Since 1950, Air-Way Manufacturing Company has been a major manufacturer of hydraulic fittings. Air-Way is a certified supplier to many of the largest and most recognized Original Equipment Manufacturers in the world. Air-Way is the largest independent hydraulic fitting manufacturer in the United States.
Special packaging, shipping and service programs designed around customer requirements have helped Air-way establish a reputation as being the most versatile and customer friendly manufacturer in the hydraulic fittings industry.
The marketing, e-commerce and quote management system that OST developed in partnership with Air-Way Manufacturing now serves as a solid foundation for Air-Way to innovate on as they continue to work with OST to meet their goals of acquiring new business, improving process and productivity, and better serving customers. The e-commerce features serve as a new and growing sales channel for Air-Way while the quote management tools have increased the efficiency of Air-Way’s unique ability to provide custom parts to their customers.
Air-Way Manufacturing approached OST to help bring technology to bear in addressing the evolving needs of their business given a changing competitive landscape. As a manufacturer of hydraulic fittings and related components Air-Way traditionally relied heavily on OEM channels for the bulk of their sales. Air-Way’s strategic goals in engaging OST were aimed at improving service for these existing customers while also growing sales in the distribution market to small and medium size businesses.
To open up these new sales channels Air-Way understood that they would need to re-think their current public facing website. It was essentially a static catalog which offered no e-commerce features or other client services leaving Air-Way behind many of their competitors in this area.
In an effort to improve customer service OST helped Air-Way recognized the importance of improving certain internal processes to provide better internal collaboration and customer communication. Part of Air-Way’s niche in their industry is their ability to quote and produce hydraulic fittings according to custom specifications provided by their customers. Prior to engaging with OST the process behind this offering was largely email based and required significant manual effort while providing limited insight to customers on the status of their requests.
After engaging in a detailed discovery, prioritization, and planning effort OST proposed an approach to develop a new custom e-commerce solution that integrated parts sales with a customer portal features. This effort was aligned with our partners at BluFish consulting as part of a larger effort to modernize Air-Way’s marketing approach. This included partnering with BluFish on a new website design and layout focused around the usability, aesthetics, and search engine optimization of Air-Way’s public facing catalog. Key features of the e-commerce components of this solution included mobile responsive layout of the catalog and custom integration with Air-Way’s existing ERP system to leverage data on customers, orders, and parts.
Along with the custom catalog management tools OST also integrated a lightweight CMS to allow Air-Way to self-manage content on other marketing related public facing pages.
To address changes needed to Air-Way’s custom quoting process it made sense to build and integrate a new quote management tool into the customer portal and e-commerce features of the new website. This solution included customer-facing tools to allow Air-Way users to quickly request custom quotes based on tweaks to catalog offerings or completely new custom requests. In the end, this quote management system assists Air-Way in managing the internal quoting process while better providing customers with automated notification emails and the ability to view the status of their custom quotes from the website’s customer portal.
The final product was delivered on time and budget using a technology stack centered around both Microsoft and open source technologies. The web application architecture used a largely Angular/Bootstrap based front-end which called to an API layer built with Microsoft’s Web API.