The Problem

Hendrickson is the leading global manufacturer and supplier of medium- and heavy-duty mechanical, elastomeric, and air suspensions; integrated and non-integrated axle systems; auxiliary lift axle systems; parabolic and multi-leaf springs; and bumper and trim components to the global commercial transportation industry.

Hendrickson’s wanted to go beyond the legacy green screen. Leveraging modern Web technologies would allow them to build accessible and sophisticated tools. Hendrickson’s products require precise configuration and validation, so it was crucial to find a solution with a configurator that met their exacting standards. Off-the-shelf software was not a perfect fit. They needed a custom-built tool.

Data used by Hendrickson manufacturing to run the configurator was not connected to the data used by finance for business operations. Data silos were causing headaches throughout the organization. Decisions made were being driven by clunky, manually generated Excel reports with inconsistent data. Hendrickson would need near-real time synchronization between their existing AS/400 system and their new ERP system to keep their data clean and the business running smoothly.

The Solution

Aculocity took a two-pronged approach to creating a solution for Hendrickson.

First, we built a web-based configurator to replace Hendrickson's existing desktop application, bringing mainframe data to the Web. The configurator tool includes a rule engine and expression analysis engine that allow for complex configuration rules. It features an expression evaluator built on industry-standard grammar files, a real-time rule parser that enforces valid configurations, expression-driven production structures and shop-floor routings, and a customer specific pricing model.

Second, we broke down their data silos with automated integration. Data from the AS/400 ERP system is now automatically imported to QAD using a custom file interpreter. This data is also synced in real-time to the SQL Server database that drives the web-based configurator.

We then made the data even more accessible by building more tools: an Excel-like product configuration visualizer, automated update audit reporting, an AS/400 source code viewer and interpreter, and Excel Power-Pivot export support. Now, all of Hendrickson’s ERP data is integrated into a centralized warehouse that can be audited and maintained easily.

The Result

Hendrickson’s aging green screens were replaced with an interactive Web interface that provided advanced functionality custom built to suit their unique needs. The product structure visualizer makes it easier than ever to work with Hendrickson’s highly dynamic product configurations, and batch updates can be done with simple expressions. New checks and balances in the configuration process and upfront validation ensure that all configurations work correctly.

Further, the data that drives these vital processes is cleaner and easier to maintain than ever. Data has been reorganized around business rules and can now be queried and analyzed with ease. Reporting seamlessly integrates data across the entire solution, provides full audit trails of changes, and offers “what-if” analysis capabilities. Exports to Excel can now be trusted as they are exported directly from a unified system, making information easy to share and analyze further.

Aculocity took Hendrickson’s highly specialized requirements and translated them to things that every business needs – tools that just work, and reports that tell the whole truth.

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Hendrickson is the leading global manufacturer of medium and heavy-duty mechanical, elastomeric, and air suspensions. When their business outgrew their existing ERP solution, they needed a partner who understood the complex requirements of a world-class manufacturer and could deliver a stable, reliable system.

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