Ali Shehab is the founder and CEO of Cimteq, the leading provider of Cable Design solutions to the cable manufacturing industry worldwide. CableBuilder, Cimteq’s software application, is used by companies of all dimensions, from small to multi-national manufacturers, with almost every type of cable imaginable.
What are the key factors behind the success of Cimteq?
The single most important factor in any businesses’ success story is understanding the customer. Generally, the deliverables of any company divide into two categories, the products and the services. When we considered the development of our Cable Design and Quotation software, CableBuilder, we realised that every individual Cable Manufacturer is different and has specific needs. So we built our business model to accommodate this primes. The original brief was simple; it was to create a flexible software product to help the Design Engineer, that adapts to the Cable Manufacturer’s own environment. Design Engineers are creative individuals who are able to make a huge contribution to their company when they have the right tools in their hands.
The services we offer are also different to other software providers. We get to know our customers business so as to make sure we give them the right advice, and even hold their hands in difficult situations until they achieve the desired result in their business.
Lastly, we truly believe that our customer’s success is our success. We know we have successes when our customers report quotation cycle time improvements of 90%, reductions in design maintenance time from 8 man months per year to a few man weeks per year, and when we see datasheets generated from CableBuilder on our customers websites.
What is the biggest difference in the cable industry today, compared to when you first started?
Market demography and Computer literacy. When we started, Europe had a substantial concentration of Wire and Cable manufacturing companies. In fact, CableBuilder was built and developed in cooperation with some of the biggest names of European manufacturers. CableBuilder contains the knowhow and processes that drove innovation in Europe. This trend has now extended from Europe into North and South America, the Middle East, Asia and the Far East.
We designed CableBuilder to be used by the computer literate generation who see software as an integral tool for their every day work. Ten years ago, it was much harder to justify a software tool, whereas now it has become the norm. In fact, CableBuilder has become synonymous for Cable Design software.
Has it been a good year for Cimteq, and are there any particular projects or developments that re-iterate the strength of the company?
Last year was a very exciting year for us at Cimteq. There were two major developments. The first was beginning work on our expansion plan, which saw requirements for new staff and the expansion of the research and development centre, our customer support operation, and our training facility.
The second major development was the release of CableBuilder Enterprise, the new generation of CableBuilder software. CableBuilder Enterprise has all the essential tools of the standard CableBuilder, but a whole new dimension is now available for multi-plant configuration, for companies who have more than one plant. CableBuilder Enterprise allows the cable maker to optimise their design and logistics functions across their multi-plant business, hence reducing design costs by designing once and manufacturing anywhere, reducing shipping costs, maximising the utilisation of resources and offering their suppliers large orders in order to obtain good discounts.
Do you have any new products or services in the pipeline that will be of interest to the Cable and Wire software industry?
Cimteq commits substantial resources to research and development. We continuously develop innovative solutions for the Wire and Cable industry. There are a number of development projects in the pipeline. I cannot tell you about all of them but I can reveal that in 2012 we are planning to release a new calculation module to help power cable manufacturers design to their customers’ electrical and environmental requirements, hence speeding up the design process and ensuring conformance to customer specifications. We will also be releasing a new visualisation aid that will revolutionise on-line and off-line datasheets and product catalogues.
At The Cable Directory, we would like to know more about your product - the Quotation Builder?
QuotationBuilder allows cable makers to quickly generate quotations for customer demands. With QuotationBuilder the user can accurately cost the cable to the customers required length, including the cost of scrap. Metal and other material prices can be changed based on the terms of the quotation, and packaging requirements can be automatically calculated and costed. Finally an offer document can be generated ready to send to the customer. QuotationBuilder also automates the communication process with the customer and with other departments within the company. For example, it can keep track of all the customer specifications in the document repository. It also has configurable approval stages to ensure the quality of quotations delivered to the customer.
QuotationBuilder can be used in conjunction with CableBuilder, or stand alone. If used in conjunction with CableBuilder, then it becomes possible to use the variant generator called the ‘Design Wizard’. The Design Wizard is a feature that allows the automatic configuration of a large number of similar designs very quickly saving huge amounts of time. It is common to obtain a 75% reduction in quotation time using this method.
How do you see Cimteq expanding into the emerging markets in the future?
We are already in a number of countries in Asia such as Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. We also have a very strong presence in India though our implementation partner InnoVites. We will continue to target these markets, but our plan is to also target the Chinese market in the near future.
How does Cimteq view online media, advertising and promotion?
We use both online and printed media to market our products and to communicate with our existing and prospective customers. The online media, such as thecabledirectory.com, gives as visibility though its subscriber base, but unlike the printed media, it also gives us an improved visibility though the internet’s search engines. This provides us with valuable exposure within the fast clicking internet race.
Are there any other recent developments that our readers would be interested in?
During wire Düsseldorf 2012 we are taking part in ‘The Seminar’. ‘The Seminar’ is a new initiative which we are organizing with our industrial partners InnoVites Cable ERP Solution. “How can IT advance your business” is the theme of the Seminar. The presenters will explain how companies in the wire and cable industry can use Information Technology to enhance their business, with an insight into how to outperform competition with investments in IT. More information will be available on www.cimteq.com.