Keep Your Customers Close

IFS president: 'You know your industries better than we do.'

Alastair Sorbie, president and CEO of IFS AB, a manufacturing software supplier, told a group of nearly 500 attendees at IFS' Customer Summit 2011 that the most important aspect of the company's growth is getting close to its customers.

The software developers within the Swedish-based companies may know how to write and design software, but there is no way for them to learn about all of the specific challenges its users face in their particular markets.

"We know that you know your industries better than we do," Sorbie said. "We are more able to meet your needs if we listen to what you have to tell us. It will allow us to remain innovative now and well into the future."

To that end, Sorbie committed to continuing the company's work with its customer focus groups, which helped fuel many of the new features and additions to the company's new product line, IFS Application 8. The company will be beta testing the software by June 2011 and expect to release it to the market by the middle of 2012.

IFS Application 8 was the first project the company produced with its "agile manufacturing" system, according to Dan Matthews, IFS' chief technology officer. Matthews said the system now allows for more rapid prototyping -- typically in four to six weeks -- which allows them to get it into customers hands more quickly for testing.

"The feedback we receive on those initial tests allow us to fine-tune our product more rapidly than ever before," Matthews said. "It allows us to adjust and adapt our products to meet our customers ever-changing needs."

To see a portion of Sorbie's presentation, click here. To see Matthews preview Application 8, click here.

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