Howco - Customized Price Calculator Development for an Oil Industry Client
Howco, a UK-based company with headquarters in Glasgow, Scotland, specializing in high-grade alloys for demanding applications, hired us for a 5-month engagement to develop a custom price calculator to support their sales representatives in creating quotes. This work was conducted from their US headquarters, based in Houston, Texas.
The Croz team was fantastic to work with from the start. We knew what we wanted to achieve but did not have a path to get there on our own. Croz's development process was exactly what we needed; understand the big picture then chip away and complete the various components, piece by piece. This was not an easy undertaking as the calculator had been in development for the past 15 years. The Croz team worked hand-in-hand with Howco on a daily basis to deliver a product that not only speeds up our quoting process but allows for standardized, global way of quoting.
The client’s main complaint was an unstandardized and labor-intensive process for calculating the cost of manufacturing complex custom components which prevented sales reps from quickly and accurately creating quotes for their customers.
The business values achieved with this custom solution are process automation and standardization across different regional sales teams, integration with the company’s CRM system, and enhanced cost work-up accuracy, all ultimately contributing to valuable time savings.
A hybrid-agile discovery and development methodology was agreed upon as the best approach for the project.
The calculator’s initial business requirements were derived from a complex excel sheet created by the client’s senior sales representative, who included knowledge regarding good practices collected throughout the years. We began by defining the technical architecture and solving integration challenges with the client’s tech team; in parallel with product discovery, working in tight collaboration with the product owner to understand the client’s needs and outline the solution’s design. We aimed to deliver value for the client as quickly as possible to validate our design, get actionable feedback early, and gain the client’s trust. Development continued in 2-week iterations, delivering new value in every increment and regularly sharing our progress with the client through the weekly demonstrations.
Ultimately, the CROZ team of analysts and developers successfully implemented the custom-made calculator application that supports various functionalities, including defining the starting stock material, specification of the machining component, forging, heat treatment, mechanical and non-destructive testing.
The calculator web application is developed in React (with a Java backend), wrapped as a web component, and seamlessly embedded in and integrated with Howco’s CRM system written in Angular, serving as an essential part of the price-quoting process.
The main challenge was to understand the particularities of the client’s business domain. Our development team overcame this challenge by taking a deep dive into the specifics to ensure the delivery of a highly customized solution that adheres to industry standards.
We are also proud to say that, although the time difference between the Howco team and CROZ is significant, with only two working hours overlapping, we managed to work together as seamlessly as we would with someone from our neighborhood.
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