipment and document repo­si­to­ry, our managers are now spending only a tiny fraction of the time that they would spend before».

    George Ponosov
    General Manager, AUMA Moscow

    ”This project demonstrates the power of Microsoft technology, which truly brings down the entry barrier for enterprise corporate systems, which were previously available at a completely different price level.”

    Serge Gladkoff
    President, Logrus International

     

     
  • It can be integrated with Microsoft Office productivity suite, which is familiar to all users
     
The system is a central repository for the equipment catalogue with options, dimensions and pricing information which is used to create proposals and quotes. The equipment option descriptions and specifications are inserted into XML templates to create Word 2003 XML documents automatically. Microsoft .NET technology enables business and application logic between server back-end database and Office 2003 client front-end. XML documents are stored in the database and are available to AUMA sales managers online. The AUMA solution also includes elements of a document flow system: it allows for document copying, storing, changing and reuse, as well as searching and archiving.

Deployment benefits

Now, AUMA managers enjoy a single automated equipment repository with product and document directories.

”The system allowed us to get rid of some paperwork. It drastically, unbelievably saves time when generating or updating a business proposal. Due to complete integration of equipment and document databases in one repository,  our managers now spend only a tiny fraction of the time they used to spend,” says George Ponosov, AUMA Moscow General Manager.
 
There is no longer a need to look up every item in the product catalogue, no need to type in the item name and code. The proposal is generated automatically and few changes are needed; a sales manager can now easily find a particular previous version of the proposal as well as client request files. The system enables sales managers to return corrected and substantiated quotes, even for very complex equipment requests, quickly. Today, this can even be done during the first client phone call. Sales managers can instantly alter options to meet the budget requirements.
 
“The time spent on a proposal creation is minimized by 4–5 times. Actually, it only takes several minutes compared to the one or two hours it took in previous years,” says Sergey Vorobiev, AUMA manager.  “The system really helps render a quick project estimate and instantly shows whether a particular option is available for a certain product.”
 
Since the solution is built on SQL Server technology, other subsystems can be added to it, and it can be further developed into the entire corporate repository that can be integrated with most corporate systems, such as accounting software etc.

Conclusion

Microsoft technology allowed AUMA to deploy a business solution that automatically translates database equipment product line information into multilingual documents created with standard templates. The company’s most important segment of document flow — the creation of proposals and orders — has been automated. This is a data-driven and therefore very flexible system. It also provides the tools for automated document generation, storage and version control in several languages and layouts.

AUMA’s future depends on the sales volume increase, and this increase is boosted by exceptional productivity enhancement, which is made possible by XML technology which links the complex SQL product database to the most popular office productivity enhancement suite – Microsoft Office 2003.
 
”This project demonstrates the power of Microsoft technology, which truly brings down the entry barrier for enterprise corporate systems, which were previously available at a completely different price level.” says Serge Gladkoff, President of Logrus International.

 



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