The company is based in Illinois (2 hours from ISU) and designs, manufactures, distributes and supports positioning equipment for manufacturing industries in North America. Positioners are devices that manipulate metal components to facilitate welding and assembly into structures and subassemblies for a variety of industrial products. Positioners help to significantly improve worker productivity and process efficiency as well as lower manufacturing costs. Importantly, worker and job safety and ergonomics are vastly improved. The company is a small specialty, niche manufacturer with over 20 employees and over $7M in annual sales. The company is highly profitable and manufactures both standard and customized positioners for specific customer requirements. The company is known for innovation and rapid response to its customer needs.
Industrial OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) are working with their manufacturing equipment suppliers to integrate technologies and innovations into their factory processes to drive higher levels of productivity and profitability through process efficiency and cost reduction. Client company designs and delivers solutions that help their industrial customers do that today by automating manual, expensive (and unsafe) processes. Client company hopes to expand its current solutions portfolio to include the integration of robotic welding arms with its existing hydraulic positioners to significantly improve manufacturing productivity, efficiency, and safety at critical “pinch points” in manufacturing processes. This innovation would enable client company to add significant new value for its customers as well as drive market differentiation and competitive advantage.
Client company needs help from a student team to assess the market (structure, size, application segments, competitors, trends, factors of influence, etc.) for integrated robotic-welder positioners. This information will help refine product design and engineering. The client company and student team will use this base knowledge to develop a marketing (introduction and development) strategy including a target marketing framework of an integrated marketing communications plan. Additional outcomes could include the development of marketing content for the training of channel sales and distribution partners. Consulting team work will include customer site visits as well as trade show attendance (FabTech 2107 in Chicago).
Mr. Tom Trone (Instructional Assistant Professor & former executive at John Deere Corporation)
Competencies needed by faculty and students involved
- Knowledge of, or experience with, industrial manufacturing processes including welding, robotics and manufacturing technology integration
- Knowledge of, or experience with, industrial product development and/or marketing
- Knowledge of, or experience with, market assessments, marketing strategy development, target marketing and integrated marketing communication
- Integrated Robotic-Welder Positioner (IRWP) Market Opportunity & Threats Assessment
- Application “use” cases and (prioritized) target markets (with customer profiles)
- IRWP Marketing (Introduction and Development) Strategy
- Integrated Marketing Plan guidelines (with Sales and Channel Partner training content if time allows)