Scott Heide, Chief Executive Officer at Engineering Intent Corporation
, brings more than 30 years of experience in knowledge-based engineering software and has long been a key source for industry understanding of application strategies for engineering and sales automation. Heide drove the development of Knowledge Bridge, a cloud-based comprehensive EPQ (Engineer Price Quote) and visual configuration platform. It offers tools and methods to automate custom engineering, technical sales, and business processes – the “To Order” in “Engineer To Order”. Heide holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Wichita State University and a Master of Science in Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
For companies that make engineered-to-order products, tedious design and engineering tasks are often the bottlenecks for selling more products and preparing them for each customer.
MEDIA 7: Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself? What prompted/interested you to take up this profession?
SCOTT HEIDE: I have always had an interest in mechanical design, mechanical drawing, engineering, and programming. This started with drafting classes in high school and then I worked my way through engineering college as a professional draftsman (paper and T-square). I also took as many programming classes as I could, including punch cards and FORTRAN. This led me to the Artificial Intelligence lab at MIT doing object-based pattern recognition during the first hey-day of AI. That eventually led to an object-based automated design, which is basically what I have focused on for my entire career. I love to learn about how products are designed and then I enjoy the challenge of figuring out to automate that process.
M7: What is Knowledge Bridge? How does it help in beating the costs and challenges of customization?
SH: Knowledge Bridge (kBridge) is a tool for capturing design knowledge that can be used to automate design and engineering processes. For companies that make engineered-to-order products, tedious design and engineering tasks are often the bottlenecks for selling more products and preparing them for each customer. Knowledge Bridge reduces the time it takes to produce a quote; often enables the quote to be more compelling, more complete, and more accurate; and then it reduces throughput time, and overall engineering resource expenditures to prepare it for manufacturing once the order is received. This helps companies scale their business, without needing to scale their staff.
It is becoming much easier to purchase products electronically. Of course, access to the internet is the foundation, but technologies like Knowledge Bridge make purchasing otherwise complex products easier, faster, and more accessible.
M7: What are the benefits of replacing traditional CPQ solutions? How does it help in accelerating the sales processes?
SH: CPQ systems can’t automate design – that is, the generative creation of new designs. All they can do is choose among previously engineered solutions. So, for products that need to be truly designed-to-order, kBridge enables the process to be automated where, otherwise, it would have to be hand-built outside of the CPQ system. We call what we do EPQ, engineer price quote. Because the engineering is automated and the application guides and constrains the user to a valid solution, far more people can create a quote. EPQ allows them to do that without cycling it in-house through slow manual engineering processes. This broadens the group of folks who can build quotes that contain valid engineering, dramatically speeding- the process.
M7: What do you see as the most noticeable change right now happening in the workforce, encouraged by the rise of digital technologies?
SH: It is becoming much easier to purchase products electronically. Of course, access to the internet is the foundation, but technologies like Knowledge Bridge make purchasing otherwise complex products easier, faster, and more accessible.
CPQ systems can’t automate design – that is, the generative creation of new designs. All they can do is choose among previously engineered solutions.
M7: How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your work - what day-to-day processes have you had to re-tool to be able to pull them off remotely?
SH: Our company has been built on a virtual office concept from the start, 12 years ago. This was the only way we could bring together a diverse group of folks with the right combination of unique skills and experience to build such a dynamic leading-edge company. Because of that, our internal processes were not affected much. However, our interactions with our customers have become much more virtual, which frankly seems to work well for us and the customer. I spend much less time in the Sky Club!
M7: What do you read, and how do you consume information to stay at the top of your game?
SH: I keep up with business, cultural and political news that may impact my company by reading Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and Harvard Business Review, among other news outlets. I also enjoy reading historic fiction and non-fiction to help provide perspective on where the industry is today, and where it is going to be tomorrow.
ABOUT ENGINEERING INTENT
Engineering Intent is the world’s leading provider of enterprise engineering automation tools that help engineer-to-order (ETO) manufacturers with complex product configuration solutions. The company’s motto is “Automate the To Order in Engineer To Order.” Founded by Scott Heide, the company’s flagship solution is Knowledge Bridge (kBridge) cloud-based software as a service. kBridge uniquely captures engineering, configuration, geometry, user interface, and business rules. It is designed to enable visual configuration, handle EPQ (engineer-price-quote) needs, and deliver engineering automation. Organizations using kBridge consistently experience increased win rates, increased product and sales scalability, faster time to quote, improved quality, and lower costs compared to companies which rely on manual methods. Heide shared, “The technology is proving to be increasingly attractive to a broad range of ETO manufacturers from massive multinationals to small and mid-size enterprises.” Connect on LinkedIn.