Leadership Award Winners Utilize IT Governance, Good Relationships

Leadership Spotlight: Bill Danuloff

Pumping Up E-Commerce

CIO Bill Danuloff boasts that he hasn't done a "technology project" in his three-plus decades at the Gorman-Rupp Co.--and that's the secret to his success. Business projects with a technology twist, on the other hand, keep the engines running at the $234-million manufacturer of pumping equipment in Mansfield, Ohio.

Danuloff isn't doing a BI project, for instance, but is empowering his salesforce to better serve customers. Nor is he integrating his ERP system with an extranet, but is acting on a request from global distributors to have an electronic relationship. This steady focus on customers' needs has earned Danuloff a CIO Decisions Midmarket Leadership Award.

"Our focus has always been, 'How can we make doing business with Gorman-Rupp easier for customers than [doing business with] our competition?'" Danuloff says. In fact, he's asked himself that since he joined the company in 1971. Ten years later, he moved into management and "had the luxury of being involved in strategic business decisions." In 1990, Danuloff earned the top technology post (which at the time was vice president of technology) and oversaw an ERP implementation six years later. He became CIO last year.

Two years ago, the company polled its distributors to find ways to improve customer service. They wanted to place orders, track shipments and receive support electronically, but they also wanted to be able to phone and fax orders. In other words, they wanted an electronic option, not a mandate. This meant adding e-commerce capabilities to the company's Web site and linking them with the company's ERP system. Danuloff began by gathering employees from various departments, such as sales, marketing and manufacturing, to brainstorm about site design and capabilities. Once the requirements were fleshed out, the IT team built the system.

The e-commerce site for distributors launched last year. More than 800 out of 1,000 distributors registered, as well as internal salespeople. Some 15,000 orders have passed through the system so far. And plans to launch a similar site for Canadian distributors are under way. New functionality, such as the ability to purchase repair parts, is coming soon.

While Gorman-Rupp achieved cost savings via electronic order entry, Danuloff says this wasn't the goal. "We didn't do this as a means to increase revenue," he says. "We are a very, very high customer service-oriented company."

This was first published in July 2006

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