Custom-built hydraulics distributor iPad app

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Every time I travel to a show, I imagine I’ll have so much more time to write and post about the cool things I've seen there. But every time, I am so swamped and never have a chance. It was no different this year at the Eaton Distributor Meeting (EDM) at the Gaylord Opryland in Nashville. I arrived late Monday after a five-hour delay, enjoyed a dinner with several great folks from Eaton, then crashed.

We started bright and early Tuesday morning, with a presentation from business leadership speaker Jason Jennings, then off to brief meetings with several of Eaton’s market and product managers. Perhaps the neatest thing I saw was early in the morning, and it was technology that is not even available to everyone but I still had to share it.

Eaton has developed a new iPad sales tool app, called PowerSource, for use by its distributors. The completely custom built program allows sales reps to really design a system solution easily because they have all the tools right at their fingertips. It saves time and hassle of having to visit a potential customer, define their needs, get back to the office to spec the product and determine what works best, then email or send them a proposal, says Eric Stager, Eaton’s Product Manager IT, Web and Mobile Apps. Instead,with the PowerSource, distributors can determine a client’s needs and find a solution all while they are still sitting in the client’s office, factory floor, or out on a job site.

The app is localized to the device, says Stager. He even says that the folks at Apple are intrigued by the program, as they have never seen anything like it before.

Eaton gives the app away for free but sells a three-year service with it. Distributors can either buy a pre-loaded iPad from Eaton or have the app downloaded onto their own device. Stager says they are currently working on deploying the app to other tablets.

The program uses GPS so that as a user enters a hot spot, the device talks to Eaton’s servers and receives all new data so users can stay up to date on the latest Eaton news.

The content dashboard includes a news section, where the latest news releases or articles about Eaton technology can be found; a products section; a crimp specs area; videos; literature 3D models; locator; and app settings. The last two allow the user to customize the program to their locations and needs but the other areas are what gives the service its meat.

For instance, the products area contains all of Eaton’s standard catalog items and allows the user to select requirements and filter it down into different categories, with critical specs such as size, pressure, type, temperature, and more.

In addition, a user can get crimp specs and essentially virtually build a hose and fittings assembly, making it easier to specify and sell a product or whole system.

A search function allows users to find competitive products to find a comparable Eaton component. Videos include promotional and training videos. Every available piece of literature in Eaton’s database is available for download, print or email.

In the 3D modeling section, after a user completes a part search, and builds the model, a user can email it to a customer so they can see exactly what the component looks like, without all the time it normally takes to get back to the office, build the model and email it back to the client.

Stager says that Eaton plans to roll out something similar for OEMs in the future but nothing is defined yet.

Visit www.eatonpowersource.com for more details.

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Alan Hitchcox

Alan joined Hydraulics & Pneumatics in 1987 with experience as a technical magazine editor and in industrial sales. He graduated with a BS in engineering technology from Franklin University and...
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