General Electric: Producing a Custom Proposal Generation Tool

OVERVIEW

GE Energy Wind Energy division needed to greatly improve the efficiency and speed of developing proposals to respond to sales inquiries.

Each of these complex, multi-component and high-value proposals represented a major project management effort that could take weeks to months to create. They needed to implement a system that could get their proposals on to the desks of their customers faster, thus providing a competitive advantage, while also reducing the cost of creating the proposals by reducing staff effort.

EASA enabled us to reduce the IT effort and accelerate the deployment of the Wind ITO (Inquiry to Order) system. Consequently, we have reduced the number of hours per project, enhanced accuracy by reducing manual operations, increased our ability to try ‘what if’ scenarios, and empowered non-experts.

GE Wind Energy

The Problem

The proposal generation required the use and familiarity of various software tools, models and databases. Replacing it with a custom-coded system would be very costly and time-consuming.

Site feasibility studies for a wind farm project are complex and time-consuming and must address a host of issues such as integration with the power grid, optimization of wind farm layout, load analyses, regulation, and the local environment and topography.

Historically, the process involved unstructured email, and multiple teleconferences and meetings. It was a highly manual process.

Various stages of the suitability analysis were performed by experts in their localized environments, often spread across multiple geographic locations. Though the multiple analysis results were always manually integrated to produce the final evaluation, it was difficult to avoid inconsistent methods, human errors and the loss of technical and process knowledge.

OUR SOLUTION

Create an intuitively operated web-based tool that drives all of the existing software tools and models in an automated fashion.

To reduce turnaround time of analysis and to build consistent global processes, a web-based system called Wind ITO (Inquiry to Order) was conceived. In order to dramatically reduce the time taken to create and deliver the Wind ITO application, GE selected EASA.

EASA is a patented software product which enables ultra-rapid creation of custom web-based applications which leverage existing assets such as spreadsheets, databases, web-services, and legacy applications.

The Wind ITO system has resulted in an error- proof process that provides consistent and reproducible results, a knowledge base that allows validation and verification of past analyses, enhanced productivity and a quicker turn-around on complex analyses.

Specific features of the application include:

 Ability to define wind farm layouts and wind turbine configurations;

✓ Storage of project information, customer files, analysis information, versions used for each analysis, as well as analysis results;

✓ Ability to perform a daily load of the latest projects from the Sales Opportunity system;

✓ Capture the results of all analyses to a knowledge bank, so that results from any past analysis can be recreated at any time;

 Communication of generated knowledge in the form of technical report generation, performance scorecards and process management reports.

The Wind ITO application leverages internally created algorithms and models (Excel and MATLAB) in combination with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) tools such as Oracle. EASA allowed for rapid user interface development, automated queuing and seamless connectivity to compute servers.

THE RESULTS

A new, web-based system that met their requirements for simplicity and automation. Since EASA reuses existing software tools and models they were able to do so in a fraction of the time and cost of writing the application from scratch.

Custom algorithms were developed to enhance the interpretation of output and to facilitate workflow management.

Finally, the system has automated the generation of analysis reports for customers and the calculation and distribution of metrics for project management and workload balancing.

Future work aims at enriching the knowledge base with wind farm layout knowledge and the possibility of employing Artificial Intelligence techniques for automated knowledge generation.

Benefits of Using EASA for Custom Proposal Generation Tools

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