Like any small company, Konnexio Inc. doesn’t have a lot money to spend on new technology. But staying on the cutting edge is vital for a business that builds specialized machinery. While the industry norm used to be a 12-month turnaround time, these days customers need their machines built much faster. And Konnexio was struggling to keep up.
“We are facing more and more issues where the customer has time pressures and things have to be done much, much quicker,” says Konrad Konnerth, Konnexio president and owner. “Instead of a year, they are now looking for delivery in 7 or 8 months.”
Picking up the Pace
To keep up with this demand, they went back to the drawing board and analyzed every step in their development process to identify where new Intel-based technology could make the biggest improvements while saving on costs. “We need to be able to complete the design phase faster,” Konnerth says. “And then the build stage has to be quicker too.”
Doing More With All-in-One Solutions
To start, they needed a more reliable server. This piece is critical for Konnexio; the server is their workhorse. “Since everything we do is saved to our servers, they have to be responsive. We have to be able to pull files up quickly and access each component when we need it.” Konnerth and his team moved to an HP server, powered by the Intel Xeon processor E5-2403.
Moving on to the design process, Konnexio’s team needed to upgrade their workstations and cut overhead. It sounds nearly impossible, but Konnerth and his team managed it by rethinking the process. The team formerly used specialized workstations that would each perform only one task. It was inefficient and expensive — perfectly good hardware sat around unused a lot of the time. So they upgraded to one machine that can do it all, saving them $10,000 a year in hardware costs. “We need our workstations to perform at very high levels to meet our deadlines,” says Konnerth.
Konnexio has also moved away from hardcopies on the shop floor, replacing them with All-In-One (AIO) PCs. “Now, the team can see it 3D on the shop computer. They can rotate the model, flip it and see specific parts by clicking on it instead of looking at it on paper. They are also able to find the right components more quickly and identify how it goes together which can save around 100 hours on large builds.”
Staying Connected on the Go
Like any business owner, Konnerth actually spends a great deal of time outside the office. When traveling to client sites for design presentations, he carries the ultra-portable Lenovo Yoga 2-in-1 with the Intel Core M-5Y70 processor. It’s lightweight but powerful, with a long battery life so he doesn’t worry about carrying a charging cord with him at all times. When he’s in the office, Konnerth switches to an HP Envy with an Intel Core i7-4700MQ.
Another important part of any long-term solution is planning for the future. So as they look ahead, Konnerth says they’ll upgrade the engineers’ PCs every three years to maintain the performance required to deliver on client deadlines. “Run time is very important on our machines and we need to know they will run without issue,” says Konnerth. “When machines are running in a Windows environment they seem to have greater stability.”